Humble Bundle has announced a pretty big change, and it’s one that has the internet up in arms. This new announcement concerns the $12-a-month Humble Monthly bundle. Previously, PC gamers could pay a simple fee and unlock a handful of games throughout the month. The unlocks were a mystery until they unlocked, meaning you never knew what you were going to get. It was an OK deal, as getting 6 or so video games for $12 isn’t a bad deal if you can afford the monthly expense. But now, Humble has announced a pretty big shift, while the system is getting more games, the prices are about to go up. The other noticeable change is that the mystery factor is gone, you will know exactly what games you’re going to get each month right at the start. I’ll be interested to see the quality of games pushed out in this manner, because a lot of people will be annoyed if the bundle is filled with junk from now on. A Reddit thread discussing the news about Humble Bundle doesn’t feel too happy about this whole thing though.
You’ll also be able to choose a certain number of games you want to keep, plus a 10-20% discount on the Humble Store, depending on which plan you choose. All plans include access to the DRM-free Humble Trove. This system allows indie devs to showcase their offerings as part of 60+ DRM-free offerings, with a few older major titles mixed into the bunch. One cool thing is that if you cancel your subscription, you can still play the games you have downloaded through the Trove.
The company released a video explaining the change, you can see it below. The biggest change is that if you don’t want to pay more, you need to lock in the $12 price now by picking up the November 2019 bundle. The bundle includes Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which just came out last month, so it’s not a bad deal.
The big change is that the $12 monthly plan is going away, and being replaced by a new system where the timed unlocks are no longer a thing. Under these new plans, gamers can keep anywhere from 3 to 9 games each month, all unlocked upfront for one fee. The price is going up though, which has some users upset. But at least you’ll be grandfathered into the original Monthly plan, now called Classic, for as long as you have an active subscription. But if you cancel at any time, you lose that Classic plan and then must buy into the more expensive options.
Honestly, while grandfathering is very common, it feels really bad to have to deal with. It places a sense of urgency on the transaction that places the company in a position of power. The consumer feels like they have to spend this money or they end up spending more later, kind of scummy.
A lot of people are fixated on the price increase as a sore spot. After all, the cheaper $14.99 plan only gives you three games each month. For context, the average for the proceeding Humble Monthly bundles was around 6 games each month, including at least 1 big name title. The $19.99 plan offers 9 games a month to keep. Overall this means new users are paying more for less. As all that has really changed is that the volume of games has gone up along with the price, unless you buy the cheaper bundle where the number of games is basically cut in half.
I’ll be the first to admit, I understand where they’re coming from with this reaction. Humble Bundle has lost a fair bit of its luster over these last few years. As the company pivoted away from strict bundles and into more specialized deals, they made up for the loss some felt with more discounts and deals overall. Now, Humble Bundle and their actual bundles aren’t all that appealing. The biggest AAA games were locked behind the Monthly setup, while the bundles were usually very niche titles, book bundles or other offerings. I get why they did this, and many people played indie titles that they never would have otherwise because they were so cheap.
All in all, it feels a bit sour to have the system that many people liked change so drastically, but it was likely a solid business decision. After Humble Bundle was acquired by IGN, a lot of fans complained that the company had sold out, and now they’re going to rally around that cry even harder.