Not too long ago, I joined in with Good Old Games to question the direction the Humble Bundle has been going recently. When they started out, they were all about cross-platform play without the annoyance of DRM. Over time, they have slowly abandoned both those ideals in favor of grabbing more high profile games from much larger studies than their indie origins.
While I had continued to support them through the years, buying every cross-platform bundle and a couple non-linux bundles, I think I may have reached a breaking point with this latest bundle. While they have often done Steam-only bundles, which violates their original DRM-free ideal, at least Steam is a service that many gamers love and support. Additionally, Steam has made great strides to make Linux a viable platform for both gamers and game developers. But this recent bundle makes a mockery of even that.
Let’s introduce the Humble Origin Bundle. Yes, Origin. That EA produced “Steam killer”. That sorry POS that makes even Games for Windows Live look like it might have potential. For a couple of years, EA has been trying to drive its PC customers to use this service instead of Steam. Even going so far as to remove a number of its most popular games from the Steam Service. The service is not at all liked by the general gaming community, nor is it anywhere near as good as Steam is. So why is the Humble Bundle partnering with EA?
Well, EA is the driver behind the bundle. As a Penny Arcade Report article on the subject shows, it was someone from EA who originally approached them on the deal. While Jeffrey Rosen, from the Humble Bundle, feels that he did what he could do to keep the bundle as near to the original ideals as possible, the bundle falls well short of what original supporters were drawn to and even what recent bundles have done.
What is really amazing about this deal is the fact that all of EA’s portion of the proceeds is going straight to the charities. This shows that EA knows how low its reputation is with PC gamers and that the only way it can convince any of them to not just buy EA games, but also to use the Origin service, is to make it feel like a charitable action on the part of the gamers. I find this rather insulting.
What this means to me is that this is the end of an era. An end to the ideal that the Humble Bundle truly believes in its original ideals. This means to me that the Humble Bundle has sold out the idea that cross-platform, DRM-free gaming is something that gamers want. At this point, the Humble Bundle has become a part of the AAA machine churning out the latest and greatest same ol’ same ol’. What was once a bastion of great and lovable indie games for PC gamers who love their computers enough to not subject them to malware, has now become something far from it. I am sorry Humble Bundle, but this is probably good bye.