Should I implement a game buying/selling feature in

Currently, everything about ifSpace is free. That includes using the software, playing any game, creating any game, etc. Using the software and the features on the site will 100% remain free forever, I will never sell-out on that - the opensource-ness is a testament to that. The one thing that I have been considering, though, is allowing creators to post their games in their worlds for a price (as opposed to being free). Of course the option for making a game free to play would remain (and would probably still dominate the game population). The reason I have been considering this is simply that it may attract more serious users that intend on creating long form and thorough games for the platform, knowing that they can get something in return for their efforts.

I do not want to make this decision alone though, and seeing that this community is basically the world HUB for interactive fiction, I wanted to get everyone’s opinion. I don’t want to implement this feature and regret it later, but I also don’t want to avoid considering it if it would ultimately bring more users to the site. So I am welcome to all feedback. Thanks!

Why not? It might be some work for you (legal work as well), but apart from that investment I don’t really understand why you’d regret it. Most likely, a popular option would be for players to pay what they want, and optionally (like does it).

See also IF Platform that offers revenue sharing to authors?


I think adding a commercial option is okay. Not neccessary, but I think it’s actually a good thing. Especially if the game author can choose “Pay what you want”.

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How would the paying bit work? Your site would have to keep track of who paid for what etc. then there are receipts, refunds. Also tax? Is there some sort of “integration” plugin that can do that easily or do you have to roll your own?


Good points. I was wondering about the legalities as well, but I can read up on that or consult a lawyer when it comes to it. I really like the “pay what you want” philosophy that itch io has, with a default minimum of 0 but which can be edited by the creator.

Stripe can do all of that for you.

I would most likely use the Stripe payment platform as it is documented really well and I have used it in the past for payments. But this would be the first time I developed a payout system, so I would certainly be learning some things. Stripe thankfully supports both payments and payouts though, so I only have to learn more of what I know. The legalities of tax are where I fall short. I mean in my experience, all income is taxable so it is your responsibility to report that income… but I don’t know the laws behind paying people and trusting that they’ll do their taxes or if that is even my problem in the first place. This is something I have to research somehow or ask a lawyer.

Do you know if Stripe handles tax stuff too?

Not from experience, but it definitely seems to: Stripe Tax | Stripe Documentation

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Stripe may do the money bit for you but it doesn’t do everything you need. Say, for example i am a customer on your site who has purchased a pay-only game. My site login needs to know i can play that game and give me access to it. Furthermore, it has to paywall the game so i can’t go around posting the URL to the game to everyone else. How will that work?

The first part is easy, I’ll just add a column to the user database that lists your paid games. I don’t have an immediate answer for the second thing, but I’m sure I can generate temporary keys that give the session user access until they log out, and only for that user… or something like this.

ok, sounds like you have a handle on the idea. Maybe give it a go!

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I think I ultimately will. Thanks for the support!

Have you considered adding the option for players to donate to game authors and/or the website instead of having the option to pay for games before they have been played?

As a player, it isn’t always clear to me how much a game is worth (to me) before I have played it, especially if it was created by someone I have never heard of.

It could also be a kind of “pay what you want when you can” system for players, if donations could be made at any time (before, during or after play).

Itch provides this to some extent by allowing certain programs to be downloaded for free, but requiring a payment for them to be added to your library.


I haven’t considered this route before you mentioned it, no. I do like the idea of the itch io methods and I think when I move forward with this “monster” feature I will adopt the same type of system. As to which variation of it exactly, I have not decided, but I will add your suggestion to the list of them. One important thing to note is that, if I don’t implement this exact suggestion, the creators of any games can still post a demo of their game for free. Free games will always still be an option for creators, as they are right now. So in the event that there is a pay-what-you-want beyond a minimum (of something greater than 0, if the creator chooses that), the creator has the freedom to also have a portion of their game playable for free. A new creator would be smart to do this since, like you said, a potential buyer wouldn’t know if their game is any good.

Outside the game-sphere, Bandcamp has a similar thing - artists can let people download their music for free, but in order to be able to stream it in the mobile app you need to pay at least $1. (Bandcamp also has a “demo” feature in a way; the artist can set some of the songs of an otherwise paid album to free.)