Humble begins a shift away from Mac and Linux support

Linux Malware
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Humble Bundle is a digital storefront that, since 2010, has regularly offered bundles of games with the promise that the profits are split between charities and developers. I'm sure we've all bought one at some point, because Humble does produce the odd stonking deal, and some of Humble's other principles are important to users, too: part of the pitch from the start was Linux support.

Valve has made enormous strides with Linux support in recent years, but before even that Humble was insisting that games in the company's bundles had to have both Linux and Mac support. Linux gaming obviously exists in something of a weird spot, simply because some developers consider (rightly or wrongly) that the commercial value of a Linux version is minimal: Hence Valve's strategy being Proton, a 'compatibility layer' that essentially allows Windows games to run on Linux operating systems and reduces the burden on the individual developer.

Whatever the wider context, Humble is now moving away from Mac and Linux with its flagship subscription service, Humble Choice. The way this sub works is changing, from multiple tiers to a single $12/month tier, which gets you a few game giveaways a month plus access to the Humble Trove of older games and the Humble Games Collection of more recent games. This new offer comes with a new requirement for a Humble launcher app, which is fantastic as I don't have enough of those already, which will be Windows-only.

Humble Heal Covid-19 Bundle

(Image credit: Humble Bundle)

Redditor Kabukistar posted the email they received from Humble to Humble Choice members, headlined 'Retiring Mac & Linux Trove games':

"We want to give you a heads up that starting February 1, Mac and Linux versions of the DRM-free games currently in the Humble Trove will no longer be available.

"As a Humble Choice member, you can still download them to keep for your personal collection until January 31. Windows PC versions of many of these games will still be available to download in the upcoming Humble app, alongside the brand-new Humble Games Collection."

There's some confusion about exactly what Humble is doing and what it means for the company's OS support in future: Something not helped by the fact that this change has been announced as quietly as possible, and there's no official word beyond that email to subscribers. It's unclear what the rationale behind the decision was, and how far-reaching it will be within what is now a considerably sized digital retailer.

I've contacted Humble and put some questions to the company, and will update with any response.

Humble subscribers who wish to keep Mac or Linux versions of these games have until February 1 to download them, after which they won't be available from the Humble site. Curiously enough the Humble Trove library currently consists of 79 games but Humble's now promising '50+' at launch: One wonders whether there's been some background attrition with Linux-loving developers.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."