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Why won't anyone download?

A topic by MaxSMoke777 created Sep 27, 2017 Views: 952 Replies: 41
Viewing posts 1 to 19

I'm having some doubts as to the usefulness of this website. I've had a bunch of views for my free VR games, but not a single download. I have videos, screenshots, it all seems solid. I'm not demanding a penny, but there's been no downloads at all. It's all very depressing. Am I alone here? 

Maybe "Free" is synonymous with crap? Should I have demanded money? I was just hoping for some encouragement and freeback. My picky friend with a VIVE told me they were solid.


Hey, sorry no one has downloaded your game yet. Have you tried sharing your page around? We sent out an email with some tips for every game that gets published on our site. We got a lot of new projects daily so you can help get more exposure by pushing some initial traffic to your page.


Getting people to look at what you make can be hard, but don't get discouraged. Engaging with other people in the community forums helps in my experience; so does advertising in other venues. In particular, try getting the attention of people with similar interests, e.g. by commenting on their games. And take the long view: two months isn't enough time to build momentum, especially for a new creator with zero marketing budget. :)

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I understand your pain. I have two games up on this site and they get few downloads, the more popular one has 30 downloads total. And my game doesn't require additional hardware. Your VR game is going to have a much smaller potential audience. The issue isn't the site, it's the fact that games need promotion. There is no magical place to put your game that's going to make people aware of it. The easy part of indie game development is making games. The hard part is that you also have to be a marketing expert or it's all for nought.


Yeah my game, Nepenthe, is having a rough time of it too.

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Not too sure if we're comparing apples to apples, here. You are selling a game for $5 that isn't even out. No screenshots, no game-play videos, just a vague description of what it might be, sometime in the future.  The music is nice, but I would be impressed if you made money off something that doesn't appear to be anything, yet. 

On the other hand, I'm giving away, for free, today, games that can be downloaded and played right now. The two games are well documented and cost the end user nothing.

Your right.

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Funny you mentioned that.

My game Maze Qore Arena was suppose to sell for $5 and yet zero purchases last week. Most who saw my game claimed it was great, but still refused to buy it. When i finally received some meaningful criticism, I decided to make it PWYW for any better luck, didn't do a damn thing. So I am stumped and screwed it seems. More depression to my self-esteem.

Just trying to find what I am doing wrong so I can get some money and publicity.


I haven't played your game, so I'm going to base my critique on the video and itch.io page.

Your game has a very early 2000s shareware vibe, and you could stand to lean into that a bit more, look up promotional copy from games of the time for ideas maybe.

Also, all the trailer tells me about your game is that it's a twin stick shooter. Consider your game next to others of the same genre. What does Maze Quore do better than Nuclear Throne or Thoth? Or like, Smash TV? Make the video about those things.

Also also, temper your expectations. More videogames were made last year than between 2006 and 2014. The audience is spread a lot thinner than it used to be, and a lot of finding your players is luck and hustle. Make yourself prolific, release a lot of small projects, or collaborate with people more popular than you. 

I hope that helps.



You just need to promote or shared your games. Or maybe your game is too overpriced. That is why no one downloaded it.


Ooooohhh. All you have to do is promote the games. Gee why didn't we think of that.... (e_e) Or I suppose you may be right that free is too overpriced.

Oh i didn't know that your game is free. Why i am having lot of downloads on my part even it's free. 

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OMG why did you even bother

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You're kind of narrowing your potential audience with a VR game, that could explain the divergence of clicks to downloads: "Ooh cool looking game! Too bad I don't have a gazillion dollar piece of equipment...

Diversifying with a non-VR game might help. Alternatively, getting some of those sweet, sweet Normie Eyeballs with some Facebook Ads.

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I would say to engage more with the community like for example, check out my game ;)  :P

I've heard the VR community are pretty receptive to new games, have you tried marketing to them specifically?

I'd love to know what that means. Like, what is "Marketing"... and not like a dictionary term but as real-life steps. I've tried bugging some people in YouTube that review VR stuff, to no effect. I can't seem to post on Reddit because I'm lacking some sort of access to it. I don't know much about Reddit as I rarely ever use it. I only found out about Itch.io after alot of internet searches specially about how to "market" an indie game. I'm all out of ideas here. 

This isn't even a new thing. All my life I've made amazing things and never had a clue as to what to do with them. This failure to connect is especially biting as making video games have always been a life-long goal of mine.  

And yes, the VR community *SHOULD* be eating this content up. They are DEFINITELY desperate for games. But unless it's on Steam, I don't think anyone will touch it.  I had high hopes for Itch.io, but it seems it's just not a significant player in VR, at this time. 

Well in this case, I basically meant posting to different VR subreddits, just because I heard that someone had quite a lot of luck in one of the VR related subreddits. Are you making sure that you're following the rules of the subreddits? Your post might get eaten by a spam filter if you're new and/or you don't follow the rules. I think it'd be worth looking into that more.

For the record, I'm definitely no expert about marketing. I'm pretty shy about sharing stuff, I'm just making games for fun. But I'll tell you what my understanding of marketing a game would be. First off,  from what I've heard, if you want people to play your game, marketing can't be an afterthought, it's generally as much effort as making your game. It isn't something that you're supposed to do only once your game is finished, it's supposed to be a gradual build up of anticipation while you're developing it. 

Some things you can do are:

  • Find games/indie games (and in your case VR communities) and tell them about your game (facebook, reddit, post using VR related hashtags on twitter/tumblr, make nice gifs of gameplay, etc).
  • Pay money for some advertising.
  • Contact youtubers/media outlets and ask them to try it out. Try smaller content producers rather than just big names. If you're contacting someone to write an article, make sure you do most of the work for them (write about your game, include some cool screenshots, so that writing the article would be really easy for them).
  • Keep a dev blog to garner interest slowly while you're making the game. Maybe make some tutorials if they would be of interest to others.
  • Have a mailing list so that you can let  interested people know about new updates or releases of your game.

Good luck!

Has anyone gone to either of my game pages and taken a look at what I posted? Perhaps there's something I've missed? 


Briefly, yes. Can't see anything amiss. Description, screenshots, video, tags... I don't think presentation is the problem.

I watched both of the videos for your games and, if I can be completely honest with you here, neither of them look very fun. I don't have a VR thingy but if I did, I highly doubt I would download those games. In fact, after seeing you post above that you make "amazing things" and then seeing those videos, I'm kind of starting to wonder if this thread is even serious.

Troll, much?

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No, people who aren't interested in your games are not "trolls." You asked why you are not getting downloads. I am trying to help you figure out the answer. After watching the gameplay footage you provide on the pages, I am fairly confident that a large part of why you are not getting downloads is that the games don't look fun. One appears to be a cheap bejeweled knockoff, and the other you just shoot people coming through a door over and over. Congratulations on completing some games. That in itself is a great accomplishment and you should be proud of it. A few people might even think these games look fun? But my opinion is that not many will, and that's likely part of the reason you are not getting downloads. Other reasons are what I stated above which are that you are limiting your audience substantially by making VR games, and that marketing is really really hard. Soul-crushingly hard.


Its been a struggle to get downloads or page views even when publicizing the games. Game jams were a good start for page views and downloads, but that quickly dries up and its only a small amount to begin with.

By some amazing coincidence I posted a new game yesterday and after months of 1 - 5 page views a day it got almost 500 page views and 100 downloads. It seems like a luck thing. I'm on top of some popular games list here at itch.io when I can't imagine why I'm there considering I just dumped the game with only a tweet for bare minimum publicity.

The down side is the game .exe comes up as a virus. So people can't play it. Oh well. At least I got the 100 downloads.


its even worse on rpg maker games

check its catecory for prove


Yeah, RPG Maker games have a bad reputation they don't deserve.


true ture


Yeah, I just launched my first game today and started talking to people.  I think being an Indy game developer is 70% marketing and 30% making a great game.  my game is Fuel Run.    I´ve advertised at all the ´free´ places like major gaming forums, facebook groups, Twitter even the Unity forums.  Not ready to be discouraged yet, but the posts aren´t going to last long until they drop to obscurity, and the leap from getting a click, to getting a download to getting a donation is pretty steep.  Seems weird to work on a game for months, polish it well and then not even be able to get people to look at the page.

So Smokey and the Bandit in space? I love the concept. I'll give it a try :-)

haha.. you caught it..  Helado is ´ice´ in spanish, the truckers name in the movie was snowman.. and of course BT Justice.   Please let me know f you like the game.  So far I have only had 7 downloads and aside from friends who tested for me, I have had no strangers giving me their thoughts.  I am pretty sure the game is solid, the premise is good with the chase element, the difficulty system is pretty cool... but what is hard to know is if the game is just ´fun´ for people who don´t already like me LOL.  thanks again.

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I think that to make a winning game, apart from marketing that is definitely the decisive phase, it takes an interesting history and not just a simple idea; obviously there are exceptions fore some important ideas, such as the successfully ideas of Tetris, Bubble-Bobble, Arkanoid, and so on.

There must be an interesting protagonist, both as a representation and for its abilities, there must be relationships not only with objects / devices, but above all with other creatures / characters (eg enemies).
Design is the main thing, but the work to be done is very large, requiring more people: designers, charters, programmers, music experts, beta-testers, marketers ...
How can you think of getting this all by yourself?
Then, try and "trying is not harmful"; whether it is just to have personal satisfaction and not a gain, sooner or later we find the right way, which is consistent with one's own abilities and style.

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I'd love to download and try out your game but I can't play VR games, I don't have the device for it. :(
Don't get discouraged though. Just do more advertising. I just released a free game myself and yeah, the stats aren't that great but let's not lose hope. ^_^ Never stop self-promoting. Also, never stop interacting with fellow developers.


I very seldom buy "pay-what-you-want". I prefer when games are either free or has a fixed price tag. But okay, I forced myself to download Gemstone Shooter, yeah, without paying.

There's a lot to like here - the simple graphic has style, and I dig the flying eyeballs. Reminds me of Residents Freakshow. The finger guns are a great!

The big negative is that the game is won in a couple of seconds, thus newer allowing you to get into the flow. The GUI right in front of my eyes are distracting and it is hard to tell the gems apart with that monster in the background. It would also be nice with some background music.

It has a good foundation, and I think the casual match-3 gameplay could work well in VR. Please give it some more work!


It's odd that, only now, has Itch.Io gotten around to notifying me of these last responses to my post... 3 months later.... >:[ 

I'm not too sure what your issue with "Pay what you want" is. On Thingiverse, they mention donating to the artist after each download. It's a polite way to mention that, if you enjoy somebody's hard work, it couldn't hurt to give them a dollar. You'd give more to that to a waitress, and they are already paid to bring you your food. You're getting a hell of alot more out of downloaded game. It seems wholly unreasonable to think a game maker deserves less. Have people's opinion of game makers really slipped so far, have people become SO ENTITLED to games, that you'd fault a game maker for even suggesting the possibility of donating a dollar for all of their hard work?  Would predatory DLC make you feel better? Tell me you've never spent a dime on DLC. Hopefully, now, you can appreciate  how upsetting your opening paragraph was. 

As for the other constructive feedback, thanks!

The scoring system is an issue I couldn't resolve to my liking. I know it can be fixed, but for the life of me, I can't see why it doesn't work as intended. It would have been nice to work with somebody else on that one, somebody who could help iron out the bugs I couldn't make sense of. I think I do alot of brilliant things, but sometimes I just seem to have blinders on to obvious solutions. I'd love to work with somebody who's mind works on things from an entirely different angle... maybe somebody properly analytical, but who doesn't always excel at creative solutions. I need an Egon Spengler to my Raymond Stantz.

The Gems and the Monster, I don't think there's much that can be done there. The gems have both unique color and shape. The monster has to come up from behind the gems, snapping it's massive jaws, acting as both a distraction as well as very intense timer. In VR it feels all the more intense, massively looming and closing in. I can't see it coming in any different way. It has to come right at you, right behind the gems. 

Music would be interesting, but sort of outside of my wheel well of knowledge. I ad-libbed some silly background music in Alien TSA. Well amusing in that scenario, it would seem in poor taste in this setting. The best I could do was wind-noise. I could add some wind chimes in the background, maybe? If I could find music, it would have to be subtle, so as not to take away from the tension. A few piano keys, maybe. 


I'm curious, how did you receive the notifications late? Notifications appear in your account instantly (on the top of any page you'll see a notification indicator), and will be emailed you 4 hours later if you don't see them. Are you saying you got an email from us 3 months later? Or did you just miss the original email? Thanks


Sorry about my opening statement! What I had intended to say was that if there are other people like me who just don't like pay-what-you-want (reasonable or not) then this might reduce the number of downloads. I don't know if it is the case, but I felt obligated to mention it since the download count is the threads topic. But I realize it came out as just me being super stingy!


I just have a feeling that even if I manage to make the most awesome and complex game ever, almost no one is going to give it a try, so why even bother?


I think the motivation needs to come from creation, not attention. Make the games you want to play, so you at least have an audience of one to get you through the lean times.

The more games you make, the better they'll be, and the more likely someone will be to stumble upon them. You can speed up the process by entering game jams, or collaborating with other creators.

It's not inevitable that you'll get famous or be able to live off of your game designs. But it IS inevitable that you'll learn a lot that will be widely applicable in the process. (Game design is like a free liberal arts degree. It makes you more capable at lots of things, if not more qualified)


Thanks for the advice, I have only made 2 games, one big which I haven't yet released and one small which I have released.

I don't want to get famous or anything but I want to make more games so I can become more capable at programming and get hired by a game development company maybe. And if I can make some people have fun with my games in the process, the better.

The thing is, with millions of video games available these days and with no marketing budget, it's kinda hard to get attention to your games.


You really have to drive people to your download. It's a destination business, not so much an impulse based business model. VR games are going to dramatically decrease your audience regardless. You're already marketing to a small pool of folks who would potentially play your game. You've went and decreased that 50x fold requiring a VR headset. The adoption for those is mainly other developers, not so much average Joe gamer.


Personally I like having real life friends over and having them test it. It's always a good time! Always know you can do better and improve. The more games you make, the better you may become, the more fun people will have playing it! Just keep a positive attitude and keep trying. 


Oh man, if I could get some of my friends to play any of my games, it would be a HUGE boost. I have a buddy that's tested out most of my stuff... once. His feedback is always vague and trying to get him to test out changes is like herding cats. Beta testing is a job, and I don't have friends willing to work for me for free. Even if he likes the game, there's so much vying for his attention, he'll never get around to doing it again. Once he's curiosity is satisfied, that's it, game over. No matter what I do, he's done. 

Interestingly enough, I had an easier time developing and testing board games, as board games give you a captive crowd that aren't so easily distracted. My successful game Line Dice (on Amazon now) was thoroughly tested through over a dozen testing sessions with my gaming group. It's hard to do that kind of testing with video games.