Humble Indie Bundle 7, Ads, and Modernity

So, Humble Indie Bundle 7 is live.  You best believe I got in on that: it was just $6 to unlock all the games and soundtracks earlier this morning. I’m especially psyched for Dungeon Defenders as well as Shank 2. (Not to mention the soundtracks!)

I like the way they incentivize faster sales and a higher price (since you get to pick) by saying that if you pay more than the average paid to that point you get the extra unlocks, but there’s another wrinkle that’s either new or I simply hadn’t noticed before: the live dashboard of their current sales. 

Watching the sales numbers tick up on the site is hypnotizing.
Watching the sales numbers tick up on the site is hypnotizing.

At the time of writing this psot (around 4:00pm Eastern), there have been more than 50,000 purchases and there are nearly 30,000 people watching the live statistics. Now check out that list of Top contributors: how much would you pay to have 30,000 people who probably just plopped down a few  bucks on a game stare at your Twitter handle? I dont’ know what the going rate for ad impressions is, but this seems like a pretty great way to get in touch with your fans.

And it’s just crazy to me how many layers there are to what is ostensibly a simple project: sell some games. But first you layer in the mechanism toget people to pay ever higher amounts and also to buy quickly before the average gets too high. Next you throw in a dashboard to capture the action you’ve created, and then you offer people the chance to get their names out there by paying even more (which, once people recognize that, could in turn push the price even higher). There’s an entire micro-ecosystem going on here.

And yet, for all this complexity, it dangles on such a slender, slender thread. Anything like the kind of chaos and upheaval that has been the story of humanity for all of our history could topple it in an instant. There’s something profound in their about the condition of our modern life, and maybe an explanation for the need to be self-defensively ironic, but I can’t quite grok it.

In any case: go get your cheap games!