The definitive guide to bundles for indie devs
There are subjects that will be eternally debatable and others I can’t figure why we’re still talking about them. Bundles are a pretty easy subject to close once and for all so let me do so. So read the following and blindly apply my advice like you should always do when reading anything on the Internet.
Who should consider bundles
If you released a hit or your game is still making decent money, you need to stop reading right now. Seriously, it’s really annoying when a dev doing relatively well is complaining about how little money they made from a bundle. Keep making money on Steam and stop annoying the rest of us with your rants about bundles!!!
Bundles are for games that don’t sell anymore or never really made any kind of money. If this description doesn’t fit your game and still put it in a bundle then you are losing money. Bundles will desperately try to get your game because it will most likely perform better than a bundle filled with unknown games but it’s not beneficial to you. Stick with discounts on Steam.
If your game fits the previous description then you don’t have much to lose even if you get peanuts.
When to consider bundles
A bundle is simply a very deep discount on your game. Not something like a 75% discount, more like 99.99%. So before considering to put your game in a bundle, do yourself a favor and try running a few deep discount directly on Steam. You’ll most likely make more money that way by maybe converting a few wishlist addition to sales. Only when deep discounts don’t work anymore on Steam should you consider bundles otherwise you’re simply refusing to get money.
What bundle to consider
I’ll make this simple. The only bundle worth your time is the Humble Bundle. I believe it’s not as popular as it used to be but it’s still the only bundle that will make you decent money. It might be worth not following what I say in this post if you’re able to get in this bundle but I would still ask other developers what it did for them before getting too fast in this bundle.
Any other bundles are a waste of your time. With that said though, it’s possible you might never be able to see your games in a Humble Bundle. For example, I’m starting to think that I’ll never be able to get a game in there. In that case, if your game is dead on Steam, it’s okay to take some time to consider a few of the other bundles. You won’t make much money but if your alternative is making $0 then again you don’t have much to lose.
It’s not worth my time to list which bundle you should trust and which you shouldn’t as if you’re afraid to lose money (like not getting paid from a shady bundle) then you shouldn’t participate in a bundle to start with (see Who should consider bundles). Just do a quick Google search to see if everything seems right and then you’re set.
What kind of money you can expect
Humble Bundle aside, you can expect $1,000 or way less. I made from $100 to $1,000 from the few bundles I participated to. Don’t believe any bundle guy saying the average is higher than that as they are either giving you numbers from a few years ago or telling you about bundles with some high-profile games in them.
Getting a bunch of games for cheap isn’t special anymore so don’t expect much, specially if you never heard about the other games in the bundle. The bundle that made me the most money had One Finger Death Punch in it which is a game that did well while other bundles with no high-profile games did poorly.
So don’t expect much from bundles. It’s only a way to get the last few dollars your game can make.
What to expect after a bundle
Be prepared to see a bunch of Steam keys being sold on websites like G2A. It shouldn’t bother you much as you weren’t making money anyway. If you were, well… You made a mistake.
You should also be prepared to possibly see a bunch of negative reviews to appear on your Steam page. People buying bundles often do so to get a specific game and don’t care about the others so they’ll spend 5 minutes checking your game and then trash it on Steam. They never had any intention to enjoy your game but now that they have a key they are free to leave any kind of review.
There’s really nothing else to say about bundles. If you feel my post is incomplete then you are overthinking it. In that case, just stick with the Humble Bundle and ignore all requests to participate in any other bundles. It’s really as simple as that…