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How to maximize your launch on itch.io

To describe the modern indie scene as “crowded” is a major understatement. Reports come out on a seemingly weekly basis that there are more games launching than ever before. Every storefront is busier than ever and if we’re being honest -- we’re no exception. At itch.io we’re acutely aware of the issues facing modern indie developers and while we’re trying our hardest to make the best possible storefront we know that there are still some processes that might be obscure to many developers. Here are our tips for maximizing your itch.io launch.

Customize your page

We’ve got a massively customizable toolset available for you to make your game’s page as unique as the game itself. You can do something thematic like the fading images of Cityglitch or go minimalist like Indigo Child. You have so many options available that leaving the page black-on-white doesn’t make any sense. Not to me at least. If you need inspiration, itch.io’s founder Leaf has a collection of some of his favorites available here.


Mobilize your followers

This advice is valuable anywhere, but it’s still worth highlighting: Nobody will buy your project if they don’t know it exists. Furthermore, the expectation that someone will magically find your game and make you a millionaire is roughly the same as getting struck by lightning. Just because it can happen doesn’t mean you should wear rubber underwear every day.

So what does that leave? If you’ve been telling people about your project you’ve already got a built in following of your most devoted fans. Send them your itch.io page. Tweet the link, send it to your email list, put it on a billboard. You can also embed an itch.io widget onto your site. That way you can keep even more of your profits and monetize your existing homepage.

Talk to us!

We’re passionate about games at itch.io. I don’t think anyone would fight that claim. We hand curate nearly all of the home page on itch.io and we’re always looking for more awesome projects to feature. Sadly, there isn’t enough hours in the day for our team of 6 to comb through each and every game that releases on the service. Maybe one day, but not today. If you want someone at itch.io to know about your upcoming release you have to, well, let one of us know. It’s not a complicated setup but it’s one worth mentioning.

This should be a good starting point for anyone looking to launch their game on itch.io but it’s just that: a starting point. Do you have any tips and tricks for your fellow developers? Share them in the comments below.

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(+1)

Love hearing ya'll are open to getting new games  shown to you!

Me and Nami as Sofdelux Studio just released a new game, Disaster Log C, that we would love if you checked out!

As for advice; I would say to always leave yourself open for donations. (Assuming everything you've offered is yours!) You never know the kind of generosity and kindness fans have until you see it first hand! An optional PDF or Ending Guide for you game set at $1 or $3 can really build up after a while and help to make future games!

Yes! This advice is really great! 

I've been surprised by generous fans giving donations, even small amounts count as they add up with time!

Thanks for this advice!

We have done exactly that with our project Till Dawn, we posted on the forum and also posted the releases on our twitter account. There were lots of visitors all day, but as we decided to have a minimum price of $1.00 the visits decreased totally.  That's because we are no longer listed in the list (https://itch.io/games/free/input-htc-vive) even if we have a demo (which is always one version behind). We were very high in that list and it's very sad that we are no longer in there.

Furthermore there should be something to post to the whole itch.io community through the forum. As we understood you should only post once there for a new start and the rest should be done on the devlog.

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Nice try, but the rubber underwear is staying on.

One simple thing that helped my game Holey Suit:  announcing the release on itch.io forums ;)

I posted on the  "Game Development » Release Announcements" forum after pushing the release button.  I followed the instructions for that topic, i.e. wrote an enticing description of the game, and back this up by a selected few fun screenshots.  You can see the post there, nothing rocket science.

Indirectly, the game was spotted by Leaf (I suppose other moderators also regularly screen this topic) and got featured on the site.  This really helped with the downloads - I am forever grateful for this!  So I guess that counts as a way to reach out to the moderators at itch.io?

And yes, a good game page helps, but you needn't go crazy.  I like the minimalist look itch.io promotes, and with a few simple tweaks (CSS helps, but not mandatory) it's very achievable to have a nice looking page.  One of my favourite page is https://juegosrancheros.itch.io/fantastic-arcade-2016, and as far as I'm aware this doesn't even use CSS.  Just uses a nice colour theme & transparent banner at the top.  Sleek!

(Edited 3 times)

Thanks for the advice! How should we contact you? 

I'd like to have my game considered. My friend and I released our game "Picking Flowers"- the relaxing arcade game 3 months ago, but have gotten only one person to play it outside of people I know.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I  posted the game to reddit on multiple places, all social media I have, tigsource, itch new releases ect. No luck.

I'd have given up and moved on to other things but my friends have persisted in telling me that this game is really good and I should keep working on getting it out there, and I know they aren't just saying that, my retention rate for people who have played the game is very high with my analytics reporting people still playing the game to this day.  

I looked at your game after reading this comment, but I'm on a Mac and can't try it, sorry.

Thanks. I'd port it to the mac but I can't afford the $100/year licensing fees apple charges. 

Have you thought about making HTML5 games? The gameplay video of Picking Flowers reminded me of the relaxing Orisinal games from way back when ( http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal/ ). That kind of thing is well suited for web-play, I think, plus HTML5 works across systems easily. But it's just a thought. I hope you can find more players either way :-)

(Edited 2 times)

oh... I actually did port it to html5 I forgot. Posting it on a html5 dev forum was how I got one stranger to play it.
I have two versions, one small sized one that resizes itself to work on cell phones with touch control and one full sized one designed for desktops.  They were both designed to test the touch screen interface but you can still use the arrow keys to play. 

Cell phone- http://jonathandaar.com/games/pickingflowers/build/HTML5Small/

PC- http://jonathandaar.com/games/pickingflowers/build/html5TOUCH/

I guess I could embed one of them into itch's html5 system. It is like Orisinal games! You are not the first person to tell me that. 

The $100 is only for IOS and Mac App Store. You don't have to pay to make a Mac build from most game engines. You might want a Mac to test with but that should be it.

yeah HOF, that's what I said.

(+2)(-1)

"a massively customizable toolset" is a overstatement. We have to email Support for CSS enabling, otherwise it's just changing some colors.

Admin(+4)

Sorry about that. We have to be careful about CSS access since it can be used for abuse. We're looking through the most common uses of CSS so we can bring those options to the default theme editor.

Itch.io platform is incredible place that collects a lot of incredible games and needs a lot of work to support. So, maybe original text must be paraphrased -- "not overwhelmingly customizable toolset".

Even with basic banner, background and color editing + gifs you can get branding done. There is nothing inherently wrong to email support, aren't there? If you have some serious project going on you obviously will contact support staff one way or another. Moreover. Give all the tools to user and Itch.io will lose all the layout guidelines and, with it, consistency.

(+1)

TheStrikeBone. I've already emailed support, but it's not "a massively customizable toolset". I just pointed that out. And I didn't say anywhere that Itchio was bad somehow, I just stated the obvious about that term. No need to be offended. 

(Edited 1 time)

Sorry for any inconvenience caused. I didn't wanted previous reply to be rude in any manner.

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