Sales Figures (itch.io)

CrowStorm

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So, I've already decided that the game I'm working on now needs to be commercial because I need income yesterday.

And I've already decided that I'm going to start selling on itch.io and only itch.io (unless this topic takes a very expected turn and changes my mind) because I love their polices/politics.

While the game is hundreds of hours of work from being done, I should probably start managing my expectations now, so I was wondering if anyone who's been selling RM games/JRPGs on itch.io for a while would be willing to share some sales figures with the community.
 

Indinera

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because I love their polices/politics.
You'll probably not love their sales figures.
You're unlikely to sell much with them. Although the entry is not free, Steam is likely to sell 100x more.
And if your game is a classic (fantasy) RPG, my website will also most likely (and easily) outsell itch.io
 

CrowStorm

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100x is quite the difference. To what degree are you using hyperbole?

As for your own site, that is quite a claim, my good sir! May I ask publicly what cut your site takes?

As for my game: it is a Dark Fantasy RPG with Lovecraftian overtones and elements of Low Fantasy, set in an approximately 16th-17th century fantasy setting, and atypically grounded in the realities of the Medieval Balkans and the Spanish Inquisition. It explores and is highly critical of organized religion generally, specifically an unusually direct analogue of Christianity. Also, lesbians. I don't mean it is highly critical of lesbians, just that it features them lol, although that's probably not obvious until an hour or more in. Like I said it's at an early stage and this is very preliminary market research.

Also: 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th opinions etc. sorely wanted. Indie might be right, but I certainly want him to be wrong. The other reason I am going with Itch first is that I want Itch to continue to grow and succeed: I have no stake in the success of Steam, and besides, it's already succeeded.

Also Also: did you say the entry to Steam was not free? I had already put them in the "maybe later" column on the basis of the cut they take, but depending on how much it costs to get on there, they might have to go in the "maybe never" column unless I can find an investor that believes in my product enough to cover that cost.
 

Indinera

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100x is quite the difference. To what degree are you using hyperbole?
I think there's no hyperbole here, it's literal, in most cases.
For 500 sales on Steam, expect 5 on itch.io maybe.

As for your own site, that is quite a claim, my good sir! May I ask publicly what cut your site takes?
Contact me by email once you've got a game ready.
I want to stress not all games work on my website. But the "typical" RM game does generally pretty well.

As for my game: it is a Dark Fantasy RPG with Lovecraftian overtones and elements of Low Fantasy, set in an approximately 16th-17th century fantasy setting, and atypically grounded in the realities of the Medieval Balkans and the Spanish Inquisition. It explores and is highly critical of organized religion generally, specifically an unusually direct analogue of Christianity. Also, lesbians. I don't mean it is highly critical of lesbians, just that it features them lol, although that's probably not obvious until an hour or more in. Like I said it's at an early stage and this is very preliminary market research.
I wouldn't say this is the typical RM game, so my website shouldn't be a priority for you. But the comparison Steam/itch still holds.

Also Also: did you say the entry to Steam was not free? I had already put them in the "maybe later" column on the basis of the cut they take, but depending on how much it costs to get on there, they might have to go in the "maybe never" column unless I can find an investor that believes in my product enough to cover that cost.
The entry costs $100, but apparently you get your money back once your game hits $1000 in revenues.
 

Parallax Panda

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I wanted to point out that there seems to be a conflict between your morals and business goals.

You want to support itch.io because of their good practices, that's fine. But you also say you need money, and needed them yesterday. Well, first things first. Don't expect to have money flowing in like a river the second you finish. You have to set up a store page, do paperwork and stuff before you can officially "launch" the game.
Therefore it's highly unlikely you'll make any substantial money from this short term. Even if you do manage to earn a lot eventually, it'll most likely slowly trickle in over the years so if you're in dire need of money I'd suggest solving that through other means. Because indie game making is more of a marathon than a sprint, unless you're really lucky.

Also, while I've not sold any games myself (yet) I have gotten data from others who have, and while it won't hurt to put your game on itch.io it'll most likely not earn you much. What you'll get will most likely be "chump change". If you want money, STEAM should be your number one priority. Whether you like it or not, that is where you'll have the best earning potential.

Like Indinera said, STEAM will cost you ~100$ that you can earn back after you reach a certain threshold. It's like a deposit, but keep in mind that you might not reach that threshold. Or it may take you a long time to do so. The market is pretty tough right now and while I know nothing of your game, I know there's more than a few RM games that struggles a lot to reach that 1000$ revenue point.

Oh, and if you didn't know, STEAM's cut is ~30% last time I checked. For most platforms 30-50% seems to be what is taken. Any more than 50% I'd personally never agree to (I made the darn game after all). But these platforms also has expenses and need to make their money somehow, so it's not like it's all ågreed. Sure, a big platform like STEAM could probably take less than 30% and survive, but for smaller more niched platforms like RMW (the DLC shop here) or Aldorlea Games (Indinera's site), I wouldn't be so sure they could.

And in the end it's not about what percent they take, it's about how much extra you'll earn. If you didn't agree to STEAM's 30% and tried to sell on your own (or only on itch.io) then you'd earn much less then if you agreed. I'm certain of it. Because 70% of money you otherwise wouldn't have gotten is still better than 100% of no extra money.

Of course, you'll have to draw a line somewhere. Like I said, I wouldn't agree to give away the majority of a games income to any platform. That's the line I've drawn. It's all about effort and reward. How much are you willing to work for how little? You'll have to do the math and negotiate yourself with each platform (and publisher, if you get one).
 

CrowStorm

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I wanted to point out that there seems to be a conflict between your morals and business goals.

You want to support itch.io because of their good practices, that's fine. But you also say you need money, and needed them yesterday. Well, first things first.
You are presumably a capitalist; I am a radical anti-corporate anti-capitalist socio-anarchist. I very much doubt our views on what's "first thing" agree. (Warning: I am not getting into tedious arguments with anyone who understands neither socialism nor capitalism over why trying to survive in a capitalist system is not at odds with being a socialist.)

Don't expect to have money flowing in like a river the second you finish.
Even if you do manage to earn a lot eventually, it'll most likely slowly trickle in over the years so if you're in dire need of money I'd suggest solving that through other means.
I'm not an idiot. In the end this is just one of many side hustles. The goal is the same in every case--advance incrementally towards being a professional creative--but I've got fingers in many pies re: advacning that objective.

You have to set up a store page, do paperwork and stuff before you can officially "launch" the game.
Um, no actually. I have half a dozen games already up on itch.io under different 'nyms. There's basically nothing in the way of paperwork. It's actually faster than making a gamepage on RMN. They just went up though, at least the non-free ones. I've had free and PWYW ones on there for a while, just not made the effort to advertise them yet.

Therefore it's highly unlikely you'll make any substantial money from this short term. Because indie game making is more of a marathon than a sprint, unless you're really lucky.
I've been doing this since 2002. I've been thinking about monetization without acting on it since 2010.

Also, while I've not sold any games myself (yet) I have gotten data from others who have, and while it won't hurt to put your game on itch.io it'll most likely not earn you much. What you'll get will most likely be "chump change". If you want money, STEAM should be your number one priority. Whether you like it or not, that is where you'll have the best earning potential.
Anything to back this up? If so PM ME this thread is not about Steam.

Like Indinera said, STEAM will cost you ~100$ that you can earn back after you reach a certain threshold. It's like a deposit, but keep in mind that you might not reach that threshold. Or it may take you a long time to do so. The market is pretty tough right now and while I know nothing of your game, I know there's more than a few RM games that struggles a lot to reach that 1000$ revenue point.

Oh, and if you didn't know, STEAM's cut is ~30% last time I checked. For most platforms 30-50% seems to be what is taken. Any more than 50% I'd personally never agree to (I made the darn game after all). But these platforms also has expenses and need to make their money somehow, so it's not like it's all ågreed. Sure, a big platform like STEAM could probably take less than 30% and survive, but for smaller more niched platforms like RMW (the DLC shop here) or Aldorlea Games (Indinera's site), I wouldn't be so sure they could.
If you didn't know, Itch.io takes 10% by default but you can pay them whatever you want, up to 100% or down to 0%. Way back in 2015 they were paying out fifty grand to developers per month. That's the only number I find but looking at the degree they seem to have grown substantially since then, and I doubt there were that many developers on their way back then, so that ain't nothing.

And in the end it's not about what percent they take, it's about how much extra you'll earn.
Duh. Again, I'm not an idiot.

If you didn't agree to STEAM's 30% and tried to sell on your own (or only on itch.io) then you'd earn much less then if you agreed. I'm certain of it. Because 70% of money you otherwise wouldn't have gotten is still better than 100% of no extra money.
fudge this whole line of thinking. At least until I see a sheep-ton of data backing it up. Also, you are literally pressuring me to accept terms that are unfair on the basis of those terms being issued by a company so huge it' a near-monopoly, in a thread where I am asking ONLY about a COMPETITOR. Not cool. Steam doesn't need paid shill with evangelists this zealous.

Needless to say, personally, I think you're both underestimating Itch. I'd rather shop from there than Steam too, and I'm sure I'm not the only consumer that feels that way. A lot of people that enjoy indie games actively want indie devs to have more money.

Indie did not provide any kind of evidence to back up his 100:1 ratio claim, unless his games are for sale on Itch and it was his personal sales data: if so, maybe Itch isn't the platform for his product. The main thing is: I'm waiting for people actually selling on Itch to chip in with some actual numbers. Again: my question wasn't how are sales on itch compared to steam. My question was: how are sales on itch?

Oh, and I would think that "typical" RPG Maker games are the last thing consumers on Steam and Itch are looking for. My game doesn't look exactly identical to 90% of the crap made in RPG Maker and I should think that's probably to its advantage. Sturgeon's law applies like at least doubly to RPG Maker games and their samey-ness is almost always listed as why like Rodney Dangerfield they don't get no respect and aren't taken seriously by the broader indie dev community. The snobbery toward RPG Maker from outside certainly maps weirdly well onto racism lol.

Edit: oh, obviously I'm looking for RPG-maker specific data, not overall market share.
 
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Indinera

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Indie did not provide any kind of evidence to back up his 100:1 ratio claim, unless his games are for sale on Itch and it was his personal sales data: if so, maybe Itch isn't the platform for his product.
I've never bothered putting my games on itch.io
But I've got many developer buddies who have and have seen a ratio of 100:1, sometimes even more.
Itch isn't the platform for many products in reality...

The main thing is: I'm waiting for people actually selling on Itch to chip in with some actual numbers. Again: my question wasn't how are sales on itch compared to steam. My question was: how are sales on itch?
For the majority of people: nothing to very low.

Oh, and I would think that "typical" RPG Maker games are the last thing consumers on Steam and Itch are looking for.
Definitely not the "last". They are plenty of games that sell less than the typical RM game, especially when it's done right. And this time, it's my personal figures not someone else's that tell you that.
 

slimmmeiske2

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There's a thread in this forum talking about Steam vs Itch.io. From this post onwards you have three developers who are on both comparing them.

I haven't sold a game, so I can't talk about that, but as a consumer of (RM) games:
I personally have never bought a game from Itch.io (compare that to the whopping 800+ games I own on Steam). I have played free games on Itch.io though.
 

Indinera

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@slimmmeiske2
Interestingly the dev of a very "un-classical" RM game (Fluffex) reports a 1000:1 (not 100:1) ratio:
"For steam, it's a completely different stories, I will say that it's 1000x more than what itch.io provides"

So just like I said, itch really isn't the website for most types of games, a claim backed by a lot of inside info I get from other devs. It's just not good at selling copies, whatever the nature of the game.
 
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Parallax Panda

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@CrowStorm
Yeah... wow. I get that you didn't find my post very useful, but how about you try to not be an *** about it? I only tried to give you advice based on the data I've collected from various (RPG Maker) devs. You said, and I quote; "I've already decided that the game I'm working on now needs to be commercial because I need income yesterday", so I assumed you wanted advice on how to SELL your game?

Just to be clear, I've not talked to a single person who've done well economically on itch.io. Not one.

Also, you totally hacked my post into bits, and incorrectly so. You read way too much into my "First things first", which was nothing but a transitional phrase to a cautious warning that money don't come easy as an indie dev. I put that in there because your first statement made it sound like you were itching to make some cash, like "yesterday". It gave off a very... capitalistic vibe.

And while we're on that, I don't care about your political leanings. Please don't put any labels on me though. I don't consider myself a capitalist nor socialist, if you need to know. All I care about is doing what I like to (make games), which I can only afford to do if it earns me (some) money. Because I'm poor, and if a hobby that takes most of my time doesn't help me pay the bills, I can't afford to do it. Simple as that. Rich people, or capitalists as you might call them, can afford to not think about the economics of their hobbies. Poor people can't.

As for paperwork, I was talking about other platforms than itch.io obviously. I know how easy it is to put something on itch.io but it's not that easy on most other platforms. I'm pretty sure that if you, for example, wanted to put your games on Aldorlea Games, Indinera would have you sign a contract at the very least. And from what I've heard there's a whole lot of stuff you'd have to do to put your games on STEAM as well. But hey, I guess if you're only interested in itch.io then that doesn't matter to you.

I get that you like to put labels on others. But implying I'm an "evangelist STEAM zealot", is what's not cool. But whatever.

Oh, and since you know about Sturgeon's Law, maybe you should read up on the Dunning-Kruger Effect as well. You made this topic so you could manage your expectations? Okay, so here's my final advice for you. Everyone think their game is special but until you put it to market you don't know that. The player/customers decide, and it's far from unlikely what you're working on is "just another crap game".

Good luck with your game.
 

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I feel he wants to hear itch.io is a capable website to sell a game. But it just isn't.
 

bgillisp

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In my time here, I've heard of ONE, yes, one success story on itch.io. All the others I've heard of were on Aldorlea or Steam. So even in ratio of success stories it is about 10:1.
 

Indinera

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I've heard of ONE, yes, one success story on itch.io
I don't know the details (and what kind of revenue qualifies as "success") but they would probably still enjoy more success on Steam (ie very very unlikely not to). The general idea is that itch.io cannot outperform Steam. A "success" on itch.io would be a much bigger success on Steam.
I'd be curious if there exists a game that has been released on both and made more (or even not too much less) on itch. Probably doesn't exist.
 
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jkweath

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I suppose I could almost personally vouch for the 100:1 ratio, as I've made about $160 on Itch compared to just over $11K from steam. I say "almost" because there's a bunch of other factors affecting those sales, such as the dates I published my games on Itch and the number of discount sales, but in general Itch sales, in my small experience, have vastly paled in comparison to Steam or the Google Play Store.
 
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Archeia

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Itch.io is a very viable platform. It just depends on what type of game space you are treading in it. I know a lot of success stories from it that I can't share because...reasons... But it depends on how you approach your audience.

However, I'd argue Gamejolt drives more traffic if you're looking non steam alternatives. I've been getting follows almost everyday even if they're a trickle. Itch.io however, offers more incentives to developers. It does need some time in the oven to be a lot more successful, but I think it's more untapped market more than anything.
 

jkweath

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It does seem like games that have a very unique premise/stand out (I keep thinking of the game Silver Grapple for some reason) and from devs who do a lot of devlog updates get a lot more traction on Itch than the traditional RPG games you'd find from people like myself. I suppose the same idea applies to GameJolt - which, on the topic of GameJolt, I personally need to look into.

I guess I haven't tried it yet because I still remember the topic on this board from some time ago from a guy who advocated against GameJolt because he wasn't getting much traffic from it, or something like that.
 

Indinera

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It doesn't really contradict, though, that all these efforts (like devlogs) could/would probably pay off the same or better on Steam or even with a personal website and a bit of advertising.
The idea is that itch.io gives you very little visibility and has a paying customer base that is far smaller than that of Steam.
I guess it's good if you want a place to upload your games for free though. But I'd like to see some "successes" on itch.io to get a clearer idea of it.
 

Shaz

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I have half a dozen games already up on itch.io under different 'nyms. There's basically nothing in the way of paperwork. It's actually faster than making a gamepage on RMN. They just went up though, at least the non-free ones. I've had free and PWYW ones on there for a while, just not made the effort to advertise them yet.
You're probably in a better position to test the waters there, then, than to listen to what others are saying and doing. How have your free games gone? How are the non-free ones going? Why don't you make an effort to advertise them? If that's the only thing needing to be done, get in and do it, and see how it goes. I probably don't need to tell you that lots of people will play your game if it's free, but not so many are willing to shell out money for them, so you shouldn't expect your commercial games to sell as well on there (or anywhere) as your free games are.
 

JosephSeraph

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I'm not an idiot.
There's basically nothing in the way of paperwork.
I have to say, this sequence made me chuckle. There's obviously nothing in the way of paperwork when you're releasing freeware. Since you already stated very vigorously, and twice, that you're not an idiot, I won't waste time explaining why earning an income from your games will mean otherwise. But this unpleasantness in interacting with the community certainly doesn't paint you in a very good light; I understand not having a good day but, oop.

That being said, as for itch vs steam and my 5 cents:

I echo Archeia, itch is a platform that does have a pretty large reach, and they're smaller so you get more time and space to shine; they're more approachable as well. But you do need to make a project that's worth featuring, which is something you're made a point to show you're very confident about. But yeah, I'm not exactly sure to which extent going solo in itch would be better than on steam and itch?
Itch will certainly make community building and promoting even more important, to boot. You need to have something of note, a community to back you up, and buzz generates buzz. A nice kickstarter, or even some nice articles on a game with an unique premise that gets people buzzed, will heighten the chances of being featured on itch (moreso than on Steam I imagine, as Steam is so heavily algorithmic and non-curated) so yeah.

I don't think your average 2-month RTP game exactly fits the criteria for success on Steam (although I'm pretty sure that's not what you're making), but there's definitely a market for that as well (and I enjoy these games a lot, to be honest, they can be pretty fun).

As for sales figures. I just started investing into my Itch page last month, and I got zero sales on my asset packs (and they're very content rich) whereas selling through Degica (Steam + Degi store) has given me a continuous trickle since 2017. That's all I can say really, I figure Itch will get better for me as I build an audience, but thanks to the amazingly non-existent BR-US tax treaty I'm forced to give 30% of my itch income to the US government which makes me very happy

Woop. Have a nice day
 

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