Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Humble Bundle

EFF, of which I am a proud member, pointed my attention at the Humble Bundle: a collection of video games written by independent developers and offered on multiple platforms at a very nice price. That is, you pay as much as you want!
Upon payment you receive an email with a link that you can use to download your games. And your games they are, because everything is DRM-less, which means you can download a game as many times as you want to whatever platform you want and you don’t even need to worry about the game messing around with your operating system (the way Sony's famously DRM did).
Supported platforms include Windows, Mac, Linux and now even Android. Given the format and the lack of DRM it is of no surprise that iOS is missing from the list of supported platforms, but I guess that’s what you pay for when you choose to enclose yourself in Apple’s secret state. On the Android side of things I can attest the one game I tried, Osmos, works very well on my wife’s Nexus S but will not install on our cheap & nasty Kogan tablet (why am I not surprised?).
As for the games themselves. Given our current ADSL woes I only dared downloading one of the bundle’s games, the aforementioned Osmos. It works brilliantly on Mac, Ubuntu and the Nexus S Android; indeed, brilliant is the word to use because it is quite a brilliant game – I would say it’s better and more original than the bulk of the stuff I get for my PS3. Being that the game is based on basic laws of physics, it carries substantial educational value, too. All this can be yours for as much as you're willing to pay!

A short but important aside, there is more to the Humble Bundle than paying as much as you want and the lack of DRM. The money you pay to access your bundle is divided between charity, the game developers, and the company running the Humble Bundle show. You, the buyer, can specify exactly how the money you’re paying is going to be divided between the three.
Piracy is often referred to by all sorts of people as a problem. The Humble Bundle and its success (it has made its creators a lot of money) are clear indications that piracy is not a problem at all but rather a symptom of a world where willing consumers are being forced with archaic business models down their throats.
I really hope the humble concept would thrive further. Lucky for us, it came to my attention my beloved Cory Doctorow is working on expanding the concept to ebooks. I wish him all the best there, because as far as I can tell the Humble Bundle encompasses in it some of the best things about human endeavour.

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