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Nintendo gets a Humble Bundle and it's all indies

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The latest pay-what-you-want Humble Bundle, which just went live, includes a couple of important firsts.

It's the first time Nintendo has made its games available for sale through the increasingly popular Humble Bundle service. But perhaps most importantly, it's the first time Humble Bundle has put console games up for sale. And it likely won't be the last.

"We are trying to talk to everyone and we are definitely exploring all possibilities," said John Graham, co-founder of Humble Bundle. "I'm optimistic that our future will hold more console promotions."

The Humble Nindie Bundle presented by Nintendo eShop is named after Nintendo's initiative to support independent developers. The bundle, which includes three 3DS games, three Wii U games and two games for both systems, also supports the charity Code.org. The region-locked games are only redeemable on consoles purchased in North, Central and South America (excluding Brazil), due to Nintendo's region restrictions.

As with most Humble Bundles, the games are broken into three tiers. Core titles are pay any price, beat-the-average titles are included if you pay more than the average price and BT10 titles mean you pay $10 or more to receive the entire bundle.

The core titles are Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship edition for Wii U, Woah Dave! for the 3DS and Mighty Switch Force! for the 3DS.

The beat-the-average titles are The Fall for Wii U, OlliOlli for both 3DS and Wii U and Moon Chronicles for 3DS.

The $10 minimum titles are Stealth Inc. 2 for Wii U and SteamWorld Dig for both the 3DS and Wii U.

More titles will be announced mid-promotion.

While Humble Bundle launched in 2010, selling countless games, eBooks, music and movies, they've never sold a console game, let alone games for Nintendo's platforms.

But it wasn't for a lack of trying, said Graham.

"We are usually the guys open to working with everyone, but I think it takes awhile for people to get to know us and understand what we are about," he said. "We're really excited about this."

Graham called the contents of this first Nintendo bundle a mutual effort.

"We got to know each other and we were throwing darts at the wall," he said. "We are all about promoting indie games and Nintendo has a lot of indie games."

"Nintendo and Humble share passion and enthusiasm for indie games," said Damon Baker, Nintendo of America's Senior Manager of Publisher and Developer Relations. "This is an incredible opportunity to promote our talented Nindie community while supporting a great cause."

The result is a bundle of indies that play on Nintendo platforms, all loosely based around a platform theme.

"Some are brawlers, some are [like Cave Story], some stealth and a little bit of world craft," Graham said. "I think we just looked at the whole catalog."

While Graham wouldn't say if bundles could be expected for other console platforms, he did point out that Humble Bundle is always trying to expand its reach.

"Historically, we've found that we don't just do one bundle in a new platform and stop," he said. "If you look at Android apps and eBooks, we still do those.

"I hope this is the start of something."

While Humble got its start promoting indie titles that often didn't have big name publishers and were seeking not just sales but exposure, that's no longer the only sort of game the store sales. Those titles were always sold DRM-free.

In 2012, Humble Bundle broke with tradition and hosted a Humble THQ Bundle for the failing developer and publisher. More than 885,000 game bundles were sold, pulling in more than $5 million.

Humble Bundle has since hosted other major publisher's games, including Electronic Arts titles which hit earlier this year.

Graham said that the THQ sale made a lot of people nervous but that he believes gamers understand that those AAA bundles won't replace the indie bundles the store continues to host.

"That was something we wanted to do in addition to other bundles," he said. "It also allowed us to hire a full-time Linux porter and helped us grow faster and build better bundles.

"We like trying experiments, but we will never abandon the traditional model. We now have a big community and we find both sides inside of it: one which just wants indie bundles and one that wants bundles like THQ or Origin."

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Graham believes this latest bundle may attract both of those audiences.

"I think we found the intersection of an awesome relationship with Nintendo and great indie content," he said. "I think Nintendo deserves credit for being really cool here and courageous for trying this."

Another important element of Humble Bundle is that the consumer doesn't just pay what they want for the content, they decide how their payment is allocated between the creators, the charity and Humble Bundle itself.

In this case, the charity is Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to getting more students into computer science careers and increasing participation by women and people of color.

Since the company's launch in 2010, Humble Bundles have raised more than $59 million for a variety of charities. Graham says there's a good chance they'll hit $60 million with the Nindie Bundle.

"One big surprising thing we've discovered as a company is that we were able to grow by using the honor system and just trusting people," Graham said. "I think people are starting to realize they should think about where things are coming from.

"With multiple marketplaces out there, people are starting to think how and where their purchase comes from and what helps the developer the most. And maybe, they can make the world a better place."

Polygon Overview: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship edition