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Wolfire founder explains Humble Indie Bundle’s success

Tuesday, 1st March 2011 03:41 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Wolfire Games founder Jeffrey Rosen has said the keys to the Humble Indie Bundle’s success are visibility, simplicity, and good customer service

“We were pretty adamant that instead of having to download a client or anything, you would click the buy button, get an e-mail, and download your games,” Rosen said at a presentation at GDC yesterday, as reported by Gamasutra.

“Which seems kind of silly, but it really worked.”

Rosen commented that the bells and whistles of shopping sites like clients, registration, and shopping carts just make it harder for customers to reach you.

He also highlighted the importance of good customer support.

““It’s really surprising how a lot of companies don’t have a good customer support team, but we managed to do it across hundreds of thousands of customers while also developing the site,” Rosen said.

“It’s not really that hard, you just have to sit down and answer e-mails.”

Rosen said the Humble Indie Bundle was inspired by the popularity of major sales on digital distribution services.

“One thing that we instantly noticed is that anytime Steam would take a bunch of games and put them together and discount the price, it would become the number one story on Reddit,” he said.

“I felt like I could do that, [that's] not too hard.”

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3 Comments

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  1. Blerk

    I’ve been ridiculously pleased with the bundle, and they even added more stuff to it after I’d bought it. I’ll definitely be up for another one this year if they decide to do the whole thing again!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. TheWulf

    That’s just Wolfire for you, though, and they are incredibly awesome. They have some of the most incredible people I’ve ever seen working at any developer, and that they have such a strong contact with their fans is just astounding. They should be the model for all future developers.

    The fact that they hang around in their own Meebo chat and on their forums and actually talk to people really counts – and when a developer is willing to treat a person with the dignity that any sentient being deserves, and not just as a walking wallet, then it provides you with faith that what they’re doing they’re doing at least mostly for the love of games. And watching the Wolfire blog, I don’t find that hard to believe at all.

    I think I’ve mentioned this already, but I actually see this attitude spreading now to other developers, and it makes me very happy. The recently Kickstarted CreaVures and its developer Muse Games has very, very much the attitude of Wolfire. I left a comment after I got the game telling them just how much I liked it, because I’d really fallen for that little gem, it’s breathtakingly beautiful and hauntingly alien with its bioluminescent ambiance whilst playable at the same time.

    It had a friend of mine and I actually wondering the nature of that world as I screenshared my playing of it over Skype. We nattered about what sort of world it must be, and how it must be a much more high-energy world than our own to be bioluminescent, and whether perhaps phosphorus is an important element in that world, perhaps even one that’s made its way into the physiological make-up of the critters of that reality. And when you’re sitting there, playing a game, and talking about things like that, you know you’re in for something special.

    And it was, it was like lost Vikings meets VVVVVV and it was the most fun I’d had in a while. So I told the Muse Games folks this over on Kickstarter and later that day I received an email, personally, from Howard Tsao, thanking me for that and offering his email address to contact him in case I needed anything. Just before I’d received that, I wrote a very praising review of the game for a niche games site I help to administer, and I’m very tempted to show him that.

    But yeah, Muse Games seem to have a very Wolfire thing going on, and you can tell that from their blog and their blog, forum, site, and by how they treat people. They’ve caught the Wolfire bug. And I hope that many developers do, because quite frankly it’s wonderful, and in the end it feels less like simply brazen capitalism, and I actually feel good about giving these people my money, knowing that they’ll go on to create more incredible things. And I get to watch, considering how open they are.

    But indeed, Wolfire has started something, something big, and they’ll be remembered for this as other developers follow in their footsteps. If this is the future of games development on the PC (Windows, Macintosh, and Linux alike, since they’re just operating systems which run on PC architecture) then it’s a very, very bright future indeed. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. TheWulf

    Oh. Forgot to mention: Howard Tsao is actually the CEO of Muse Games.

    #3 3 years ago