Tag: itch.io

iMprOVE_WRAP 2.0 released

My GameMaker extension iMprOVE_WRAP has been updated with a new release to 2.0.0.

iMproVE_WRAP is an extension for GameMaker: Studio that provides a number of new functions that improve upon the built-in GML function move_wrap().

iMproVE_WRAP is an extension for GameMaker: Studio that provides a number of new functions that improve upon the built-in GML function move_wrap(). It allows you to define the range in the room where the wrap takes place, and draw the instance on both edges of the wrap, as well as detect collisions on both edges of the wrap.

Version 2.0.0 adds two new functions:

  • draw_sprite_wrap()
  • draw_sprite_ext_wrap()

And makes improvements to the existing functions as follows:

  • boundary wrap drawing occurs at the corners of the wrap range (8 phantom drawings rather than 4) when do_wrap_h and do_wrap_v are both true.
  • the collision functions iw_collision_wrap() and iw_collision_wrap_map() incorporate do_wrap_h and do_wrap_v parameters, and only perform collision checks where they are needed. The functions still return all potential collision variables so that there is never an undefined value, even where collisions are not checked. (Unchecked collision locations return noone.)

You can get it at the YoYoGames Marketplace or Itch.io.

Full documentation.

The Math: doing business on itch.io vs. GameMaker Marketplace

Following up on my previous post comparing itch.io vs. the GameMaker:Marketplace, here’s some math that explains the difference in costs for selling an asset through each store.

YoYo Marketplace Itchi.io
base price  $1.99  $1.99
store’s cut  $0.60  $0.20
paypal’s cut  $0.36
net income  $1.39  $1.43
net income % of gross 70% 72%

As can be seen, the transaction fees are not included in itch.io’s cut, while they are included in YoYoGame’s cut.

For low-cost assets, this eats up much of the 20% difference between YYG’s 30% cut and itch.io’s 10%, resulting in just a 2% difference after the per-payment transaction fees are factored in on a $1.99 asset. A difference of 2% may not sound like much, but in business that’s actually huge.

The gap only widens with more expensive assets:

YoYo Marketplace Itchi.io
base price $19.99 $19.99
store’s cut  $6.00  $2.00
paypal’s cut  $0.88
net income  $13.99  $17.11
net income % of gross 70% 86%

For assets that are priced higher, the cost of transaction fees will be less of a factor, meaning the advantage of itch’s service model will only grow as the sale price increases.

In the end, it will come down to which marketplace is more effective at generating a volume of sales that makes publishing there worthwhile in the first place. With the current glitch affecting the performance of My Library, causing “large” purchase manifests to take several minutes to display in GM:S, it seems to punish GM:S users for purchasing a lot of assets, and this would seem to concede the edge to itch for now. I keep hoping that YYG will fix this bug, but I’ve been waiting over a year since I first reported it.

But clearly, there’s a need for transaction costs to go lower in order for low-cost items to be worth selling. I’ve been waiting for a viable micropayment system for going on two decades now, though, and nothing seems to be going on in that realm. (PayPal does offer a micropayments option to merchants, at $0.05 + 5% per transaction, but it does not appear that this is an option through either itch.io or the GameMaker Marketplace, and this fee schedule replaces ALL transactions paid to the account in question, not just microtransactions, so it’s not really an ideal solution.)

Of course, you can also adjust the cut that itch.io takes from you to as low as 0% if you want, but it seems fair to allow them to have something for the benefit they provide you, so they can keep operating. Bottom line, a 10% cut for the services that itch provides is a very good deal compared to what you can get elsewhere.

Itch.io also offers greater flexibility with payouts, allowing sellers to have access to their money immediately after every transaction if they wish, or to receive a periodic payout. YoYoGames holds seller’s income until it reaches a minimum amount of $100 before you can get paid, so essentially you get paid in $100 chunks, and YYG may end up holding up to $99.99 of your earnings indefinitely. Two years on, and I’m still waiting to collect my first payday from YYG — I’m a little over 3/4 of the way there now.

A great feature that itch.io offers but the GameMaker Marketplace currently doesn’t is bundle sales. Bundle sales can help by cutting many payment transactions for multiple assets down to one. I offered my four paid assets in a bundle at a 33% discount, and so far all of my sales through itch.io have come this way. Such an option would be a welcome improvement to the GameMaker: Marketplace.

GameMaker: Marketplace vs. itch.io: comparison

After two years of selling assets on the GameMaker: Marketplace, still in public beta after all this time, I am less than impressed with the experience.

Development of the marketplace website, as well as the integrated features in the GameMaker: Studio IDE, have not been forthcoming. Initially the news of the Marketplace excited me, and it seemed that the future of GameMaker was bright and full of promise. But two years later and almost nothing has changed with the way the Marketplace works — and it works poorly, I’m afraid.

Plagued by a terrible bug which causes the IDE’s My Library interface to become unbearably slow to load when a large number of assets are purchased from the marketplace, sales have ground to a halt. Worse, it seems that no one is interested in spending any money in the Marketplace.

In over two years of selling assets at the Marketplace, I have grossed just slightly over $100 in sales, lifetime, of which YYG take a 30% cut, leaving me well under the $100 minimum in order for them to release any proceeds to my account. I’m currently seeing “sales” of my free assets at a rate of 2-5/day, and maybe once a month or so I’ll see a sale of one of my paid assets.

I’m not advertising aggressively, and there are certainly marketplace sellers who are doing better than I am, with more impresive wares than I’ve produced, but I don’t think that quality doesn’t seem to be the problem; I have a number of free assets, and they’ve done comparatively well, with several hundred downloads to date each. The paid assets, on the other hand, have sold in the single or low double digits.

GameMaker has had a long history of being an inexpensive software intended for use primarily by students, and these users as well as hobbyists have howled over the price increases to the main product; even when GM8.x went from $25 to $40, there was much complaining. The lesson seems to be, “Don’t expect to ever make any money from such tightwads.”

Mind you, I don’t think I’m entitled to sales, but it is certainly frustrating to put effort into something for such meager reward, and it’s demoralizing to see how little effort YYG have put into improving the Markteplace experience since they went public with it.

Although YoYo Games have tried to transition into a more professional tool by adding numerous features over the past 6 years, it seems that lately development has stagnated. No one really knows when the long-awaited, so-called “GM:Next” (aka 2.0, currently in non-public beta) will be out. No one’s really talking about what’s going on behind the scenes, and with their roadmap no longer available, it’s been extremely frustrating to wait for months and months with only the occasional minor bugfix patches for 1.4 being released.

I finally decided to check out alternative marketplaces, and have been very favorably impressed with itch.io. Itch.io is easy to sign up for and use, and much more flexible than the YoYo Marketplace. The only downside being that you can’t integrate itch.io assets with My Library (although, with it’s current buggy and awful performance, it’s not much of a loss) but at least My Library notifies you when updates are available for assets you own.

Itch.io allows me to set prices to whatever I want, or whatever the buyer wants, create bundles of assets for sales, and schedule these sales to start and end at defined times. None of these features are to be found in the YoYo Marketplace. Itch.io seems to be more for finished games, but there are also assets for game developers, and other types of things for sale, such as digital books and music. Best of all, itch.io only takes 10% of your gross sales (and they allow you to change that figure if you wish). The diversity of the itch.io store means of course that only a fraction of shoppers there will have any interest in GameMaker extensions, which may prove to be a downside. As well, their store is populated by thousands of great games and other high quality goods, many of them offered for free, so while the barrier to entry is technically low, the expectations of the customers of this marketplace may be high.

Itch.io’s analytics also provide me with better information than YYG. With YoYoGames, they consider you, the publisher, to be a “third party” to sales through their store, and therefore they do not share your customer’s personally identifiable information with you, so you can’t contact your customers. Itch provides the email address, so you can engage your customers, for example notifying them when an update is released, or when a new product is available.

In all, they’re basically eating YoYoGames’ lunch in terms of e-commerce user experience, both as a publisher/seller and as a customer. YYG really need to get it together and catch up with the competition, and soon.