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Better support for small DLCs

A topic by Innersloth created Oct 08, 2018 Views: 794 Replies: 13
Viewing posts 1 to 4

Okay, so last month I tried a little bit to get a response for this on GitHub and Twitter, but maybe I should have tried here first.

Anything along these lines seems to get pushed to the side and forgotten or ignored entirely. But I'd like to apply a bit more pressure on this. 

Related purchases, nested purchases, microtransactions, etc. are pretty easy to create and sell on other platforms, and are extremely helpful in monetizing free games that wouldn't get players as a premium game.

But the only advice I can find for Itch is to create a new game for each DLC, which then has no real support afterwards. It's imaginable that creators could look up the purchases via API afterwards, but ultimately one would have to deal with the extra pages separately.

Ideally, we should be able to create an item/download with an individual price and product id on the same page as a game. How the download works or whether we go through the API to pick up receipts should be up to the creators.

XPosts:  

You thinking too much of how google and steam uses it. They have a system that controls how it works. As many indie developers we do not have the resource to build it like that. If you want to build a microtransaction in your game, you should try adding it on a server like mmo did back in the day.

I don't think you understand? The "server like mmo did back in the day" is the system we indie developers don't have the resources to build. Itch.io already has most of the parts of this system, but the game pages can't be organized appropriately to sell. 

If DLC didn't look like a pile of "games" on our creators page, I could probably create a library to ask itch's API about receipts and things would be fine.

I won't  say it's an easy change for them (because I don't know), but there's not too much missing. This seems actively neglected and I at least wanna know why.

DLC and microtransactions requires servers to be kept, itch.io as far as i know is using pay per bandwidth system. many who come to itch.io are doing it because they hate DLC and/or microtransactions, it will be a feature that most will not use. They money spent on hosting DLC/microtransaction can be used for buying the game normally as it should have been.

if a game needs microtransaction/DLC to be kept alive then that is not how you build games, AC;O is doing this and everyone is mad. the game will die out like every other series. Itch.io is not ubisoft it does not have lots of  money to keep everyone's microtransaction for years and years. a good game and a good business doesn't rely on tricking customers.

I understand your predisposition against DLC/Microtransaction. They can be predatory and limit games, however there are reasonable business models based around entirely optional content that people actually want to purchase. 

In an age where people won't play a game because it costs 1 or 2 dollars, or it isn't on 75% sale, there are certain small games that are wholly unmonetizable without optional paid content **after** your player enjoys your free game. Are you sure those games shouldn't be made? Should they only be made by hobbists without any hope for compensation?

I haven't played AC:O, but I expect that people are mostly mad that a game that used to be premium, buy-once is now both buy once and microtransactions. Undoubtedly those transactions also affect the gameplay itself, so it's like you're continuously paying to play. I agree that games shouldn't be monetized so aggressively, but don't you think it's a bit unfair to compare AAA games to indie games? And moreover to remove an entire source of income for everyone based on "the big boys are being bad"? Why not just lobby for people to not play AC:O? If you think the series will collapse, then maybe you don't need to lobby for anything and people are smart enough to not play with that kind of monetization anyway.

Finally, consider this: A microtransaction is mostly data already part of the game. My game already contains all of the hat sprites I want to sell. I simply can't sell them well on itch. Itch hosts thousands of games that may or may not be like this. Additionally, itch maintains the receipts for every game purchased on itch, which amount to perhaps a few hundred bytes per purchase. If itch can't host the additional bytes for a game's microtransaction receipts (which itch deservedly will take a cut of) then what makes you think they will be able to continue hosting my (and thousands of others') free game (tens of megabytes each) which they get no money from?

AAA companies are using everything to make people buy their game. Including the free games you would see in mobile, let me tell you what they are doing on free games:

- Lock powerful or cute characters and or weapons

- Pay-to-win method

- EXP is very low

- gambling

- subscription

- DLC

and more this is just the common you see, there are much worse examples.

Many indie developers who do not know the methods or tricks will often do it wrong or worst then AAA companies. A few free games i played did microtransactions horribility:

- they make you see ads or the ads are just scams that do nothing.

- they never test anything or balance the game.

- awful connections

- running away or bad support

- the game gets abandoned.

I can not trust any developer with microtransaction, i and many of us are inexperienced to bring microtransaction. Not even plugins can help because something will go wrong every time. Dong microtransaction means maintaining the game it is what a mmo should be but isn't. So again if a company or game relies too much on microtransaction then it shouldn't do it. If no one understands how to do microtransactions fairplay for everyone then that game should not be using it.

i don't know itch.io plans but it has been staying alive this long so i'm guessing they have a good plan going for them.

(2 edits)

Closing off an entire technology because you don't like it is kind of a ridiculous demand. I'm not particularly for pay-to-win or extra grinding, but there's nothing inherently wrong with paid content, subscriptions, or DLC. When creators create something, they deserve compensation. If they are willing to accept gratitude and having players, that's their choice, but if they want money, then they should be enabled to make money in a way that works for their game.

  • If I make a game that's free and totally playable, then perhaps you *should* have to pay for the optional cute and/or powerful things.
  • If I make a game that requires constant server access, then perhaps you *should* have to pay for the right to use the server.
  • If I make a game that gives you hours of enjoyable play, then perhaps you *should* have to pay for additional hours of gameplay.

Even pay-to-win is a defensible position in non-multiplayer scenarios since it *can* (I'll admit it often doesn't...)  enable players to play the way they want and at their own pace.

There are bad games, there are bad creators. But every other creator and their games shouldn't be held back because you've had a bad experience.

At the end of the day, we can both go around and around with our beliefs but neither of us will be the decider and it seems like neither of us appreciates the others' views.

Valve has everything you want and guess what happen to Steam, it became a place where scammers get money. There is also laws about loot box that first time indie developers don't even understand and Steam themselves had to change because of laws.

Itch.io can not go to the same route like Steam with it's many mistakes including parts where the government gets angry. It is just better to never add those features in the first place. You still can do the same thing with servers but not with itch.io help.

Cool. Thanks for your voicing concerns. Maybe someone from itch will read it.

I kinda had the impression that it's been an intentional decision not to add this, because very few developers use microtransactions/lootboxes properly, and even standard DLCs can be really cash-grabby, not-adding-a-lot-of-value-y, so the overall quality of games posted to Itchio will be higher if people can't monetize their games using them... usually the logic between using micro-monetization models is to have a ton of really small trickles of income, and it pairs really well with a "upload tons of similar, small games using the same system" model.

Also, apart from making DLCs as separate games, there's already a system where you can have files that are only available if the customer pays more than the minimum required price for your game. This would let you have a "complete edition" with added DLCs as a separate download. Won't really work if you want to have multiple separate DLCs (e.g. "buy every character separately") but it could work if you plan to make an "expansion pack" later that contains a bunch of random extra content.

Yeah, my goal with this thread is basically to get enough attention that someone from itch makes any comment  since they don't seem willing to talk about it.

It seems weird to me that there are already scummy ways of doing microtransactions on itch (creating DLCs as separate games, looking them up via API), but it's not a problem. But if itch just made the view a bit cleaner, that would summon the scumlords?

I just want some hats in my game without having to deal with tens of "games" on my creator page and dashboard. You shouldn't want every hat, and getting every hat would be an unfair price, but a couple hats for a couple bucks should be fair for an otherwise free game where the hats don't matter. This is purely a way of getting support from fans who don't want to use Steam. But I'll probably just direct players elsewhere and that just kinda sucks.

Admin(+1)

We've started to add support for DLC in the form of "Sub products," which are purchasable products within a certain project page. We're currently testing it out with https://xtonomous.itch.io/bot-land

If you're interested in using something like this please reply to me here. I don't know when general availability will be, but I'd like to have more specific developers to have test cases with.

Sweet! I'm still interested!

Does this work include the API changes necessary to validate a purchase? IIRC, the problem was that Itch Launcher manifests can only get profile:me permissions (but profile:games is needed) and the launcher can only have one permission, but a game would need the profile id from profile:me and the games list from profile:games.

I would be interested in learning more about the "Sub products" and in-app purchases enabled in Bot Land.

I am new to the platform, but I would like to publish my game here on Itch.io soon.