And on the publishing side, they allow anyone to publish on the site, for free, no hoops to jump through. And if it's a paid app, they charge much less than Steam / iTunes / etc. Too bad they're not as popular with players.
But I'm idly curious why Itch popped up now, since it's been around for years.
I put a lot of work into that project (giving extra presentations to students who had additional questions, uploading unofficial slide decks with extra information about the protocol etc.)
It's one of my favorite memories of EPFL! We had a ton of fun organizing it, and it was exciting to have students work on something closer to the real-world than usual. We did hear from the network admins once everybody's implementation started working, though... they weren't exactly thrilled!
They could undercut steam by 20% for each sale.
I think the problem may be that I have absolutely no idea where to start. With Steam I started with games that came with Steam that I wanted anyway (Portal, Left 4 Dead). With Humble I started with Overgrowth and their original bundles. GOG was a great place to get games that I had already played or wanted to play and now is a good place to get DLC free stuff.
So with Itch I think what is missing is a 'killer app'. Not a 'killer feature' (it has plenty of those), but more a draw that will give me enough drive and interest to overcome the initial cognitive energy barrier to entry.
I expect this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19012083
And yet when I think of an indie game I want to buy, it's not there. Just today I saw an excellent review  for a game called Hollow Knight. I couldn't find it on itch, ended up buying it on Steam instead. FWIW, the game is also available on gog.com, the Humble store and all consoles, so it's not like the devs haven't taken the effort to make their game accessible.
 - https://github.com/itchio
 - https://www.fortressofdoors.com/so-you-want-to-compete-with-...
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksexEs7FKf4
There are a few new options for game marketplaces such as itch.io, the discord store, and the epic games store. All of them take a lower cut than steam. However, so far none of the steam alternatives have a large number of popular games.
Coincidentally the video I linked reviewed Celeste in addition to Hollow Knight, but Girlfriend liked the latter much more. That's why I went with Hollow Knight.
For those who don't know, gog.com is basically the same as itch.io, although I'm pretty sure GOG has a strict policy against DRM, whereas Itch seems to just say "we don't implement any DRM ourselves". GOG also has a much wider selection currently. That said, Itch is doing a lot right, as you say, and I'll support the service by buying any games I want that are available there.
They're also an excellent example of how tough this space is. Even though they're owned by CD Project Red you can still buy games like the Witcher on Steam.
Here is a quote from discussions on slashdot at the time:
> Plus, they must suck at advertising. This is the first I heard of them.
Also, as people pointed out at the time - with GOG at least you don't need their servers to be online to reinstall from your backups.
Not exactly, they charge 10% or allow you to setup your own merchant gateways.
That 10% is well worth it for having them deal with the tax/VAT madness.
Personally I have set 30%, because they deserve it.
People who are making games as a serious side-gig or full-time job (ie. the typical definition of Indie) are all on Steam, and the best Indies are on console and Epic Games Store.
People want curation and less junk on Steam. Itch.io is exclusively... uncurated junk.
I think Itch.io would thrive if Steam increased their listing fee (Steam Direct) to $2,000 and required $100 annually if the game generated below $2,000 of gross revenue. This would be great for Indie games and consumers on Steam, but would give Itch.io an opening on the low end, so its probably why Valve isn't doing it. Ironically they are pushing their own top customers (and suppliers) to Epic with this strategy though!
I think Itch.io would be better with some kind of very cheap subscription, or being supported by advertising or sponsorship (integrated into game distributables). It could be like the Newgrounds of the next generation. It should be the place where you can try out low-end games for very little costs, secure in the knowledge that the executable has at least been verified for malware.
While I agree that I would personally prefer a more curated view, itch.io is intentionally pursuing an open marketplace and that means developers of all skills and kinds and all types of projects are represented.
It turns out people who like making roguelikes in a 7 day sprint don't tend to prioritize little things like making sure their work can actually be played.
I can highly recommend the challenge. It's a great community, it's got an organized judging phase, and roguelikes are one of the easiest genres to get into, especially for programmers. You can do all systems and no graphics if you want.
Also, I think you meant to link to this episode (the one you linked came out the year before itch launched) http://www.roguelikeradio.com/2018/05/episode-145-7drls-2018...
I was on this one and we talked about itch quite a bit. My submission last year also ranked #1 and I bet HN might find it interesting as it's got a hacking theme: https://itch.io/jam/7drl-challenge-2018/rate/232187
On the other hand, I don't use either of them as a customer. Bandcamp because I prefer the way Spotify helps me discover music based on my listening history, and Itch because it feels like a bit too much visually when I'm browsing games there as opposed to Steam/GoG.
I don't know what could be done to change that stigma, maybe a "killer app" as someone else in the comments said, because as has been pointed out, everything else about the platform seems favorable.
Full disclosure: I publish on itch. Https://failrate.itch.io
To be completely fair, I will regress the bug and see if it is still present. If so, I will submit a bug report.
I run a semi-competitor called https://simmer.io. My focus is:
-WebGL Games (only, no downloads)
-Youtube style presentation (and embedding)
-Being the easiest place to upload a game, no rigamarole. Drag your webgl build onto the page and call it a day.
We have about 2500 games and developers signed up. It's currently mostly a place to show off your work, but working on more monetization options right now.
Feel free to reach out if you have any feedback or ideas for the site. firstname.lastname@example.org