Valve has started getting developers to work together to create bundles on the Steam gaming store. It Outlined The New “DIY Collaboration Bundles” in a blog post yesterday, describing the feature as a way to collect titles with “common themes.”
Steam already offered bundles for multiple developers, but only those specifically curated by the platform. Now any developer can create a bundle and send an invite link to other creators, who can then choose to add their own projects. The bundle owner then locks the bundle and participants agree on a name, royalties, discount amount, and other details. All participants must approve subsequent game additions, but someone can unilaterally remove their game from the bundle, and the bundle owner can change the description and image without approval – so Valve notes that you “must make sure you own the bundle trusts.”
Valve characterizes DIY bundles as a “co-marketing” option for related games, as well as an option to split the royalties on soundtracks. Instead of the publisher selling a game’s soundtrack and passing on money, they can collaborate on a bundle with the musicians. Themed bundles have a long history on many platforms, including the Humble Bundle store, which made the model popular.
In particular, developers on the smaller platform Itch.io have used collaborative bundles for activism and commentary, supporting causes such as Black Lives Matter or indie alternatives to big budget releases like Cyberpunk 2077. (That’s next to an official Itch.io Organized Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, which brought in more than $8.1 million last year.) Valve’s new system could facilitate something similar – in addition to making it easier for developers to co-market games.