Earlier this year, Humble began testing a major shift (opens in new tab) for its famous pay-what-you-want Bundles. Instead of picking how much of your money went to the developer, charity, and Humble via sliders, there'd be a fixed split with an option to give a little extra to charity.
An immediate backlash caused Humble to roll back the change (opens in new tab). But now it's trying again, adding new restrictions to the existing sliders that ensure you won't be able to cut Humble out of your purchase entirely.
"During testing earlier this year, we heard your feedback that choosing where your money goes through sliders is an important part of why you choose Humble," Humble explained yesterday (opens in new tab), perhaps underselling the negative feedback. "The community also shared some great ideas about how to evolve sliders that we’ve taken into consideration throughout the process."
Instead, later this month, Humble Bundle sliders will be updated with one small change. Where before you could give 100% of your payment to charity, there will now be a hard minimum Humble split of between 15-30%, a change Humble says is necessary to keep running in a PC storefront scene that has "changed significantly" over the last decade.
"The change to sliders lets us continue to invest in more exciting content so we can keep growing the Humble community which will ultimately drive more donations for charitable causes. We’ll also continue to create more ways to give back such as with our 100% to charity bundles."
Humble made a name for itself with charity bundles packed with indies. But Humble isn't just a plucky independent fundraising operation anymore. It's a storefront and a games publisher, working under owners at IGN since its acquisition in 2017. At the time, Humble co-founder John Graham told GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab) the purchase would simply help it run faster and better, sending "more money to charity than ever before."
But Humble's priorities have shifted, whether Graham intended it or not. This month's change might not be as rough as once envisioned, but it's a reminder that Humble itself isn't a charity, it's a business.