There’s a chance that you might have never heard of itch.io, but this platform could be one of the biggest developments and steps forward for games as a whole in quite some time. So, for those not in the know, I’m going to go over what exactly it is and a couple of reasons why itch.io should be on your radar.
What exactly is it?
Itch.io is an online games platform in the same vein as Steam, Origin and GOG, but the focus of itch.io is very different from its contemporaries. Rather than distributing the latest big titles in gaming, itch.io is instead all about supporting the self-publishing and distribution of small, independent developers. Like the other game distributors, you can download games directly from itch.io, but the key difference is that your money goes directly to the developer of the game. Games can be purchased for set prices, or as “Pay What You Want”, allowing you to give as little, or as much as you like.
So, Why Does It Matter?
By removing the barriers to distribution and giving developers their own small platform, itch.io has opened the door to almost every kind of game imaginable. If a developer can find an audience for their work, then itch.io will allow them to profit from it and keep on working on their weird and wonderful ideas.
Traditionally, when a developer sought a distributor for their game they would face upfront costs, a stringent approval process and percentage dividends to the distributor on units sold. By doing away will all this, itch.io is creating a community that is championing the democratisation of games development and when combined with fundraising sites like Patreon, we can look forward to a new era of games that really push the boundaries of what we can expect from the medium.
Itch.io is also a platform for developers to work together and collaborate on projects, with features allowing for discussion and game jams – a dynamic short form of games development where participants create a game that it’s the theme requirements of the jam within a short period, often as little as a few days. By creating a space that game developers can make their own, itch.io is directly supporting the growth of the industry and we can look forward to seeing more and more rising stars coming from amongst its members.
This is just a brief overview of what itch.io is and the value that it holds for games. As a consumer, all that you really need to take away is that itch.io is another way to pick up great independent games at reasonable prices, while also supporting the growth of the industry. If indie games are you’re jam, there’s really not much more you could want.