Itch.io (stylized in all lowercase) is a website for users to host, sell and download indie video games, indie role-playing games, game assets, comics, zines and music. Launched in March 2013 by Leaf Corcoran, the service hosts over 700,000 products as of April 2023[update].
Type of site
|Video games, tabletop role-playing games, comics, ebooks, game assets|
|Registration||Optional (required to upload content, comment, and join game jams)|
|Launched||March 3, 2013|
Due to the amount of freedom developers have on Itch.io, it is regarded as a good way for new video game developers and tabletop role-playing game developers to practice creating games, publicizing them, and start making money from them. Itch.io allows users to host game jams, events where participants have limited time to create a game. Itch.io also allows multiple users to sell their products together in "bundles," which encourages collaboration and mutual support among developers.
On March 3, 2013, Leaf Corcoran posted a blog entry to the site leafo.net detailing what the future website would be about, with a pay-what-you-want model. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Corcoran said the original idea was not a store but instead a place to "create a customized game homepage". An early inspiration was Bandcamp, a self-publishing site for musicians, and the name itch.io originates from a spare domain that Corcoran had purchased a couple of years prior.
In May 2015, Itch.io paid developers a total of US$51,489. As of June 2015, the service hosted over 15,000 games and programs. In December 2015, the service announced the release of an open-source desktop application for installing games and other content, as well as keeping existing games and content updated automatically. It was released with simultaneous support for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.
By February 2017, Itch.io had five million downloads.
Game developers can sell bundles of games together. Bundles are usually organized around a shared topic, genre or community. In addition to bundles for shared profit among game developers, Itch.io also hosts charity bundles to raise money for various causes.
For-profit bundles edit
Itch.io lets users split up bundle profits between accounts any way they want, either evenly or by percentages of total sales.
In 2021 and 2022, Itch.io ran a Queer Games Bundle during Pride Month to raise money cooperatively for LGBTQ game developers and zine makers. The 2022 version contained more than 500 items and raised US$216,000 for 431 creators even though it had a "pay what you want" option.
Charity bundles edit
In support of the George Floyd protests, Itch.io organized the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality in June 2020. It initially launched with over 700 games, but increased to over 1,500 as additional developers offered to contribute. In 11 days, the bundle raised US$8.1M for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund.
In June 2021, Itch.io launched a bundle for Palestinian aid, from which all proceeds would go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to assist civilians in the Gaza Strip following the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis. It included 1,272 items and raised over US$899,778.
In February 2022, Itch.io launched the "TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas" bundle in response to Texas governor Greg Abbott's legislative attacks on transgender youth. Most of the games were tabletop role-playing games, many on queer or trans themes. It contained 493 items and raised over US$400,000. The bundle's profits went to Organización Latina de Trans en Texas and Transgender Education Network of Texas.
In March 2022, Itch.io, partnering with Necrosoft Games along with hundreds of other developers, launched the Bundle for Ukraine; money from this bundle would be donated to the International Medical Corps and Voices of Children to provide assistance to civilians in Ukraine who have been impacted by the Russian invasion. The bundle included 991 works and raised over US$400,000 in 24 hours.
In July 2022, in response to the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe v. Wade, Itch.io's Indie Bundle for Abortion Funds raised over US$380,000 for the Collective Power Fund, which distributed the money to abortion access funds in over 20 states in the US. The bundle primarily consisted of tabletop role-playing games and featured 1122 items from 855 creators.
A sequel bundle to "TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas" called "TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida" launched in March 2023 in response to several anti-trans and anti-gay bills in Florida. The bundle reached its initial goal of USD$50,000 in the first day. The profits went to local Florida organizations Zebra Youth and Transinclusive Group.
Developers can charge money for games and assets released onto the platform. By default, the site takes a 10% cut from each sale, but developers can set the cut to any amount, a model termed "Open Revenue Sharing" by itch.io. Developers can set the minimum price for items (which may be free), and customers can pay above that amount to further support developers.
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- "Pricing". itch.io. Retrieved December 28, 2022.