A good game discovery system gives someone looking for games a wide range of methods to slice up games to find something interesting. In the past itch.io only let you browse games by platform, genre and price. itch.io always let developers assign tags but never gave the game players an easy way to find them.
You can now browse tags from the new Top tags page, ~170 selected tags:
You also might notice new related tags sections on a few other parts of the site to help you find interesting tags.
I decided to spend some time looking through what tags developers were giving their games and noticed they were way too disjoint! There were a lot of instances where people would use variations of the same tag, like zombie and zombies. I decided to curate a master list of tags while still keeping the free-form input for the things I couldn’t think of. I also merged tag synonyms wherever appropriate.
The new tag pages contain a formatted title, sometimes a description, and the games. Additionally I’ve made it easy to move to adjacent tags with a related tags list. (Try out games tagged Atmospheric)
Because I want to be the tag pages to be nice pages to find out more a group of games, I’ve made it so regular users can suggest updates to the description of the tag pages.
For developers the new tag picker has an autocompleter to suggest some of the predefined tags to make sure your game gets the right visibility in the right tags.
If you’ve got any ideas for more featured tags I’d love to hear them.
Over the past month I’ve been experimenting with building a game recommendation system for itch.io. It’s really awesome how there’s so much interesting and diverse content on itch.io. A disadvantage is that there are probably plenty of games you’d love to play that you don’t even know exist! A good recommendation system is only as good as the data fed into it. Leveraging itch.io’s game organization was key to building the system.
The recommendation algorithm I decided to implement is called collaborative filtering. It works by comparing your tastes in games to other users’ tastes. For example, if you like a game that another person bought and rated 5 stars, then there’s a good chance that you’ll like some of the other stuff they are into.
There are two new ways to browse recommendations on itch.io: recommendations for your account, and recommendations for a specific game.
Check the dropdown menu in the header for a link to the new My recommendations page:
Or click here. You’ll be taken to a page listing games recommended to you based on the other games you’ve shown interest in. It combines data from the games you’ve played, downloaded, purchased and rated to suggest some games you haven’t played yet. If you haven’t done any of those things then the page might be empty! The easiest way to fill it up is to go rate some games you like! After you’ve checked out a game you should definitely rate it, that will make sure it won’t show up in your recommendations, and it will give you new recommended games!
If you just want to browse other games related to a specific game then you can find a new “Related games” link on the top right of the game page:
Not all games have recommendations yet, so this link might be unavailable for some games. To give you an example, here are some recommendations for Roguelight: http://itch.io/games-like/10349/roguelight
The algorithm is far from perfect, and it will definitely be receiving many updates over the coming weeks, but it’s definitely got some interesting results already. If you have any suggestions for improvements I’d love to hear them.
My name is Leaf. I’ve created itch.io over the past year and a half. itch.io is the culmination of well over a thousand hours of work: tens of thousands of lines of code, hundreds of support tickets + emails, and plenty of opensource projects. You could say that I’ve put my very existence into creating itch.io. I’ve received a tremendous amount of support with the thousands of games uploaded and all the wonderful feedback I’ve received. I will continue to provide this service as long as I can.
It would pain me to see the platform I’ve created being used to distribute any sort of content that promotes intolerance or hate against others. The hours invested into itch.io by all those who participate should not boil down into a delivery mechanism for someone’s inappropriate behavior.
Traditionally the acceptable use policy of itch.io has been vague about what is not acceptable. A few months ago I released a “Report game” button so I could start collecting feedback on game pages but I never explicitly defined a procedure for handling inappropriate content.
Starting today the acceptable use policy is updated:
The acceptable use policy exists to help create a safe environment for users of the site. The posting of content that degrades the experience of others may result in account termination. Here is a list of explicitly prohibited actions:
- Uploading viruses or malicious code
- Spamming or sending repeated messages
- Posting unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory content
- Bullying, intimidating, harassing, defaming, or threatening others
- Posting content that promotes or participates in racial intolerance, sexism, hate crimes, hate speech, or intolerance to any group of individuals
- Soliciting personal information or login details of others
- Violating copyright by posting content without permission to distribute
- Hacking, maliciously manipulating, or misrepresenting itch.io’s interface in any way using the built in tools for page customization
Should there ever be a need to invoke the possibility of removing content, the consideration will be made very carefully. Where not obvious, cases of misconduct will be handled individually and the policy document may be updated to reflect the decision.
The indie game community needs a safe place, and hopefully you agree that this is a step in the right direction. I’m always open to discussion about matters like this. You can get in touch with me from the contact form on itch.io.
You can read the entire terms of service here: http://itch.io/about/terms
For those of you that have bought a handful of games and linked them to your account, using the purchases list on the My collections page to view your games isn’t ideal as it’s pretty cramped. You’re in luck because there’s now a new purchases page that lets you scroll through all of your purchases utilizing in full screen:
Additionally, if you have any gifts that you haven’t given out yet you can also find a link to form to send the gift here.
You can find the new purchases page by clicking on it from the dropdown in the header, by clicking on it in the My collections page, or by clicking here: http://itch.io/my-purchases
The game analytics pages have been updated to give you better insight about where purchases are coming from.
If you’re familiar with itch.io then you might know there are a few different ways to buy a game, the embeddable widget, the pay popup API, and the game pages. In the past, if you were using more than one of these, you had no idea where someone was making a purchase. There’s now a new column on the purchases overview with the Buy location of the purchase. The current options are “Game page”, “Embed widget”, “Popup API”.
Now that you know which part of the site someone is using to buy your game you might be interested in how they got there. Well you’re in luck because there’s a second new column on the purchases list, the Referrer.
Purchases on itch.io originate from either the internal pages (like browse games, search, home page, or user profiles), or external pages like game blogs, Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook. The new referrers column will tell you about both. External links are marked as external link and are linked to the page that initiated the purchase. Internal links are shown as the name of the page, and any addition parameters about that page. For example, if someone bought your game while browsing action games for OS X then you’ll see all that information.
All developers on itch.io now have the ability to host their own game bundles on itch.io! Bundles are a great way to encourage people to buy multiple of your games at once by giving them a discounted price. On itch.io a bundle is a special kind of game sale where you set a “buy all” price to obtain every item in the sale at once.
Check out some bundles that have already been created: http://itch.io/bundles
Before you create a bundle you’ll need at least two games that are purchasable. Once you’ve got the games created head over to the new sale page (or you can edit an existing one).
At the bottom of the edit sale page, after you select the eligble games, there’s now a input for specifying the “buy all” price:
A suggested price is included to help you pick a price below the sum of all the games in the bundle.
At the top of your newly created bundle you’ll find a “Buy all for…” button to let someone purchase all of the games at once. Like any purchase on itch.io no accounts are required and the entire process is seamless!
Clicking the button let’s the buyer get an overview of what they are getting:
After completing the purchase, the buyer will be taken to their unique bundle download URL where they can download each of the games individually.
Additionally, like any other itch.io purchase, if the buyer has an account with a linked email address then the games will show up in their My collections page!
itch.io launched its press system about 3 months ago. The press system is a method for letting content creators with a focus on indie games get access to paid games that opt in for free. There has been an overwhelming response so far.
If you’re a game developer looking to be part of the press system then you can head to the user settings page to opt-in right now! If you create content about games then read on.
Applying to the press system was ad-hoc, if anyone wanted to be reviewed for access they would submit a support request to itch.io. Because press accounts are not handed out lightly, a proper review of each person is a requirement. Sadly it became difficult to manage all the applications.
Starting today there is now a formal process for applying to the press system.
You can find the new press account application here: http://itch.io/press/application
The new system streamlines the process, with fields for the most common questions that need to be answered. It also helps to clarify who exactly is eligible for a press account.
If you applied to the press system in the past and did not hear back I’d like to apologize for not having the opportunity to talk to everyone yet. Although your information is still stored, I highly recommend re-submitting through the new application form. It will help organize all the applicants and provide the additional data required to see if someone is eligible for a press account.
itch.io is pretty cool because it lets you either host downloadable games (optionally with a price) or embed a web game directly in the page. In the past if you wanted to combine the two into a single page it wasn’t trivial.
Starting today you can now have downloadable files alongside your embedded game! All the same great features for downloadable game files are now available for web games. You can upload multiple files, supply an optional minimum price, provide individual prices for files, and even upload demo files. (And you can still use the donation button that’s been there all along)
In order to accommodate this new functionality the edit game page has changed a little bit. The file uploader now lets you specify which file should be embedded into the browser: (existing pages will have the correct file chosen by default)
Any additional files you upload will be available for purchase or download. They will show up beneath your game’s description in the same format as download-only games: