Humble Bundle has removed the sliders that let you determine how money from a purchase is divided between the publisher, a charity, and Humble. In May, Humble will instead implement two fixed options that cap the charitable donation you can make at 15%, while increasing the amount that goes to the publisher.
Sliders and charitable donations are Humble’s original unique feature and remain a main draw of the store over its competition, and their removal has been the subject of much criticism.
In a blog post posted yesterday, Humble explained that they started testing changing sliders for some users about a month ago. “This test was part of our larger plans to update the bundle pages, but without any context we see how it raised questions and confused the community. We apologize and appreciate all of those. who have written to us asking about it. ”
The slider removal project, the post said, is driven by a desire to align the bundles with other parts of the site that are already lacking, such as the Humble Store.
With sliders, the default split was 65% to publishers, 30% to Humble, and 5% to charity. You can move these sliders around without any restrictions, however, allowing you to donate Humble’s entire share to charity, for example.
Now, starting in May, the site will offer two static options. The default will still give 5% to charity, but increases Publisher’s Share to 85% and reduces Humble to 10%. The user is then able to select an option to make an additional donation to charity, which increases the charitable donation to 15% while giving 80% to the publisher and 5% to Humble.
The blog post does not discuss reducing potential charitable giving. Pinning the change by making one part of the site “more online” with another part is also a strange argument, given that consistency does not seem to offer any benefit to anyone.
The announcement was greeted, inevitably, by a lot of criticism from users and game developers. At the time of writing, the tweet announcing the change contains 618 quote tweets, all of which are probing the decision.
Humble started over ten years ago with a bundle offering the ability to pay what you want and support charities. Today we are sharing some upcoming updates on the unite pages and how they will help us continue to support charities. https://t.co/0sXM6dT0V0
– Humble Bundle (@humble) April 23, 2021
Humble Bundle launched in 2010 at a very different time for digital storefronts. At that time, 30% was the typical cut for a storefront to take from a purchase. Steam still takes as much from most games now, but rivals like the Epic Games Store only take 15%. Maybe Humble thinks you have to increase the publisher’s share to be competitive.
Humble Bundle was also acquired by IGN in 2017. IGN is part of Ziff Davis, which in turn is owned by J2 Global. At the time, Humble co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Rosen said the “big idea” behind Humble was “essentially the pay what you want and more charity honor system.” He also said that Humble “will keep our own office, our culture and our amazing team with IGN to help us move our projects forward. We will be raising even more money for charity.” (The Humble blog post announcing the sale has apparently been deleted, but you can see it on Wayback Machine.)
When it comes to charitable donations, that is arguably true. At the time of the acquisition in 2017, Humble had raised $ 106 million for charity. The most recently reported figure puts it at $ 195million (around £ 140million). It’s also worth remembering that this is not like any other digital storefront that allows you to donate 5% or 15% of your game purchase to charity.
But that’s the problem. The only real draw for Humble and many other users is its charitable features, as it is nothing but a Steam and Epic Games Store key reseller. It’s a less interesting and potentially less charitable store without the sliders, and Humble has offered nothing to counter the suspicion that their removal is a change driven by greed.
Disclosure: It should be noted that the RPS Support Program uses a Humble Widget to manage payments. We have been working on replacing it for some time.