Humble Bundle milestones: $50M to charity, $100M to devs

Humble Bundle has raised more than $50 million for charity since launching its first sale in May 2010 – the Humble Indie Bundle, as it was called back then. That bundle introduced the idea of "pay what you want" pricing and offered customers power over the allocation of their payments, plus the chance to do something good for charity. Specifically for that first promotion, it was the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play Charity.

"When my co-founder Jeff [Rosen] first contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play for our first promotion, no one knew who we were," Humble co-founder John Graham tells Joystiq. "After pitching the confusing idea, in probably too much detail, he was cut off: 'So let me get this straight, you are basically asking if you can give us money? Sure!'"

Humble Bundle now supports a roster of more than 50 charitable organizations and has expanded with weekly bundles, ebook bundles, mobile bundles and the Humble Store, which by itself raised $1 million for charity by June 2014. That very first Humble Bundle raised roughly $400,000 for charity – $200,000 each for EFF and Child's Play – at the time an "incomprehensible" amount to John Graham.

"It produced a lot of pressure to keep going," he says. "Our potential to raise another $400,000 for charity felt like a moral obligation. Raising more than two orders of magnitude beyond that goal was not something we ever considered."

Since the first bundle, the EFF alone has earned more than $10 million by participating in Humble sales. Other charities, such as global healthcare initiative Watsi, have received game-changing amounts of cash from Humble, Graham says. Watsi provides healthcare to individuals on a case-by-case basis, but with money from Humble, it completely funded a hospital in Cambodia, he says:

"Charities often are very surprised by the amount of money sent their way by our community. Even the larger charities like the Red Cross are amazed once the payment arrives. It has often been the case that we exceed charity expectations and they've had the good problem of figuring out how to scale up the work they do."

We got in on the Humble madness this year, with the Humble Weekly Bundle presented by Joystiq. That one raised more than $24,000 for AbleGamers, an organization dedicated to making games accessible to people with disabilities.

Customers are able to choose where their money goes, split among charity, developers in the bundle, and Humble itself. Most people stick with the default split – 65 percent to developers, 20 percent to charity and 15 percent to Humble – but otherwise, there is a slight bias toward giving to charity, Graham notes.

Developers have grossed more than $100 million through Humble Bundle since May 2010. Participation in a Humble sale is more nuanced for developers, since price control is taken out of their hands and customers can walk away with Bundle games for next to nothing. That $100 million is distributed among more games per bundle than the $50 million for charity, as well.

Graham says that he and the founding Humble team understand this – they were developers themselves, at one point, with Wolfire Games. One of Wolfire's games, Lugaru HD, was in that first Humble Bundle.

"Humble Bundle was borne out of the fact that we were game developers ourselves at Wolfire Games, trying to get noticed and sell our games," Graham says. "Developers always need to do what feels right for them. We continue to find that in addition to the massive support Humble Bundles provide for charity, developers seem to enjoy the goodwill and buzz that gets driven onto their titles during our promotions and the revenues we are able to bring them."

We had a chat with Graham during Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, in August this year. Listen to that conversation, which covers Humble's origins and Graham's business sense (in his delightful movie-announcer baritone), right here.

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San Francisco, Calif. - December 16, 2014 - Humble Bundle, the pay-what-you-want digital distributor, has announced that it has raised more than $50 million for charity to date with the support of its dedicated community. Since 2010, Humble Bundle has curated digital video game bundles and has put the power in the hands of the consumer, letting customers name their price and choose how their purchase dollars are allocated - between the game developers and charity.

The Humble Bundle community has helped raise funds for more than 50 charitable organizations, including Child's Play Charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Red Cross, charity: water and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. These contributions have helped people with disabilities enjoy games, provided emergency medical aid, funded health care, brought books to schools in Africa, brought clean water to developing countries and much more.

"We never imagined after the first Humble Indie Bundle that we might one day reach this milestone," said John Graham, co-founder and COO of Humble Bundle. "It is hard to truly comprehend the magnitude of $50 million for charity. We owe our thanks to the generosity of the Humble Bundle community -- to the content creators who entrust us with their works of art and to the consumers -- for making this possible."

Humble Bundle has since expanded its offerings by including mobile games, audiobooks and e-books. In 2013, the Humble Store was launched, offering digital games at deep discounts. Ten percent of all Humble Store purchases support select charities. The Humble Store met its $1 million for charity milestone in June 2014.

About Humble Bundle
Humble Bundle organizes pay-what-you-want plus charity promotions for awesome digital content and puts the power directly in the hands of the consumers, offering them fully-featured titles at prices they set themselves. Consumers pay what they want and decide how to allocate their money between content creators, charity and a humble tip. Humble Bundle also offers the Humble Store, a digital storefront that features great games at great prices with a portion of sales going to select charities. Since the company's launch in 2010, Humble Bundle has helped empower its community to allocate more than $50 million toward charity to date. For more information, please visit