Contrary to what DRM-obsessed publishers would have everyone believe, gamers aren't a bunch of pilfering pirates looking for a free ride. Put out a solid software title and game players will happily reach into their pockets, even when they don't have to. That's the lesson game publishers should take from the Humble Indie Bundle project.
The Humble Indie Bundles are collections of DRM-free games from independent developers in which customers get to set their own price. Five games are included in the latest edition (and third installment) of the Humble Indie Bundle, including Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, VVVVVV, Hammerfight, and And Yet It Moves. According to the project's website, these five titles would run $50 if purchased separately, but it's up to you decide how much to pony up. Can such a business model actually work?
Apparently it can. Already the latest bundle has collected over $639,000. Gamers can give as little as one penny for the entire collection, though the site pleads for "preferably a lot more to help cover our costs." Not only can you set your own price, but you can divvy up your contribution however you see fit, doling out your funds to the developers, EFF, Child's Play charity, and Humble Tip (goes towards paying for bandwidth and development of the promotion).
So far the average purchase price is $4.85. Windows users, on average, are the least giving at $3.88 on average (boo!), while Mac users are shelling out $6.55 (hiss!) on average and Linux users $11.20 (kudos!). Some choose to give much more, with the top contributor -- @notch -- forking over $4,048.