The Humble THQ Bundle: What?

November 30, 2012 in News

Ok, I’m already being needlessly dramatic. A clue about this showed up a few weeks ago when someone spotted this entry in the Steamworks CDR database. There was a moment of confusion as Linux users got giddy at the prospect of seeing some more big-name titles make their way to their beloved platform, but this hope was quickly squished.

And indeed here it is. Darksiders, Saints Row 3, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon and Company of Heroes with a few expandalones. Windows only, with DRM (except for the soundtracks). Charities on the roster this time are Child’s Play and the American Red Cross.

If you are a smart person with your ear to the ground, some foresight, and a few bucks to spare, you’d have used this opportunity to buy THQ stock. Its value has risen almost 38% since yesterday.

THQ is a company with some well known financial woes. Troubled by staff  layoffs over the past year and a reported $50mil. debt that they are defaulting on. It has been reported that the company has gone into a forbearance agreement with Wells Fargo, temporarily protecting them from any steps taken against them for their debt troubles, but also giving them until mid January to actually prove that they can recover.

This Humble Bundle seems to be part of that strategy. Money from the bundle itself is highly unlikely to result in a complete bailout for them, but it might aid them in honouring this agreement with WF. The aforementioned stock price is the other factor. It would appear that for a short period at least, the company will look attractive to investors.

There’s only so much one can do to combat poor management though, and I have to wonder if this is just delaying the inevitable. As far as publishers go, THQ ranks fairly low on the evil-o-meter, so with that I am hoping this works out for them.

Humble is taking quite a bit of abuse for this though. And it’s easy to see why. This bundle is the exact opposite of anything one might associate with a Humble Bundle.  It’s a AAA publisher, the games are Windows only and come with DRM. It’s undeniably a good deal, but some are expressing concerns that this might harm the Humble brand. It’s basically a Steam sale with pay-what-you-want and a charity component. I guess we’ll know when the next indie bundle is released if this “cool experiment” of theirs did any harm to their brand.

I’m looking at it this way: How different the market has become, that people from AAA-ville are now coming to people from Indie-ville for help. Good or bad, things are not how they used to be.