Video game storefront Humble Bundle is facing backlash due to an upcoming change in its payment system. Come mid-July, the company says that it will no longer allow customers to donate 100% of their purchase to charity. Humble Bundle will take between 15 and 30% of all revenue generated from sales on its website.
This change has been a long time coming. Back in April, Humble Bundle tried to get rid of its payment “sliders”—the small dials that let you choose how much money from your purchase goes to charities, developers, or the Humble storefront. It was a major shift from the company’s original business model and led to a flood of criticism. Humble Bundle brought back the sliders and promised that it would soon find a less offensive way to take a guaranteed cut of purchases.
Evidently, this is the company’s solution. Its payment sliders will remain, but Humble Bundle will take a 15 to 30% cut of all purchases. Humble Bundle says that its payments system will be “transparent” and tell customers exactly how much of their money is going toward the storefront.
It’s worth noting that Humble Bundle doesn’t rely on loose purchases for its revenue. The company actually takes a 5% cut from all Humble Choice subscriptions, which cost $12 a month.
According to Humble Bundle’s EVP Alan Patmore, the company needs to take a cut of purchases to stay afloat in the ever-changing world of PC gaming. In an interview with Kotaku, Patmore says that “operational costs, such as the cost of acquiring content, have risen dramatically.” This change in the gaming landscape is likely the result of new services like Epic Games and Xbox Game Pass, which sign exclusive deals with developers and are more convenient to use than Humble Bundle.
Humble Bundle does not release detailed financial information, so we don’t know how well the company is doing from a business standpoint. To date, Humble Bundle claims that it’s donated over $198 million for charity, and the company raised around $30 million for charity in 2020.