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So you’ve made a game – now what do you do with it? Do you sell it on Steam? Or do you attempt the mobile market, hoping to stand out against millions of other games? Or perhaps there’s another way?
In steps Itch.io, a viable alternative (although I did not end up using it for Puzzledorf, as I will explain at the end of the article).
Itch.io is free for developers to sell their games – there’s no fees. Instead it encourages a ‘pay what you want’ model where sellers can determine their minimum pricing, but buyers can pay as much as they want. Itch takes only 10% of the final sale, which is different to iOS where Apple would take 30%. According to Itch, more than 30% of buyers pay above the suggested pricing for games on their site.
You can also distribute your games for free on itch.io, or have a suggested price rather than forcing people to buy your game. Free games can also elect to have donations. You can place flash games, downloadable games, html games and even unity games on itch.io, although you can only sell downloadable games – if a game is browser-based, at the moment it has to be free with donations.
Another interesting feature is that you can add incentives for people to pay more for your game by including extra files when people pay up to a certain price. For example, they may get your game for $3, but if they pay $6, they can download the soundtrack as well.
You can also place an embed widget on your website that leads people straight to your game. Be prepared that by and large you will have to find ways to drive traffic to your website – you probably won’t get a lot from itch’s own search engine.
There is, however, one drawback, and if you think your game might be hugely successful, it’s a big one. They do not handle taxes in all countries for you, meaning that you may be liable to handle taxes in certain countries. For my game Puzzledorf, since it had over 100k trailer views, that would make me potentially liable for GST in Australia as well as taxes in other countries, so I have just stuck to Steam, because Steam handles taxes for you.
Still, if you’re an Indie Developer looking for alternative ways to distribute your games, itch.io is well worth looking at.
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