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What can we, as devs, do to help expand?

A topic by CaptainD created Oct 22, 2018 Views: 1,104 Replies: 45
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I think we'd all agree that we would love to see Itch get more popular - which would of course have knock-on bonuses for we devs.  It got me to wondering what we could do to help Itch get bigger... aside from the obvious ways, any ideas?

Obvious ones;

  • Release games on Itch
  • Promote our own games on social media etc
  • Promote others' games on Itch
  • Encourage devs to release their games on Itch

One idea I have been cogitating is to make certain games exclusive to Itch.  This is a tough one though as anyone making a free game will want as many people as possible to play it, and anyone trying to make a living selling games is hardly going to deliberately not release on sites covering 99% of the market (though obviously there may be other factors coming into play for that idea).

Anyway, basically I'm just throwing this out there to see what people can come up with.  I don't know if the day will ever come when it's viable to actually release a commercial game only on Itch and be able to earn a living from it, but wouldn't it be a glorious day if it did ever come?!


never supporting valve or the steam store, if enough people see other people do stuff it will bring people to itch since this site offers more than steam. another one is to remind everyone that itch has lower percentage and this can help them. One major thing itch has that no other company can do is having honest feedback from real players without any sort of "ranking" system dooming their sales.


Strengthening the ties between existing Itch devs, and making it more rewarding for people to be part of Itch would be good ideas but difficult to do. All game developers want critique and publicity but rarely have time/ motivation to help others with these, which is why the 'Get Feedback' forum is so unresponsive.

Perhaps making it easier to exchange reviews and feedback would be a good idea or promoting users who give back to the community like this. Personally, I enjoy critiquing other people's games, but there doesn't seem to be too much reward for doing this, especially when developing takes up so much of your spare time.

There was an attempt a few months ago to get a group to pick a game from the group every week and give feedback on it. This was moderately succesful (and I reviewed one or two), but the OP stopped and no-one took over- the threads also had to be shoehorned fairly awkwardly into the forums. It would be good if some kind of similar system could be incorporated into Itch.

Or maybe list the top reviewers every month (based on some combination of quantity, positive reactions to their reviews, and subjective assessment) and hope people's competitiveness helps improve the Itch community.

Nice ideas!

As someone who did a lot of reviews years ago (much more so than today), I feel there is definite merit in exploring the "Top Reviewer" idea.  It would be a good way to get players more involved in the community as well.   I have noticed that I've only ever seen 4 or 5 start ratings, I wonder if it's because people only rate the games they really like or don't want to be discouraging to other devs by giving them a bad rating.  More visible reviews / ratings is definitely something I'd like to see on Itch.

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im exclusive to itch

btw no other site would take me

About the exclusive idea from CaptainD - perhaps some developers want to do timed exclusives.

Small ideas:
- make your game on Steam more expensive (because of the 30% of the sale going to steam)
- offer services on you do not offer anywhere else (updates first on Support only on forums)
- know anyone working in a triple-A-studio? Let them try to bring in more customers (popularity).

A thought: steam, for example, is big. A downside of being big/very popular, is that it also brings negative things, like scammers, fake reviews and whatever you can think of you do not want in a community. (it takes time/money to combat this)


I believe your first two suggestions are incompatible with releasing a game on Steam


Yeah, like jagames says, you're not allowed to set your Steam base price higher than other platforms if you want to be on Steam and they expect you to properly support and update your game.


I don’t know what the numbers are, but is a million miles better than gamejolt in my opinion. It feels like such a nicer place. It’s cleaner and easier to navigate and more scope for customisation.

I’ve had great success on, not so much financially but then again there’s very little money to be made these days in indie games unless you pull FNAF out your bum! That said $700 over my lifetime here is not to be sniffed at. 

I’d like to see a bit of love given to the assets side of the site; I’m not sure how and it’s always going to have lower numbers but it tends to feel a little neglected, that might just be me though. 

I’d like there to be itch-vouchers so I could give $10 to a friend that could redeemed on any games they want to play or donate to. That would encourage at least knowledge of the platform. 

Do you think could set up a kickstarter type thing specifically for indie games? I know it’s a big ask but Kickstarter is saturated and indie devs just get lost; simelarly with patreon. It feels like if you didn’t join 5 years ago you missed the boat. I’d happily try my hardest to release stuff if there was a $1 subscription per sub. Again, this might not work given the numbers compared to patreon but I’m just thinking out loud. 

If the owners/founders of could tell us what would really help them out or what they are in need of I’d gladly do my best. It’s the best games platform online! 


Thanks for the feedback.

What you mentioned about assets is correct: it's currently neglected. Assets are our second biggest content type after games though, so it's something we want to build out some more. If you have any feature requests for assets I'd love to hear them.

Creating a crowdfunding site is complicated. There is a lot of liability involved, and you need to get special permission from payment providers. I think the existing crowdfunding sites do a good enough job right now, and I would rather have integrate with them instead of trying to compete.

As for what I can recommend our users to do to help out: I think a straight forward way to get more people involved (other than creating cool games), is to create content around game development and games. This could include writing tutorials on your devlogs, or creating interesting topics in our community. I think that in addition to being a platform for games, could also make a great resources for game developers, whether they're experience or not.

That’s a great idea. I often have stuff to share but don’t really know where to do it. I’ll get my writers hat on. 

@Dan Sanderson as well: I love the idea of itch vouchers, would make for great gifts for other indie friends and would be a good use to turn & burn the small amounts of money that my free games make.

I would also love to see a bit more love towards assets, as I get a large amount of assets from itch now. 2 quick things I can think of are bringing tags to a forefront when searching and categorizing the "New From Those You Follow" section on the homepage.

When I search, it would be nice to filter results by tag the same way I can in Browse (maybe you can already do this and I'm just missing it somehow?), and on the front page I appreciate seeing new games from people I follow as well, but I would like a section or a toggle to just see game assets instead of new games. That's a very developer-specific ask though.

Ah, I didn't realize how old the thread was until the discussion about it in the newest replies. Apologies!

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  • Offer itch keys for free when you buy the game/app on steam. Should be a no brainer, really. Don't ask or make it opt-in, just send the user the key.
  • Keep mentioning the possible 0% fees, DRM-free games, the fact that's open source, and that every service it's free when it comes up on a discussion anywhere (basically guerrilla marketing). Obviously also mention that Valve charges 30% and it's only a subscription, you never own the games.
  • Early Access? Say no to Steam, say yes to itch Refinery.

I think exclusivity is a terrible idea because it's not pro-consumer and Steam is pure pro-consumer. Best I can come up with, is that you can and you should release the game first on itch, then on other platforms after X time. But it's still a bad idea.


But the reality of it all is that itch will never surpass Steam (or any similar platform) if they don't offer the "synergy", security (for big players) and economy of Steam, because there are almost zero big players here. For Ubisoft to release a game here, they will need a system to implement their stupid DRM because that's what they do - just one example.

Then, there's steam cards and achievements, the former being a HUGE pull for countries with lesser economies. 

This could be overcome or circumvented if itch would to release their own economy system, for example, an itchcoin that could be farmed while playing/idling games on itch. It would be great if you could use such coins to purchase games here.... but then again if there aren't many big releases that will attract the mid-core crowd that itch needs.

And another thing that itch really needs to improve it's the landing page. As of 2018, it looks kind of amateurish, even with all the tools at our reach. The images on the right, allowing comments on the game's page... those are some things that really detract (from a producer/executive point of view) the big fish from being here.


This might be controversial but what I love about is that the big fish aren’t here. You can release a game and with a bit of luck you appear on the home page as most popular. That will never happen on Steam. 

I totally disagree about the homepage. I think it looks great and doesn’t subscribe to the notion that you need to have banners for the biggest AAA games pasted across the top of the page. The reason it might look amateur is the fact that it’s just a wallpaper of thumbnails generated by amateurs. 

We’ve got to be careful here about what we actually want to be. If we want it to be steam but with less revenue cut then that’s fair enough but in my opinion the charm of is that it is purely a place for indies to thrive. 

I tend to agree. The UX here is minimal to be inviting, deliberately less polished, and accessible as a place for teams with fewer resources to be on equal footing with (somewhat) larger properties.

I think the key is to figure out how itch can thrive off of small and mid-sized indie teams, who may have some kind of budget, but who mostly need to gain traction with new and daring projects.


Very true. What I'm hoping for is something very similar to what it is already, but with a bigger market share while avoiding the toxicity that can be found on Steam at times. I know, I'm not asking for much! :-) I certainly wouldn't want it to be mini-Steam. 


I think you referring to marketing, since steam alway gets free marketing and never gives it to smaller indies. if i win the mega million, i'll spread the news of then it will become more popular.

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The idea is that we get "side effects" from getting those big fish here. It's a matter of PR, since needs a mid-sized cultural shift and some change in the perception of the general public. Money talks in a lot of ways and the whole idea of is letting developers publish stuff AND earn money.

There's nothing wrong about having them here, is inclusive, not exclusive (like does, which is and AWFUL practice).

And finally, I was refering to individual profile for each game, not the front page. 

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(At this point others have brought up Refinery, but my two cents are...)

Itch Refinery is a nice feature because it capitalizes on the kind of community that the site already seems to attract. It resonates with the kind of audience that made Kickstarter successful-- a mixture of people who want to discover something special before others, and those that are sincerely interested in the development process. 
But, a lot of devs don't know about Refinery. I would suggest highlighting Refinery games on the itch homepage, both to foreground them to players and to remind Devs that it's a thing. 

I don't think this is a complete thought, as it feels like it needs additional considerations... but my sense is that most teams running a Refinery release want some visibility/access to players, so this feels like a natural feature to amplify. 


Another thought is to establish partnerships and shine a light on resources for indies. Universities and most non-US governments offer grants for game development these days. It may be a good move if Itch can become a portal for indies to learn about and access resources.


Think outside the box: bring in users from outside the itch/game dev community. Can something be done with Facebook? For example, an "app" or whatever they're called similar to what MindJolt (or other portals) does on Facebook. Take a number of HTML games that are already on itch (with developer permission of course), put them on a Facebook "itch" app, maybe add some ad-revenue to it, and have the games link back to the broader itch site in an attempt to grow the itch audience.

This seems a bit different than the other suggestions here, but I think we need to think about bringing in new users to itch, and not necessarily through exclusivity or telling people how much better the itch version is for the dev than the Steam version.


I quite like this idea.  I think thinking "outside the box" is necessary as it's no good for Itch to be seen only to be copying ideas from other sites, it needs to innovate - saying that it's already been innovating for quite some time of course! :-)

Also it's not just about growing a user base, it's about ensuring retention of those already using it, and I think it would be nice if we could build a real sense of community here (there may already be one, I have to admit that I haven't been interacting much with the Itch community at large until quite recently).


There's definitely two streams to consider: external promotion to bring in outside users, and internal systems to promote community. I like some of the newer comments about achievements. Competition may be a bit against itch's philosophy, but I could see achievements helping reward people who play a lot of games to stay, and you could even throw extra exposure to devs who help facilitate the community when they give reviews etc.


I think more sales and bundles will be a big thing. That's what brings people to Steam, and also makes them go off of it.

More frequent large sales and cheaper and more frequent bundles might help people make the jump.

Also cloud saves and other Steam-like features for the client will go a long way too.

We can't and Steam might be illegally do it:


Your project should not be constantly on sale

A sale is a special event when your game can be purchased for a reduced cost for a limited time. If your game is always on sale, then it’s not actually on sale. Update the price of the game accordingly. We want people browsing game sales to see things that are on sale.

In many countries it is illegal to misrepresent the cost of your product.

Avoid creating sales too frequently

Creating sales too frequently reduces the value of an individual sale. See the points from above.


I meant like more seasonal sales, like fall, summer and winter etc... But for more events and stuff.

Like how steam does weekend sales and other things. Basically, featured sales that devs can opt into.


I would like to see achievements to be added.  In addition, a seamless way to do the OAuth login from a game installed to the app launcher (something that does not require the usual Oath permissions grant step) to make it easy to key users to their account and to implement said achievements.

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Reading the other comments really gets the creative juices flowing. My idea definitely builds on the 'thinking outside of the box' ideas.

Maybe a loyalty scheme of some sort would help retention on the platform. I'm thinking similar to the Xbox achievements type set up when you can earn badges as a developer and a customer which allow everyone to earn rewards, be it monetary or something else. For example, rate 5 games, earn the Mates Rates badge and earn $X to spend in the store. Then these accounts can use these badges to display next to their names on the forum/discord/etc as like a badge of honor.

I'm sure the idea would need refining but I'm thinking something like this would be more beneficial for indie devs who all want to support each other.

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After reading some of the newer comments about achievements, it got me thinking about Stackoverflow's community system, where people have "reputation" points and how that helps build a community. Something similar to what you are saying about badges and a bit of free itch money or even extra exposure could be hugely useful. Nothing concrete, but I think there's something there. (Of course there's other similar systems like Reddit's Karma, but Stackoverflow came to mind because it's a fairly nice community. I do worry about ranking people,  feels a bit off)

I do like this idea but sadly every system like this is open to manipulation to some extent.  It would be difficult to verify the quality of someone's ratings / reviews.  The idea is most definitely something worth exploring though - especially the badges idea.

GameJolt have an XP type system where you "level up" when you have enough, earned by various actions.  Badges for specific things like "entered 5 game jams", "released 10 games", "rated 5 games" or something like that would be better to me.  I'm just not quite sure about earning actual $ to spend in store though - I guess a lot depends on where these $ come from.  Itch itself?  A fund donated to by devs perhaps (a donation to make their games eligible to buy in this fashion perhaps?).


It's all good feedback and I knew there would be flaws. Would be good to see if something like this could be implemented in some way shape or form. A report functionality would be needed for people absuing the system (and there will definitely be some!)

Maybe as a reward outside of montary value could be exposure opportunities for all people who have earned particular badges (like a reward based on loyalty). In October, all users who have the "entered 5 game jams" badge can recommend a game for the homepage. Probably needs to exclude their own titles to make it supportive to all community members

Not sure how we could make this all work, we would most likely need support from Itch to get something like this running.

i like the badge idea just like newgrounds but never a ranking system that locks people until something happens. Also no special gain power because of badge it just leads to trouble.

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  • Allow a way to easily access older Jams. I would love to stream and create content comparing year over year submissions to a jam but right now there is not a way to go back in time and look at old jams easily. Allowing content creators (twitch/YouTube) to create more content about events on itch will expose more people to itch
  • Allow twitch videos to be embedded in comments. YouTube videos seem to embed fine but linking to a specific time on a twitch video does not work (again more content created about itch = more people learning about itch)
  • Discord integration + form fields - allow me to connect my discord account/server to itch. Have a discord section in the jam form and game form. SO many games on itch are developed by devs/teams/studios that are maintaining a community on discord. tie these two things together better so traffic outside itch that joins the server can see a connection to the platform. Imagine if my channels could get updates that a change was made or available for them to play. Imagine if I could add other games devlogs into my discord server so games and developers I connect with can get more exposure automatically.
  • Integrate a jwt api + backend for developers to build leader boards into the platform ( using an itch project form as the middle hash store so [game session score encode] -> [itch game api listener decode] --communication-between-itch-game-api-server-and-datastore--> [itch leader board data store] more games with scores, scores on profiles, building the foundation of an achievement account back-end for players. non developer players/consumers need more value for their time/money spent on

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I think you also need to define expand, expand to more developers? or expand to more players. 

As a developer I think itch is great and has many features, as a player I think it's missing some opportunities to add value through leader boards, achievements, social integration and rewards. I think a lot of developers would take advantage of ways to add value to a players experience if the api/backend existed to do so. Look at valve's game library brag page, backgrounds, trading cards, emoji, avatars, achievements, cloud save etc etc. these are all ways to add value to the player and reward them for using the platform. If you want to expand to players give players rewards for interacting on the platform.

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Hi, I'm new but I guess I might as well share my thoughts on it as well, since there are obviously reasons why I registered here today.

1. I don't think you need to make games exclusive, BUT what motivated me to give a look was when a dev told me that he gets the most money if I buy the game from I feel devs should always point it out (e.g. on their websites) that this is their preferred platform. Or even point it out at all, because I've seen several websites that ONLY linked to Steam even if the game was also available on other stores.

2. For me Steam is usually not an option because I only play DRM-free. A dev mentioning "you can also get the game DRM-free here: ..." would definitely also be a reason to check out that platform for me and other DRM haters. Many other stores only sell Steam keys after all!

3. Generally, games on are REALLY hard to find. This also needs work from the staff, but what devs can always do is spreading their games more. If you never read about them, you don't know you want to play them! It doesn't even need to be paid ads. Just talking about your games in various forums already works (e.g. if I see a new game mentioned on one of the subreddits I frequently check, I usually tend to always check it out).

4. Make it easier to find your games for people who actually already visit to give it a try! Make proper use of tags for example that allow a more granular search. Right now when I visit, I feel like I'm seeing only games I'm not interested in and even trying to filter/search somehow still yields a lot of titles that don't really fit into what I'm looking for (while other titles I'm actually interested in are no longer visible because they aren't marked with any tags at all). Not finding the right games for you, really demotivates you from using this website.

(5.) Other than that I think there's needs to be done more by the staff:

a) A more visible rating system (there seems to be some sort of rating, but it seems like an arbitrary number as it doesn't seem to link to anything - how do you even rate and why are some of the most popular games outside so far down the list on here? also where are the reviews? also why do I only see a rating when I sort by it? I want to always see the rating)

b) Quick access to the "good stuff" (needs to be visible directly to new visitors, because the first games people see need to look good and the first games people try need to be good or they assume games here are not of the quality they seek; I'm not talking about AAA titles but titles that after you played them would be considered a hidden gem by a large audience - right now no matter how I sort, I feel that the top entries are very niche games that are super popular among only a very specific audience)

c) The ability to search for keywords and then still be able to sort/filter would really help...

d) Maybe give some insight on what the sorting even means - what makes a game popular? does top seller go by money earned, number of products bought, number of products downloaded (I find it rather strange because if it would be downloads, I'd assume all 50% of the free games coming first before any of the paid ones, but it seems to be quite mixed)?

e) I may be wrong on that but I feel that "in dev" games are completely mixed with finished products on here and there's no filter for only finished games. It would be cool to have some more hand-picked list akin to "these are latest fully finished games that we consider of extraordinary quality", similar to the feature games list that's already there (I guess the best way to go right now would be to set the tags you like then filter for featured games only and then sort by best rated - but that includes a lot of setting up and the featured filter is actually really well hidden)

f) Inverted tag search would also be nice ("all games except games that have tag X").

g) Allow games to marked as "Like" even if you haven't purchased them on, so it is considered for you personal recommendations list.

Well, I guess those are my thoughts on it.

Edit: I guess I have another suggestion but can't judge on that yet:

6) Stay in contact with your players! I know this from GoG - a lot where devs would release their games on there, but then not talk with their players at all and completely ignore their game's forums (and instead only reply and post on Steam). This is very discouraging and makes you want to use the website less.

Some good thoughts there! 

I particularly like your first point. That's something any dev can easily do straight away - but it's not always something we THINK of doing. 

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I would like to see achievements to be added.  In addition, a seamless way to do the OAuth login from a game installed to the app launcher (something that does not require the usual Oath permissions grant step) to make it easy to key users to their account and to implement said achievements.

[mod edit] removed spam link


WTF, this is just a copy and paste of my reply earlier.

Also, it is a great idea :-)

I think it was spam (I reported it, afterwards realized it was a copy and paste of yours)

Ha, clever way to do a spam bot though, don't think I've seen them verbatim copy other replies before.

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I know this post is old, but I somehow stumbled upon it and wanted to say a few things.

I'm a consumer, so I don't have a good idea of what it's like to be a developer, but what prompted myself to look into more often was all the talk about developer revenue and my general distaste towards Epic (don't worry, I won't turn this into an EGS rant). I think discussing the advantages of can leverage a lot of people, especially in the current video games climate.

Beyond that, just simply making great games and promoting them (as well as is all you really need to do. People are drawn to great games and they will generally go to any lengths to get them. I for one have been made aware of several great, interesting and weird titles just by mindlessly browsing the internet and watching content creators such as Vinesauce.

Lastly, I think would benefit from having some more ambitious and larger games existing on the platform. While I do love all the little experiments and game jams on here, a typical "consumer" generally wishes to find more "complete" experiences they can invest some time into. I have already started to see some more titles like this appear on the platform during 2019 and I think that's great!

Anyway, I hope this info at least helps someone else out there who stumbles on this post like I did.

Edit: Another thing that may help is encouraging consumers to follow you on Twitter. I noticed that after following one indie developer, Twitter started to reccommend tons of other indies and the games they are working on due to proximity.


Well necromancing an old forum thread isn't ALWAYS a bad thing (it mostly is, but in some cases it isn't).

When it comes to your distaste about Epic. Epic used to be Epic Megagames, and were back then a bunch of enthusiastic developers themselves, and yeah they were semi-indie. Games like Epic Pinball, Jill of the Jungle and Jazz Jackrabbit, show the passion they had back then. Now that Epic has become a true AAA company, I miss that spirit, and let's say, most AAA companies are going that way, only a few exceptions. 

I like products (could be anything) made with passion for the job. Like I said, could be anything. Like Disney's movie "Snow White" in which Walt Disney literally put his own house on the line to get the funding to create that movie, and the animators would only be paid if the movie was a success, but you never know beforehand if it will be, so the animators too took a risk, but in the end the result was worth it, although the movie may not be completely fit for modern standards, but hey, this is the time pre-WWII we're talking about. And so I also like games written with passion.  Some of them may look amateur, but they are really cool nevertheless... Sites like and Game Jolt do have such games. 

A downside is that thanks to tools making coding very very easy these days, there are also a lot of products out there that never get finished, or some people who mindlessly dump some assets together.  The coming of the internet is also responsible for this, though. Back in my day (NOW I sound like an old man), there was no internet, or at least, only very little people had it. You had to come up with something really great to appeal magazines, and that wasn't exactly easy. And indeed jams are fun, but I prefer to aim for game that require time to develop rather than a game that must be ready in less than a week. 

And yeah, I guess I should be using Twitter more myself. I never liked that medium, but it appears to have great effects if you manage to write that "perfect tweet".


There are two really good things about the Epic store and one thing that might be good or bad long term:

1.) It's a major platform (as in has AAA games) pushing a better revenue split for developers. I thank GameJolt and Itch for starting this, and I am glad to see Epic taking it seriously too

2.) The financial support for some developers to give them a certain amount of money to develop and launch their games exclusively on Epic (matching or exceeding the expected sales they would've got)

3.) Giving developers money to release their games for free

Point 1 is already something Itch does. The only thing that could improve is exactly what you're saying, a few serious, bigger games. Not necessarily AAA. But then again, stuff like Celeste is on here, so they already kind of do it in terms of the big Indie games. 

Point 2 I don't see as something that Itch could afford. Really only comes from Epic's success with Fortnite and investments. Maybe there's a crowdsourcing angle that could be exploited? Although I feel Patreon already handles this well enough

Point 3 is yet to be determined if it'll be good (could distort the market even more :S), and also ties into Point 2 in terms of me not sure if Itch could afford it.

But I am glad that we are seeing some improvements for the smaller devs out there, thanks to these platforms. I do think you're onto something with bigger game releases.


All I will add is that your comment regarding "market distortion" basically outlines the issue I have with Epic. I don't blame developers for taking deals (my beef is with Epic only), but I really think exclusives should be discouraged in every industry. Most of the biggest companies in the world used the same or similar strategies, so I really don't have high hopes Epic will make things "better" in the long run. I hope I am wrong about this though.

Anyway, I do want to avoid any further discussion since this topic can get very heated easily and I would be derailing this discussion.

Just to balance this out, I actually did stumble on this post by asking google if " accepted AAA games" in hindsight it was kind of a silly question to ask (IMO) since it would go against what *is*.

Bigger indie games I feel would give the platform the most leverage since I imagine has this stigma that it's just for "amatuers" or for "small experimental titles". Maybe if enough people shop at or even simply engage with the site, we could see game jams or events appear that give developers funding or resources to make/finish larger projects.


We can get it trending on twitter, maybe? If we all post about our games on itch with the a cool hashtag every Friday at like 12:00 sharp, we might be able to make something happen. What do you guys think?

twitter is known to be awful for many things, its own CEO got its account hacked, tweets being removed by twitter, gov leaders fighting each other, hashtags become meanness, posting something doesn't give views and people only viewing trending in their country not globe.