Thursday, 29 November 2012

Humble completely reasonable THQ Bundle

Ah good, the wave of indie/drm-free/FOSS purists feels they need to strike again. People are swearing off Humble Indie Bundle and saying they'll never buy another one ever again and that the brand has entirely lost their wallet thanks to the recent THQ bundle.

Look I'm a principled guy but this is stupid. Utterly stupid. I get that the bundle has always been about a bunch of core principles, and this time around they aren't following most of them. But uh... so what? I don't recall them ever saying they're gonna release less bundles or that this will stop them from pursuing their main line. Oh, what's that, the CEO came out to say exactly that they're going to keep doing indie stuff and they're planning another bundle later in the year? Huh.

Here, I'll quote the whole response that Ars got. Read the whole article for the rest of it:
"[We will] never stop creating Humble Indie Bundles... and the other bundle types we've successfully launched this year. But we’re also eager to see if our pay-what-you-want plus charity model meshes with critically acclaimed AAA content as well."

"[We] will not cease in our quest to bring awesome content to Mac and Linux and Android"
There's being principled and then there's getting uber-defensive over the chastity of your indie-ness. Big whoop if there's a THQ bundle. If you like it, buy it, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Until you outright see them moving away from a good and beneficial model (which they aren't doing) all you're doing is slapping one of your few allies in the face for daring to take a good opportunity.

Backlash like this would be much more deserved towards someone like EA doing something bad, not someone like Humble Bundle doing something "eh." The moral indignation is completely misguided.

So here's my survival guide on getting past the moral indignation and thinking reasonably again.

1. I'm morally outraged because this single-handed destroys everything they did!

Uhm... how? Pretty sure they made all those other bundles. Also pretty sure they said they'll be making more indie bundles. Also pretty sure you're not obligated to buy this.

2. They've shifted focus completely, and thus I can't support them!

I forgot, you spell Indie "T - H - Q". Erm, no, this has nothing to do with that. They've done this a lot before. Like that Humble Introversion Bundle. Sometimes they release bundles that aren't part of their main Indie bundle line, and they see what happens. Introversion bundle didn't impact the release of their standard Indie bundles, and neither will this.

3. They're showing they support something I find morally objectionable!

Okay. Don't buy it.

4. Because of number three, I'll never buy from them again!

Why? I thought you wanted to support indie, drm-free, multiplatform games? If you refuse to ever buy from them again, and in turn refuse to buy said indie, drm-free, multiplatform games, you're just hurting your own moral argument.

5. THQ is a AAA company and thus evil!

Get off Tumblr. Get off Reddit. Get off Facebook. Don't read this blog. They're all part of a AAA system! Which is evil!

6. No but seriously they brutally overworked the development staff of Homefront.

I am aware of the allegations. They may be true. See my answer to number three. What you guys don't seem to get here is that Humble Bundle is a distributor. They have no connection to the games being made. You don't like what they're stocking? Fine, don't buy from them while they stock that product.

When the bundle's over, and they sell indie games again, are you really telling me you will refuse to buy it because they once sold a THQ bundle? How does that help anyone. It's like saying that everybody should move out of Toronto since they once had a mayor like Rob Ford. (Topical humour!)

7. But the titles they had previously were all lesser-known indie titles!

No, none of them were. Ever. They were indie sensations. They were massive indie hits. They were things like Amnesia, Braid, Uplink, Sword and Sorcery, Binding of Isaac, Jamestowne, and the like. All of them were doing pretty well anyways, and had gotten a major amount of press. Yeah, these are much more known titles, but it's not like Humble Bundle has been some sort of vanguard helping unknown secret gems.

8. But... but I want to be morally indignant and-

And Humble Bundle is an easy target. It's difficult to stand up and say "oh crap, Walmart sells sweatshop shoes, Facebook outsources to cheap foreign labour at minimum wage, Google wantonly breaches privacy, and my grocery store is putting local farmers out of business" but it's easy to say "Ahah! A small little company that's trying to help charity did something a little wrong!"

It gives you a sense of satisfaction to stand up and say "Look at me! Look at me! I did something right! Now I get to judge all of you like you're judging me!"

9. That's pretty much what you're doing with this blog post though

I'm judging all of you for getting all worked up over this. I don't care if I'm right or wrong, I just don't want Humble Bundle to take a massive hit over something as stupid as this. Simmer down and put your efforts towards something that matters. This is nothing. How about you get back to putting nails into Sony or Amazon's coffin, eh?

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