It was announced on Friday that gaming website IGN had purchased Humble Bundle. The website, known for its signature Bundles, has become well known among gamers. Purchases made through the site are notable, as they allow people to donate part of the sale directly to charity. In recent years the site has expanded into a more traditional storefront, as well as publishing its own games. It has also established a subscription service which is thought to currently have two hundred thousand subscribers.
The website has enjoyed a perceived “indie” status among many gamers, despite receiving initial venture capital funding all the way back in 2011. Humble head-honcho Jeffrey Rosen issued the following statement on the sale.
“We will be working harder than ever to bring you the best gaming bundles, book bundles, and store sales, while nurturing the Humble Monthly and our new publishing initiative. We will keep our own office, culture, and amazing team with IGN helping us further our plans. We will raise even more money for charity.
“John and I started Humble Bundle from our childhood homes. When our parents found out that our ‘big idea’ was basically the honor system of pay-what-you-want plus charity, they braced themselves for the possibility that we might never move out. Seven years later, thanks to the generosity of over 10 million customers, we’ve now raised $106 million for charity. We are incredibly proud of this figure, of our team, and the Humble community which got us here.
“But as far as we’ve come, we know we are just getting started. Even bigger things lie ahead, and we think IGN is the perfect partner to help us get there.”
IGN Acquires Humble Bundle
Frankly, a sale isn’t all that surprising at this point. Smaller companies normally look to be bought up by larger ones in an effort to aid expansion and growth. Even the establishment of the subscription service could be considered a way to generate provable, forecast-able income for potential investors. The surprise here is that it was IGN who picked up the site. IGN, owned by Ziff Davis, who themselves are owned by J2 Global.
It’s landing awkwardly for some gamers, who have taken to Reddit and Twitter to talk about their concerns. Much of it is centered around worry that Humble will lose their charitable slant in the race for the new owners to see profits. IGN and Humble have both made statements that both entities will be remaining separate, with their own goals. There is also some concern that IGN will directly benefit from pushing games sales through Humble and that this may affect the impartiality of reviews. Truthfully, right now most of these concerns are phantoms and the only thing gamers can do is watch this one unfold.
From a personal standpoint the main area of concern here would be a website that reviews games has bought a company with a publishing arm, so I would expect IGN to forego reviews for any games publisher by Humble directly, otherwise a solid conflict of interest argument could be raised.