Pour one out boyos, it’s a sad day. IGN just acquired Humble Bundle for an undisclosed sum of money. For those unaware, Humble Bundle is a company that deals in pay-what-you-want gaming bundles to support charity. They have long been a very present and positive force in the gaming community. Humble recently also expanded into a digital storefront for individual games and a subscription service. IGN is, well, IGN. A long-standing monolith in games journalism who have come under fire in recent years for being a glorified PR firm for AAA publishers.
Here’s where the problems come into it. A supposedly impartial journalism company owning a platform to sell the things they’re supposed to be impartial on. Is it a conflict of interest? Probably. This acquisition presents IGN with a lot of opportunities to exploit the Humble Bundle model. Humble allows you to pay what you want, decide how much of your money goes to the developers and how much goes to charity, and deals primarily in indie games from little known developers. I don’t see that model surviving. Expect to see indie developers slowly pushed out in favor of AAA publishers or developers IGN has a stake in. Humble Bundle will no longer be a charitable organization, it will be just another for profit storefront.
It’s a shame. Humble Bundle is a fantastic institution that there just isn’t a substitute for yet. Sure there’s a chance that Humble Bundle continues on like it always has and IGN doesn’t ruin it, but I have no faith in that. I want to believe I’m wrong. In any case, it’s a sad day in the gaming community.