Thoughts on Humble Choice and a goodbye to Humble Monthly

The following is a script from the Youtube video posted below. Feel free to watch it if you prefer videos, and read it if you prefer the written word.

Hello, I thought I’d make a hopefully quick video just on some thoughts about the recent changes of Humble Monthly Bundle, moving to the Humble Choice system.

Now why this, I don’t tend to touch on current events, and the fact is, Humble Bundle has meant a lot to me. It’s given me a lot of games, according to the site I’ve been a subscriber since November 2016. There have not been many bad months, there have been months with odd choices, and there’s been the Black Ops 4 month. That one wasn’t great. But I love throwing 12 bucks down and getting at least one Triple-A title each month.

If you have never done a Humble Monthly Bundle, The quick version, possibly never to be seen again, is that subscribers will pay 12 bucks for Early Unlocks. You’ll get one, two, or three games, and you get these games immediately, Sometimes there are other games revealed as the month goes on, but the idea is that you get these games permanently, and usually on Steam. These games are yours to keep forever.

Is that all? Well, at the end of the month. The first Friday of the month, you get the “reveals” and what this means is the remainder of about nine games total in the bundle is revealed and suddenly, you now have nine new games, one is always a Humble Original, a game only available on Humble Bundle. So you’re getting about eight games on Steam. Not a bad deal to be honest.

Of course, I review the bundles too, and I like the deals so I have skin in the game. The bundles are fun to talk about and popular, I mean not to put a number on it but I can easily hit one to three thousand views on the website just on the Humble Monthly Bundle itself. So clearly it’s a popular subscription.

So let’s get to my first thought. Why change this? You know this is the big thing that has bothered me. This isn’t just “We need to change the value proposition, or we need to change the system.”

Let’s talk about the new system. Rather than getting Early unlocks, the new system proposed, and I assume is coming, is a CHOICE system, there are ten games, and you can pay different tiers. There’s a 5 dollar you get no games so you just get the Humble Trove. That’s just a bunch of games you can play for free. DRM-Free, I think? it’s like every subscription service, and … I mean I’m sure some people use it, but I think the value there is a free addon, not people wanting the trove by itself. Maybe I’m wrong.

So the five dollar tier is no games, just Trove, ok. Then there’s the 15 dollar tier. Now listen, 15 DOLLARS. That’s 3 dollars more than the current Humble Monthly Bundle. And you get 3 games. 3! You can choose from any of the 10 games offered, that’s at least what they’ve said, but you only get 3, and you’re paying more than you are now.

Then there’s the third tier. 20 bucks, almost double, ok maybe 4 bucks shy, but 20 bucks to get NINE games… That’s important. If there are 10 amazing games, somehow there are ten games you want, you can’t buy all ten with this tier and this is the Premium Tier, that sounds like the best… but it’s not, you’re limited. Now ok, I’ll just choose the crappy game and not get that one. Fine.

Finally and here’s the weird part, if you’re currently a subscriber you’re grandfathered in to get the Classic tier, 12 bucks like now, and you get all 10 games. There’s NO other way to get all ten games. What? I just can’t understand this system. Why not let me pay 25 bucks and get all the games I want?

So let’s get back to the first thought. Why change? There are two reasons I can think of. The first is Humble probably isn’t making a TON of profit here. Getting a major title every month costs money. Deals have to be made, developers only give keys when it’s profitable, and you get old games because publishers think they’re not going to be making a lot of money… But then you get Spyro’s Reignited trilogy that just came out for… I don’t know.

The thing is the developers and publisher in ANY Humble Bundle need to turn a profit, so raising the price was probably going to have to happen.

It’s possible this would have happened even if they didn’t change to Humble Choice, maybe, but I don’t think it warranted a huge change, in fact since the 12 buck deal is still there, I’m not sure. New fans are definitely getting the short end of that straw.

On the other hand, the move from Early Unlocks to flat out giving games is one I think people have asked for. Not fans who already like Humble Monthly Bundle, but people who heard the idea and dislike the reveals at the end when you can’t buy the bundle. I understand the concern those people have, but those people just don’t get what Monthly has been about. I’ve constantly said here. Buy the bundle if you want the Early Unlocks. If this months’ fantastic deal of Call of Duty World War 2, Spyro and Crash isn’t worth 12 to you, don’t bet on the remaining titles. If you do want Early Unlock games for 12 bucks, you get a few extra later on.

I’ve heard a few people cheering this on because they own some or many of the games in the bundle, but … That doesn’t work, by value, you’re now getting LESS value. 12 bucks got you 9 games, now it’s 20 bucks and you get 9 games, but have to choose. The addition of choice here sounds good, but you’re losing choice and paying more for it. And again, classic is still the best deal, and it doesn’t fix that problem.

One other piece of misinformation out there is that it costs money to create the keys. This is slightly incorrect, at least Steam keys doesn’t cost money. I’m sure some developers want a certain value per key, and this system gives Humble more possibilities, 15 bucks for 3 keys, is a better deal for them, then 20 bucks for 9 keys. More money and they can maybe bank some? But again I don’t think this fixes key resellers, spending 12, or 20 bucks and getting potentially 10 big games to resell is always going to be a bulk deal.

I don’t know why they’re making the change, perhaps they’ll say, more likely not but the fact is, this is an odd choice to evolve the Humble Monthly Bundle.

A second thought is more money should bring bigger titles. I’m … not sold. If it works that way great, and maybe I’m wrong, but I think we’re going to see perhaps better-stated value, so maybe an MSRP of 200 constantly, but each title is worth 20 bucks in the MSRP. The fact is when you make it a choice, it would be silly to offer 3 high-value games because suddenly why pay for the 20 buck option when there are only three really big titles. I think we might see the MSRP rise slightly, but the big marquee titles will disappear. That’s unfortunate, and I’ll be honest, I’m going to be sad if we don’t see the BIG games.

This also ignores that MSRP is a joke. The MSRP for Call of Duty World War II is 60 bucks, and it’s still sold for that, but no one buys it for 60 dollars, at least I hope not. You can often get it on sale for between 15 dollars on unscrupulous sites, to twenty to twenty-five dollars on steam sales and similar.

It’s great when I see I get a bundle with 200 dollars of MSRP, but once I play all the games, I usually get a value closer to maybe a hundred, and usually far less. Slay the Spire was valuable in September 2019’s bundle, but outside of that game well the only other game I wanted to play, which was Guacamelee 2, spoiler, that’s being reviewed next. For everything else, no thanks and so the value to me was closer to 50 bucks if that.

The final thought I have on this change is what made the Monthly Bundle so amazing was both a solid Early Unlock that seldom disappointed, along with additional games you might not know you wanted but can pick up. Instead, The Humble Choice to me feels very similar to what every other Humble Bundle already is. You pay for different tiers and get different games.

The difference here is the choice, but you’re already starting at 15 dollars to get just one game if that’s all you wanted, that’s the top tier of most bundles. Also, since this isn’t called Humble Monthly, certain promises made about the Humble Monthly, mainly that the games in it will never be repackaged from other offers already are gone. That promise has been walked back once before, Sonic Mania for instance, but here I’m nervous.

Admittedly I have a lot of games, I’m at 1652 games on Steam, and yet that number has often grown from the Monthly Bundle because they choose unique games. I’m nervous that we’re going to start seeing games many people already have. BattleTech wasn’t a very popular game, and while I did own Spyro Trilogy and Crash Trilogy most people don’t have those games, Monthly gave us more unique titles.

What happens when next month the choices come out and they’re all common titles? What happens when there are no Triple-A games anymore, or that the surprise is weak. I don’t know what to tell you but I can think of some awful possibilities and not many improvements to the system.

So what should you do? First, we don’t know when this will come, it seems definite that it will come before the end of the year, with a date of 2019 given, that means it’s either next week or the month after. I can’t tell you which it will be, and no matter what, it’s coming.

But if you want the best possible value, lock in that classic bundle. Which does mean you MUST purchase the current bundle, just remember to PAUSE instead of canceling your subscription, that’s an important distinction. From now on as long as you PAUSE your subscription if you don’t want a selection. That way you will not be charged for the next month. It’s an important note though, you probably have to pause EVERY month. This will retain that powerful classic subscription.

Second, I mean if you’re like me voice your displeasure. I’m sending an email because I want them to know that I’m a fan of the current value proposition of the big titles, and if they don’t continue to show them, I may not be buying every bundle. Which… ok that might be a lie, because of the next topic.

Finally, well Subscribe to this channel. I am not done with Humble yet, this is disappointing but the show goes on, so what I plan on doing in the future is taking a LOT more time, and doing something like playing an hour of every game in the bundle and talking about if it’s worth your time and money. I don’t know HOW this will go, I haven’t seen what Humble Choice will look like, but I’ll try to put out some level of review on the Humble Choice for each month.

Ultimately, that’s all I have, and I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts, I’ll probably talk about it next month. But you know, change is bad, and everything is ruined every time we change anything. I guess in this case it’s up to Humble to prove me wrong on that.

And PS. I’ll defend IGN ance from people saying they have changed Humble significantly since they bought the site a year or two ago, but I can’t deny, this one is definitely on IGNs shoulders. I just hope they don’t mess up what has been one of the best sites for the game offers up to this point.

Until next time, I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.