There are so many places to buy and sell games these days; however, many sites offer Triple-A games mixed with indie games making it hard to find a new indie game. What about indie games? Is there a specific place to buy them? If I’m a developer is there an easy place to sell them too? I was curious about this and looked into the best places to find, buy, and sell indie games.
The main place to get indie games is itch.io. Itch.io offers a platform for creators to upload and sell their games while providing players an easy platform to navigate to discover, buy, and create an indie game library. Other options to find indie games is the Steam Store filtering for indie games, Game Jolt, Global Game Jam website, and the Indie Gaming Subreddit.
Where Do You Discover New Indie Games?
There are 3 main places you can find and buy indie games: itch.io, Steam (using the indie game tag), and Game Jolt. Additionally, sites like Global Game Jam and Reddit’s Indie Gaming section is a great alternative to find new indie games and developers to follow.
5 places you can find new indie games:
Itch.io is one of the primary places to find and buy new indie games. It allows developers a place to upload games and put a price on them while giving players a place to find and buy indie games.
Steam allows users to find games using tags, among one of those tags is the “indie” tag. Furthermore, Steam is a great platform to purchase games because of their 14-day/two-hour refund policy if you do not enjoy the game. This is very handy as many indie games do not meet delivery standards because of the ease of distribution these days.
The ability to try a game and refund it if it is below your standards forces developers to start developing higher quality games and the user to buy games without fear of buying a game like Rock Simulator.
Global Game Jam is an event that occurs every year, usually around January and March. It’s an event where people from around the world can participate in and the objective is to create a game with 48 hours. There is a theme given that developers are encouraged to follow which can help shape their game! Everyone that developers a game uploads it to the site where anyone can download it to play or explore the source code!
Game Jolt is a community-driven site for gamers, let’s players, and developers all central around indie games. It’s a place that you can follow developers and get early access to new games along with rate and interact with other users on the site about indie games. The user interface allows you to create playlists of games if you are a player. While developers can post to a dev.log to attract people to their games, where they can ultimately sell it in the end!
The Indie Gaming subreddit is a community of developers and gamers alike that post updates of games they’ve been working on along with games they’ve played or are looking forward to. It’s a great place to post updates to games you are currently working on to show off new features, A.I. artwork, etc. Furthermore, it provides an excellent place to find new developers to follow, especially if you’re looking for certain genres or features within a game.
How Much Do Indie Games Cost?
On average buying, an indie game will cost $17.00 (USD). Indie games do go on sale often on itch.io and Steam for 25-50% with the best time to look for sales being around holidays. Many indie games can still be found for free, with the Global Game Jam site being the primary source of free games as they are uploaded there for free distribution.
The cost of indie games is slowly climbing each with many developers offering a lower price for early access. Early access is allowing gamers to play the game before it is released. The game is not in its finished form so bugs and glitches are expected and limited levels and features are common.
The benefits of buying an early access game are that you can help support the developer financially while being able to play the game before it is released. Once the game is released you will get the full version of the game without any additional costs.
The risk of buying an early access version of the game is that it may not ever get completed, it is always a risk if you are not familiar with the developer.
Where Does The Money Go?
Buying an indie game directly from the developer means 100% of the money goes to the creator minus the processing fee’s from the payment method provided. Steam takes 30% of the game price. Itch.io allows the developer to choose how much profit goes to the site. Game Jolt takes 10% of the price. And Global Game Jam does not sell games on the site so the creator does not make money here.
|Platform||Percentage of Sale Given to the Creator|
|Developers website||100% – processing fee’s (2.6% if using PayPal).|
|Itch.io||100% or determined by the creator|
Where Can You Sell Your Indie Games?
The best place to sell your indie games is on Steam, Itch.io, Game Jolt, and your website. Steam is the most popular game distributor platform and having your game on Steam could get you many downloads – if it is found. Itch.io is the primary platform for indie game distribution, while Game Jolt is less known as the version of itch.io. Finally, using your website could be used to market your game.
Steam is one of the largest, most known game distribution platforms for PC gaming. Before Steam Direct, Steam used a community-driven method to bring new games onto its platform – Steam Greenlight.
With Steam Greenlight, indie developers would submit their game to it, and then users would vote on the game they would like to be published to the marketplace.
Steam Direct requires your game goes through a quick review process that takes 1-5 days. The process consists of running your game, looking at your store page, and ensures that everything is running correctly without loading harmful software on the computer.
Itch.io offers a simple process to upload and sell your game by giving you a store page to fill out. Filling out the store page sets up a store for your game that will display the title of the game, description, screenshots, genre, download, price, payment, and many other descriptive fields.
The benefit of uploading your game on this platform is that it targets the indie game market. Users that go to this site are looking for new indie games to play, while developers that upload t this site are indie developers.
Game Jolt offers a platform for indie creators to sell their products on. Games, art packs, levels, and soundtracks can all be sold on this platform. Once a user profile is created game jams and community options are open for you to explore, along with the ability to upload and explore games on the site.
I found the interface to be overwhelming at first; however, it gives you a lot of control over customizing your game page, also including google analytic options to track views.
Creating your own website to distribute content is a great way to show off your product. Customizing a landing page exactly how you want to show off your product can be beneficial for advertisements and link to from your social media forum community, or your resume.
The downside to using a website is that it will get very little traffic organically unless your game is successful in the media. So, unless your game is a big success or you use other strategies to promote or bring traffic to your site, your site will be a landing page that does not generate enough sales to sustain yourself.
That’s not to say do not build a site, but know that generating sales on your site may not be the best option, initially. But, having a site dedicated to your projects to build a portfolio is beneficial!
There are many places to find indie games with the four main being Steam, itch.io, Game Jolt, Indie Game Subreddit, and Global Game Jam. The first three sites offer a game library associated with your account so that you do not have to keep track of executables on your computer. While all of them offer both creators and players a place to get indie game content and offering a community that you can become part of.