Some people call me cheap.
I like to think of myself as “value conscious.”
To be honest, I’m probably neither, as I have a bad habit of spending money on deals that are “too good to pass up,” which is probably a net drain on my wallet. That said, I love package deals, and feeling like I’m getting more bang for my buck. So the recent trend towards “bundles” really speaks my language.
My latest favorite bundler is Bundle of Holding. Founded by Allen Varney, a prolific contributor to practically every major roleplaying game and gaming periodical published in the last 25 years, Bundle of Holding specializes in what else? Roleplaying games! Varney’s site pulls together collections of tabletop games, be they around a theme, such as the recent indie Fate collection or the promised horror bundles lead up to Halloween, or around a single title, as in the case of the recent Feng Shui and Unknown Armies bundles, or the current Stars Without Number bundle (a game you may recall from my recent post on old school rules roleplaying. This is a great opportunity to pick SWN up, by the way. It’s totally worth it).
I considered Bundle of Holding an exemplary bundler. So far they’ve promoted titles that would either sail below the radar (as so many indie labors of love do), or that have perhaps lost sales momentum, as in the case of the recent single title bundles. Either way, the BoH bundles expose gamers to great content at great prices while funneling money into creators’ pockets—and like other prominent bundle sites a portion of sales go to charities of the creator’s choosing (in BoH’s case,
a fixed 20% 10%). On that point, fully 70% of sales go to the creators (and as the saying goes, how do you make a small fortune in the game industry? Start with a large one. So these creators deserve it)!
Of course, Bundle of Holding wasn’t my first bundle… rodeo. That distinction goes to Humble Bundle (as I suspect many-a-bundler can also say). Humble Bundle is the bundler that needs no introduction. I find myself much more selective about investing in video game content, but Humble Bundle affords me a low risk opportunity to sample lots of content that I would have otherwise ignored. I think of it a bit like I think of crowd funding—I’m supporting earnest creators through unorthodox channels.
At this point, bundles abound. There are several indie video game bundlers, bundles for ebooks of practically every genre, indie music… Basically, if you’re after content that can be transmitted electronically, someone is bundling it up. In my mind, this is great. There is a lot of amazing content out there, and I like having it curated and packaged up for me. It saves me money, saves me time, and helps me discover things I never would’ve looked twice at if someone didn’t separate it from the pack. These are all good things in my mind.
Of course, opinions do differ. With all of these technology-enabled modes of content creation and distribution available to us, there is more content than ever. And we’ve got so many mechanisms to get it into people’s hands—be it bundled, Kickstarted, green lighted, or what have you… Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Or are my rose colored glasses making the mediocre look like gold? Are all these bundles crowding each other out? Are bundles eating potential crowd funding dollars? Or are you like me and think bundles are the best think since sliced Baklava? Let me know what you think in the comments!