The Visibility & access options provided on a project’s edit page allow you to control who is able to view your project’s page and any of its sub pages.
Here are the primary modes:
In addition to page visibility, Download Keys are used for restricting access to files contained on a project page.
Draft is the default visibility state. Your project is only accessible by people who can edit it, and people with the secret link. We don’t recommend distributing your project in draft mode since others will not be able to download or purchase it. Use draft mode to finalize the design of your project page before releasing it.
Your project is only linked from your dashboard, it will not show up anywhere else on itch.io. If you move a previously public project into draft mode then anyone who had access will no longer be able to visit the page until it’s moved out of draft.
Restricted allows only the people you've approved to access your page. Access will let them download files, participate in the community, and use anything else you've enabled for your page. You can give people access by sending them a Download Key that they can attach to their account. If you revoke the key then they'll lose access to the page.
The following option is also available for Restricted:
Restricted projects will not show up on itch.io’s browse pages, search results, or profile pages. They will also not be indexed by external search engines.
Public makes your game publicly available to everyone. Public games are listed in itch.io’s browse page and search. External search engines an index public pages. These projects will also show up on your profile.
There are two options for Public:
There’s one more way to restrict access to your project page: setting a future release date. In the Metadata → Release info section of your project in your dashboard you can provide a release date.
When that date is set in the future then no one will be allowed to buy or download your project until the date has elapsed. Your project page will list how much time is left until the files are made available.
All the access modes outlined above also apply to all sub-pages on your project. This includes your community or comments. By combining Exclusive content and Restricted access you can create a message board only available to the people who have bought your game.