Two days ago, Humble Bundle and EA launched the Humble Origin Bundle 2, the follow-up to the original Origin Bundle launched in 2013. The conventional Indie Bundles are, of course, great, but I also appreciate it when giant publishers like EA step in for a good cause. Unlike the traditional Humble Bundles which split the proceeds between charity, the developers, and the Humble Bundle company, EA elects to take no cut from these bundles. In this case, the charities are Girls Who Code, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and Build On. (The first two are self-explanatory, but the latter is a charity for women’s education in third world countries.) It makes me believe that maybe, just maybe, these megalithic corporate entities might actually have a good heart buried somewhere deep in their shrewd, cold outer crust. Other big publishers, such as Warner Bros., Sega, and THQ (RIP), should also be given props for having had their own bundles in the past.
Humble Bundles allow donors/customers to set their own price for the bundle. For a minimum of $1, the bundle includes:
Dragon Age: Origins
Dead Space 2
Medal of Honor Allied Assault War Chest
Command & Conquer Generals
If you pay more than the average donation (which fluctuates over time), you will also receive:
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
Dragon Age II
Mass Effect 2
Humble Bundles run for two weeks, and, on the second week (next Tuesday 4/22), “bonus” games are added to the bundle. Those who have already paid above the average donation *at the time they made their purchase* will receive these additional games automatically. Traditionally, these games are secret until they are revealed, but EA’s Korean twitter account seems to have leaked the bonus games, and they include:
Sim City 2000
Wing Commander III
Wing Commander IV
Donors will be given a code for the bundle that is redeemable on Origin, EA’s digital distribution service for PC. In addition, Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space 2, Bejeweled 3, and Mass Effect 2 also offer Steam-redeemable codes (in addition to being redeemable on Origin). All-in-all, its a good selection of games, though, I think not as good as the 2013 Origin Bundle. The original bundle included Dead Space 1 & 3 (but not 2!), Mirror’s Edge, Burnout Paradise, Battlefield 3 and several other big name games. The inclusion of Dead Space 2 and Mass Effect 2, but not their predecessors is just weird to me and triggers an OCD reaction. But I don’t want to come off as too picky,as I would feel ashamed for complaining since the proceeds of the bundle go to charity.
Many find it easy to be cynical about the Origin Bundles. While EA is not making money directly off these bundles, many feel that they are a way to drive downloads of EA’s Origin client. In addition, some might say that the inclusion of the middle games of the Dead Space and Mass Effect trilogies are meant to entice gamers into shelling out for the rest of those series. While I’m always reasonably suspicious about the intentions of giants publishers, I’d rather just accept this on its face as an earnest attempt to help support good causes. EA really didn’t have to include Steam codes of the games available on Steam if it was purely out to beef up Origin’s user base. And the remainder of the Dead Space trilogy was available in the previous Origin Bundle. Mass Effect 2, I have no explanation for, though.
Humble Bundles are always a great way to support charities. You can get a handful of games for as little as $1, and the beat-the-average price for the rest of the games is generally pretty low (as of the time of writing the average price is <$5). There was a lot of commotion made when the Origin service first launched as a competitor to Steam and the exclusive source of EA PC games going forward, but nowadays the Origin client and service really is not that bad. Although, it’s annoying to have to keep track of an extra game library and friends list/account outside of Steam, I’ve never personally had technical problems with the Origin service. It’s certainly no Uplay (Ubisoft’s PC digital distribution client), which I’ve had nothing but trouble with. So I encourage anyone who might be interested in even just one of the lower bracket games to at least donate a dollar, as it goes to a good cause.