Game Jolt: http://gamejolt.com/
I don’t usually cover news on Indie Overlook, but this is a very important piece of information to be aware of for anyone interested in indie games. Game Jolt, one of the primary sites hosting freeware games, will be launching their marketplace program later today for commercial games. Here are a few tips and things to be aware of:
- It won’t be identical to itch.io
Both Game Jolt and itch.io cater to the indie market and, starting today, both will have freeware and commercial products available, but don’t expect the games on offer to be the same. There will still likely be plenty of crossover, but Game Jolt grabbed a huge chunk of the Game Maker community before itch.io took off, in large part because Game Jolt was already making a name for itself around the time that the YoYo Games ‘sandbox’ closed its doors to future game uploads. There are already many freeware games which only appear on one site or the other, so the same will likely hold true for commercial products.
- The structure will be similar to itch.io
The games might not all be the same, but the general structure between the two marketplaces will share some significant similarities. Like itch.io, Game Jolt will allow for games with flat prices and ones with pay-what-you-want pricing structures. Game Jolt will also be partially relying on the community to help with reporting stolen games and games containing stolen or otherwise banned content. However, Game Jolt has somewhat stricter quality control and regulations compared to itch.io in addition to more active and open moderation; you probably won’t be seeing fangames listed for $10.00 on Game Jolt (and if such a thing does happen you can expect it to quickly vanish).
- The first day won’t be too messy
Greenlight’s launch on Steam was a nightmarish deluge of spam, joke games, and things which looked like they were shoved together over the course of an hour by someone who had never touched a game making program before in their life. Indie markets have learned a lot since then and Game Jolt intends to make this first day count. In his official announcement of the Game Jolt Marketplace, David DeCarmine noted “At first, I’ll make the system available to a first round of developers so that I can be sure everything’s as ironed out as possible; this will help ready Marketplace for its public release sooner rather than later”. In other words, when the program launches the games which it has available are likely going to consist of a relatively small selection of games from developers whom have earned Game Jolt’s trust. This will give the community time to adjust to this new system and will give Game Jolt time to iron out bugs and look over some valuable feedback. As to when the Game Jolt Marketplace will open itself up to other developers is still somewhat unclear, though it won’t be long either way. It could be that developers will be able to start the process of uploading commercial games the moment this marketplace launches, but it could also be a matter of a few hours or a few days.
- Give feedback when things do get messy
This launch may be designed to be relatively controlled, but there is bound to be some chaos the moment the doors open to more developers and a few words and clicks can go a long way towards helping out. Reporting games which violate regulations or laws will go a long way towards getting them taken off of the marketplace as quickly as possible. Game Jolt is also a site which has actively tried to build up an actual community, so the comments section for a game is your strongest tool. If a commercial game doesn’t have a trailer or otherwise doesn’t provide enough information for you to get a good idea of just what it is, noting this in the comments section could very well spark a response from the game’s developer. Likewise, if you have questions about a game, such as its average length, or have suggestions for it the best place to post such things will likely be in the comments as you are likely to receive a public response from the developer or another member of the community. Reviews and pricing suggestions will also work well in the comments area as they provide feedback and valuable information for both developers and players alike. Just remember to be polite even if what you have to say is harsh; a developer is more likely to seriously consider making changing based on constructive criticism than on mindless shouting and the rest of the community will put more value on your words too.