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This is exactly the feature request, to have some control over the review process. This is a feature request to the development team at itch.io. They know exactly when a review is needed and when it's complete, so they're in the perfect position to add some level of control for developers, even if it's just a notification of completion, so we know when it's safe to flip the "add to listings" flag, to sync it with marketing.
I didn't do a big marketing push for itch.io, only social networking and no PR. I did it back in July 8, when the game was published on Steam, and didn't have the energy to go through that again for itch. Again, I didn't open this issue for myself, since its late for me, but for others coming behind me. Some of them will do marketing for their itch.io release regardless of whether their game has been released on other platforms before or not.
There is no exclusivity involved necessarily with PR (sometimes there is), but journalists who agree to cover your game (which is a very rare event for indies) expect that you tell them the release date and that you keep the promise, so what they publish are "fresh news". So if anyone writes an article saying "Game X is now available on itch.io", they don't want to look unprofessional in the eyes of their readers who know the game has been published for days or weeks already. That's why I mentioned that not knowing when the game is "fully published" makes PR really hard, or impossible.
Changing the status after review, as you suggest, is a good starting point. But how do I know when the review is completed?
Thanks very much for the answer!
I understand that this is a one-time issue, and there is a good chance my account won't have this problem again in the future. But this is going to keep hurting first-time sellers, so I thought I should propose this change anyway, to help others coming after me.
Measures to protect against abuse are very important, and I appreciate that itch.io has them. I think my proposal is compatible with those measures while giving honest developers better tools to control their release.
That workaround you mentioned wouldn't work for us, or anyone who is careful about PR. You typically ask the press to have embargos on the game coverage to make sure the game becomes public at approximately the same time as the articles. If you publish the game two weeks in advance, there is a good chance that the game will become listed well before the press has published their articles, upsetting them and destroying your relationship with the journalists who trusted you.
An alternative would be to publish the game in advance, but explicitly not make it searchable, and wait for the review to flip the searchable bit. But will you be notified when the review is complete? Otherwise, you don't know when you can start marketing push and flip the searchable bit. And will it even be reviewed if we don't mark it as searchable?
The best way to avoid race conditions is to give the developer some control over the review process. At the very least, information about when it's complete, but ideally also a way to manually trigger the review before the game is released.
I just realized there is something worse than not being listed in the first few days: not being searchable. This defeats most of PR 's efforts, because press outlets often don't link to the game's page, and people have to search for the game's name in the store. We've already seen this effect at launch on Steam (a very large number of people found the game through Steam's search bar). So while not being listed negates the visibility multiplier that Itch would provide through store listings, not being searchable has a very direct effect on the efforts of PR.
Just wanted to mention it to support the feature request.
Today I released my first paid game (I had a free game already before), and I was shocked to see that it's not listed. I found the documentation here explaining that this is likely because it's my first paid game, and it has to go through manual review (sadly, I had already sent a support@ request before finding these docs).
My game page has been ready since 6 days ago (with binaries uploaded), so it could have been reviewed much earlier. I'd like to request a feature that would allow developers to trigger a manual review of their games before they go public. This way, we could be sure that the game has been fully reviewed and will be listed as soon as it's made public.
I believe this feature would be similar to how the review process works on Steam, and it would be very helpful for first-time sellers. The reason for this is that there's always a big marketing push on release day that's difficult to maintain over time without being spammy. If the game is listed, there's a chance that the marketing push could bring it higher in the listings, which would compound its visibility. However, if the game isn't listed right away and takes a few days to become listed, the marketing peak is long gone, and all we get from itch.io is long-tail visibility.
Thank you for considering my feature request. I appreciate any feedback you may have.
Hello everyone! We're thrilled to announce that our adventure game, Intruder in Antiquonia, is now available on itch.io! This is our first full-length adventure game, and we're happy to finally offer an alternative to Steam.
Step into the shoes of Sarah, who wakes up in the strange town of Antiquonia with no memory of her past. As you help Sarah navigate the town and its mysteries, you'll encounter puzzles that are cleverly woven into the story. With over 30 carefully designed backgrounds, a beautiful original soundtrack and an intuitive interface, you'll be completely immersed in the world of Antiquonia.
The game's setting is heavily inspired by the stunning Spanish region of Galicia, where our two lead developers grew up. We worked hard to capture the essence of the region in the art and music of the game. Intruder in Antiquonia is a classic 2D point-and-click adventure game that will transport you to a world full of soul and proud history.
To celebrate the release, we're offering a 30% discount! Don't miss out on the chance to discover the secrets of Antiquonia. Get Intruder in Antiquonia today on itch.io and let us know what you think!
When using a third-party to convert currency, I'm not so sure Payoneer is the best choice anymore. It's very opaque about the fees it collects when withdrawing money, other than saying "can be as much as 2%".
The game is fun! I find it's a bit too much self-service when it comes to difficulty. You can give yourself maximum bombs and then all levels become super easy. I feel level 20 should be challenging no matter what you tweak in the UI.
Thank you! The graffiti artist is an in-game help system. You can totally complete the game without using the help. I made it a bit inconvenient to collect the peanuts to discourage using the help system and encourage solving the puzzles in a traditional way.
I always wanted to make my own point&click adventure game since I played Monkey Island by LucasArts when I was a little kid. Last year I finally put together a script and found the energy and will power to spend a bit of time consistently every day doing graphics, audio and code.
After 10 months of juggling a full time job, family and game development, I managed to put together this short point and click adventure set in the near future in which you play as a policeman solving a physics related mystery.
You arrive at the police office to meet your boss and figure out what's next. What's next is the theft of the first quantum locomotive in the world from a company named Quantum Steam, based in New Palo Alto. You have been following that development since they made the first press release! The main suspect is the ex-lead scientist from the company who is known to be hiding in an abandoned station with his uncle. There is where the adventure really begins.
Quantum Derail combines elements of classic point and click adventures (third person view, animations, lots of conversations and puzzles) with pre-rendered 3D graphics and a modern UI focusing on the meaningful actions. It can be played directly in the browser (for free!) without plugins and virtually zero loading times.
I used Blender to create all the graphics in the game. The game renders 2d images and sprites on HTML5 canvas, but I made these graphics by pre-rendering 3D geometry from Blender.
Here is the game, I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I enjoyed writing it!