Publishing on itch.io Pros and Cons

Hello:

I’m considering itch.io tu publish my spanish IF works.

I’d like your input on the pros and cons of this web platform: ease of use, level of response, author’s right… whatever you fine people find is relevant to know before taking the plunge, as it were.

I’ve been told not to sign my posts, so I wont :wink:

I use itch.io for development and eventual publishing.

There is a bit of a learning curve, but I enjoy that I can post my game privately - “draft” mode and experimentally create the front page and give out a private url for testing.

You can upload games, have them browser-playable in specific forms (HTML) monetize downloaded files, request donations, or make them free, create blog posts, enter jams, and there is a whole suite of marketing tools I haven’t dug much into. You can include a comment section at the bottom of your game or create an entire message board with subject threads by checking one box. Notifications are good. Screenshots, supplemental files…

The analytics for all your games and individual games are wonderful. You can see who just looked at your game, how many downloads, how many browser plays…etc. I get a lot of hits from the built-in audience, especially if you tag your game correctly - players on itch will find it.

I honestly haven’t found any downsides. I have not done any serious monetization, but for the ones that aren’t marked “accept no payments” I’ve gotten the occasional odd donation and made a few dollars. If you want to test, you can keep your game in Draft mode which means it’s private and not available for people to find or search for.

Just pasting the URL for your game formats it wonderfully in modern browsers and social media like Twitter or Discord, like this:

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Itch works. If you have a free game, there’s basically no reason not to put it up there.

If you want to charge money for your game, there’s still no reason not to put it up there – but keep your expectations low. On the other hand, if your game does make significant money on Itch, that’s a strong sign that it will make a lot more on Steam.

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Excellent information: you both had made an excellent argument towards adopting this platform for (ahem) mass dissemination of my body of work (such as it is).

Much obliged!

P.S. 'TIS ZARF! ZARF COMETH!! ZAAAARF!!! OMG-OMG-OMG :heart_eyes: sorry to act like a groupie, but there you have it :star_struck:

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For those who would like to check it out, here is my listing on itch.io.

Indeed, it wasn’t so difficult, it was merely a chore because I had 11 “projects” to put online.

If I get more people to play my IF, and maybe get a comment, it will be worth it, even if I don’t get a single penny from it.

Thank you all for the good advice!

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Your itch.io web page is very nice. I intend to try you games but it is a little late for me tonight. Are you games in Spanish? Does itch.io’s translate function work if they are?

Thank you

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Thank you for taking a peek at the games list.

Indeed, all of my games are in spanish, and I don’t believe itch.io could translate them: maybe the browser would attempt to translate the text, but it couldn’t possibly translate the commands.

Since “Rastros” is the only CYOA of them all, I dare say translation is not really an option… and I won’t be writing IF in english any time soon.

Están en español y así se quedarán, as mi spanish readers would say,

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The only complaint I’ve ever heard with itch.io from a developer perspective is that how they embed your HTML game (using an iframe, I believe) sometimes causes an error if the right conditions are met. I wish I could remember the details, but most people seem to be able to resolve it when it happens, so it can’t be that big of a deal. Just something to look out for if your local game doesn’t error but your uploaded version does, I guess.

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Well, I recently had that same problem to create downloadable / offline ZIP distributions of my own works. Solving that certainly enabled me to publish on itch.io with no problems.

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I’ve never got much out of itch.io. My pages might get two or three views a month, maybe even a download every couple of months. There are hundreds of thousands of games up there, and every day there’s something newer and shinier. It’s a bit like uploading a short film to YouTube; you might as well drop it down a dark well. I’ve had much more success with IFDB.

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Yeah, well… yes, indeed it’s akin to publishing poetry to become a best-seller or throwing a rose petal to the Grand Canyon to test for echo :roll_eyes: :crazy_face:

One can only hope, indeed: I did published first on my web page, then on my spanish IF community Web (CAAD)… also on the spanish IF wiki (WikiCAAD)… and then on the english ifWiki… and on IFDB… and facebook… and textadventures.co.uk… and the IF Archive, just to be on the safe side.

:dizzy_face: :sunglasses:

I did got some comments, most of them from the spanish IF community forum, but also some in spanish and in english from textadventures.co.uk and IFDB.

So, it’s not for lack of trying, you know…

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Tagging your games appropriately is important. Linking to your profile and your games from other places (like in in your profile here) is important… That’s just basic social media visibility.

That said, my parser fiction gets the least number of views on itch and I think that’s just natural. Choice games are a little higher, and my adult games get the most traffic. That’s likely due to tagging and general player-preference. Most people there are looking for graphical games.

Great images and screenshots also help from the way games are suggested and displayed - and images usually don’t sell IF very well.

It’s hard to say how my games do on IFDB since there are no author-available metrics to look at. Itch wins in that respect.I kind of solve that by having the itch page be the website/play link from IFDB.

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Hey, old friend:

Take a look at this post from 2017. I think it is still relevant today, and I have updated the thread to reflect something important.

https://intfiction.org/t/ectocomp-2017-technical-advice-for-hosting-at-itchio/

Welcome!

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Oh, boy!

Ladies & gentlemen, this here Ruber fellow was known to yours truly as Urbatain waaay back, say 16 years ago, when I was beginning the testing of my first IF work using Inform v6 (with InformATE! spanish library).

He taught quite a few things of the craft: good advice on things to do (an not to do) to make an IF work actually interactive.

¿Qué dice, Urba, qué hace? 'tis good to read you again. I’ll certainly take into consideration your advice regarding mobile platforms while using itch.io to publish IF.

Hope to be seeing/reading/whatever you around; here, on the spanish CAAD, wherever fate chances it.

¡Saludos, parsero!

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Oh yeah, they know me, I’ve been here for a while, but nowadays I’m quite busy at work, and have little time to gather around, although I usually fast read post’s titles :slight_smile: Thanks for the kind words!

Just to comment further more on the topic of presentation of IF at itchio. I would recommend take a look at Vorple. You can see it in action here (again, minimalist approach, but with sounds and music):

https://astrobolism.itch.io/sohoek-ekalmoe

Or this:

For a full multimedia experience.

Kind regards!

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It’s rather wonderful… but if I ever get back to Inform created interactive fiction, I’ll surely try first to properly learn Inform 7 and then see if I can reach beyond good interactive text response.

I’ve yet to find an easier way to provide a paid download than itch. You can create an itch page with a free version that links to your itch page with the paid version. Mine also links to the paid version at the end of the book.

This was easy for me because it’s an interactive fiction novel written with Twine 2.0, so I could just copy it and delete the parts past the cutoff for the free version and insert the link page. It might be more difficult with other IF creators, but probably still doable.

I only get a handful of hits from itch itself, but it’s a handy place to link to from elsewhere. As previously stated, their auther dashboard stats are great and being free there’s no reason not to use it.

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I’m a huge fan of Itch. In addition to all the pros listed by people here, I really appreciate that they let you turn off ratings or comments for your game. It was great for me when I was doing my first couple of games that were free and I had a lot of anxiety about people piling on me as a new game designer.

They even let you adjust the share they take from sales of your game all the way down to zero. I’ve never adjusted mine but I think it really shows how much they care about game developers. Like everyone says, there’s really no reason not to put your game on there and if you set your free game as Pay What You Want then who knows, maybe someone will drop a few bucks on it anyway.

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