Earlier this week, the Humble Bundle announced its latest offering, the Humble Deep Silver Bundle. This new bundle is the latest entry in the Humble Bundle’s recent history of abandoning its original ideals to sell higher profile games. When the Humble Bundle started, it had a few ideals it stood for, pay what you want, cross platform, DRM-free and helps charity. These ideals held true for a couple of years, but then they reached a point where two of those ideals didn’t matter as much.
At some point, the Humble Bundle guys decided that cross platform and DRM-free were simply optional. Some early bundles had some tech demos or games that weren’t available for Mac or Linux, but the majority of the games were. Then they started introducing entire bundles that were Windows only. Not only that, but many of those games were also tied to Steam. Meaning, you couldn’t play those games without Steam DRM on your computer.
Well, the folks over at Good Old Games took to Twitter to gently haze Humble Bundle for its abandonment of its DRM-free ideal. It wrote three tweets. The first tweet was written as to allude to the Humble Bundle but not name it specifically.
The final one was an all out plee to the Humble Bundle to come back to the DRM-free side.
These three tweets got a lot of flack aimed at GOG, but that anger was misplaced. GOG is in the right to complain about the Humble Bundle abandoning its DRM-free policy. That was one of the things that helped drive the Humble Bundle to its current success. By abandoning that ideal, it is telling all those original backers and supporters that it doesn’t care about what originally drove them to its games.
While GOG’s tweets are aimed specifically at the lack of DRM-free at the Humble Bundle, I have qualms with the both on the cross platform part. The Humble Bundle has been releasing more and more games that are not Mac and Linux compatible. This is bad for me as a Linux gamer. I used to buy every bundle that came out. Now, I find myself skipping more and more of them since they have no Linux versions. I would love to give more money to the Humble Bundle, but cannot because I refuse to buy games I cannot run.
GOG on the other hand never made promises to be cross platform. It started as Windows only. However, it has lately branched out to Mac as a target platform for select games. So why has it not made the leap to Linux? The Linux library of games on GOG would be equal in size to the Mac library. Nearly all the games available for Mac have running Linux versions. Additionally, many of GOG’s older games run through a custom instance of DOSBox, something that would be trivial to expand to support Linux as that OS has DOSBox as well. It is something I have requested from GOG every time it takes user comments. It is something that has a strong following in GOG’s own forums. But GOG continues to ignore that crowd.
But anyway, it is sad to see the Humble Bundle so casually abandon its original ideals to seek out high profile games. While it probably makes good business sense for the Humble Bundle and its investors, it is a sad harsh blow toward the gamers who made the Humble Bundle what it is.