Thursday, August 15, 2013

Humble Origin Bundle makes me sad

So the new Humble Bundle went up and this time it's the Humble Origin Bundle, made up entirely of EA games. Sigh. Let's make a list shall we?

Why I have a problem with helping out EA generally:
  1. Let's be clear about this: EA's history is one of buying up well-regarded gaming franchises and software companies and then grinding them into the dirt while pumping out ever more generic and repetitive garbage. They are the precise opposite of what any Indie-affiliated organisation or event stands for.
  2. Origin is a lousy attempt at a digital distribution platform. It brings absolutely nothing new and is essentially a desktop interface to their store that happens to also provide a list of your games. Heck, even Uplay managed to innovate in a space that Steam have done their best to dominate.

Why EA were a bad fit for the bundles:
  1. There is nothing Humble about EA.
  2. One of the major selling points of the bundles when the scheme started was that you got a bunch of indie games with no DRM to play whenever and however you want. We now have a bundle composed of games that can only be played on Origin (or Steam for all but one) and are linked to your specific account.
  3. That thing where EA are donating all the money to charity? They knew people would be favouring the charity over them anyway, so they might as well get the extra PR by being the ones to make that choice for us, right?
  4. This bundle is costing them absolutely nothing and they are donating absolutely nothing. They are donating our money to charity, not theirs. The fraction of bundles sold that represent lost sales to them? Too small to even bother thinking about.
  5. I'm reasonably sure the choice of games was marketing driven. For example, Dead Space and Dead Space 3. Notice a game missing? You'll have to pay for that one ($12 from Amazon or $20 from EA direct) if you want the set. The Sims? That's an infinite DLC revenue stream right there.
This was just a cynical move to quickly increase the install base for Origin and push sales of other items, and frankly I'm shocked that the Humble Bundle team went along with it.

One last thing I want to point out. They say the games "would normally cost around $215". Yeah, maybe if you let EA rip you off by buying direct. Take a look on Amazon - you can pick the lot up for $136 new without even bothering to look past the first result for each. Not that I'd suggest giving EA $136 of your hard earned money of course. If you really do want the games, I'd suggest buying the bundle if only so that your money goes to somewhere that actually needs it.

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