A cartoon man face-down on his laptop.

Scratching An Itch

My experience with the itch platform in 2021.
02 Jan 2022
Share:

The indie tabletop RPG community has embraced the digital sales platform itch.io in a big way. I’ve had a storefront there for years, but I didn’t put much effort into it until 2021. My experience is definitely mixed, but I intend to go forward with the platform despite some serious hurdles.

Numbers

My gross revenue for 2021 on itch was $933.25 from 78 paying sales. Minus fees, net revenue was $801.77. Of those, 29 came from taking part in the Creator Day TTRPG Deep Cuts Bundle in May, for a net of $27.22.

From November 8 to December 31, I ran a discounted bundle of Crashing Beasts & Crumbling Halls and can•trip year one. This brought in 36 sales and a net of $661.78.

Pros

It is notably easy to set up a new product on itch, especially compared to the major TTRPG platform, DriveThruRPG/OneBookShelf. All you really need to do is enter a title, a short description, and upload one or more files. Your product can be live in a minute or two.

Analytics are also pretty good. You can track page views, sales, and downloads for each product or bundle with daily or weekly charts. You can download payment data as a CSV file for use in spreadsheets. And if you need deeper access to traffic data, you can apply Google Analytics tracking to any given product page.

Finally, with a little bit of work, I was able to use the itch Javascript API to integrate live price data into the product pages here on my own site. This lets those pages accurately reflect any sales I might run in the future.

Cons

The number one biggest problem I have with itch is how payouts work. Payments are not available for seven days after the time of sale. Once available, you have to manually request payment. Each request is then reviewed by an employee at itch before the funds are transferred. This takes time, of course. The payments I requested in 2021 took between 5 and 15 days to process. Compare this to DriveThruRPG, where I can have my money in less than a minute.

The other major issue is discoverability. The platform was designed for digital games, and its categories and tags are not set up to handle tabletop products at all. Searching on itch is a waste of time unless you know the exact title you are looking for. Of the 36 sales on my recent bundle, 27 came directly from Twitter, where I did my promotion.

Conclusion

I’m going to keep using itch. My revenue was more than twice what I earned from from DriveThruRPG last year. That was almost entirely from the bundle, so I’ll be looking for more promotions like that to do this year. I just wish itch was designed a little bit differently, with more features that work with tabletop games and a payouts system that doesn’t require you to click a button and pray.

Previous post: My Current Gaming
Next post: Direct Current
If you like what I do, you can support me for as little as $1/month.
Follow me for updates on new products, special offers, and more.