When it comes to distributing your game to the world, selecting the right platform and distribution method can be a daunting task for indie game developers. In this article, we will explore various options available for publishing your game, providing nuanced insights and detailed information to help you make informed decisions along the way.
As a project manager in video games I have had the opportunity to work closely with many game developers. While I might not possess the technical knowledge of game development, I sincerely hope that sharing my understanding and experience in the realm of game distribution will alleviate some of your concerns. This will allow you to focus on areas of game development that bring you the most joy and satisfaction.
Please note that this article aims to be informative rather than exhaustive, and you may find it useful to explore additional resources for a more comprehensive understanding of game distribution.
Here are 10 key platforms to consider for publishing your game
Steam, with its vast community of over 100 million users, is the leading PC distribution service for indie game developers. In order to publish your game on Steam, you need to join their Steamworks Distribution program, which requires a one-time submission fee of $100 per product. However, this fee is recoupable once your game generates $1000 in revenue. To get started, read through the Steamworks Documentation, which provides detailed information on the submission process.
Itch.io is a popular platform among indie game developers. It offers complete control over your product page, pricing, and revenue split, allowing you to showcase your game as you envision it. Publishing your game on Itch.io is free, and you can even set different revenue splits, ranging from 10% to 30% with Itch.io. Additionally, Itch.io allows buyers to pay what they want and offers a minimum price option for your game. To publish on Itch.io, create an account and set up a custom landing page for your game.
With a focus on indie game developers, Game Jolt provides an easy and free platform to publish your game. Simply create an account, add your game, set a price, and you’re ready to go! Game Jolt allows you to choose your revenue split, as long as you give no more than 10% to the platform. Furthermore, you can earn 30% of ad revenues generated from your game page. If you use the funds in your Game Jolt Wallet to support other games, you won’t incur any processing fees. Explore the Game Jolt marketplace to see the opportunities available.
Gog.com, known for its DRM-free games and films, offers an established platform for digital distribution. Although getting accepted by Gog can be challenging due to their selective process, successful games benefit from extensive promotion and marketing. There is no submission fee, and the revenue split is initially 70/30. However, if you choose to receive an advance on your royalties, Gog shifts the revenue split to 60/40. Submit your game to Gog for consideration and enjoy the broad exposure the platform provides.
Humble Bundle, boasting over 12 million customers, is a reputable platform to release your game. It offers different publishing options tailored to indie developers. When submitting your game for review, Humble Bundle will let you know if your game has been accepted or rejected. The revenue split is generous at 75/15, with the remaining 10% going to charities supported by Humble Bundle. Publishing your game through Humble Bundle also grants it exposure through the Humble Store. However, Humble Bundle also offers other options, such as the Humble Gamepage and Humble Widget, each with unique revenue splits and benefits.
Kongregate, a solid publishing platform, boasts an extensive library of over 100,000 web games, attracting 15 million active players and enabling 100 million game downloads. Indie developers interested in publishing PC and mobile games can find favorable conditions on this platform. Ratings play a significant role on Kongregate, with the highest-rated games receiving cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1750 each month. Revenue splits are determined by ad exclusivity, ranging from 25% to 50%, while in-app purchases yield 70% of the gross revenues. Maximizing your chances of acceptance requires adhering to Kongregate’s submission checklist.
GamersGate, one of the leading digital distribution platforms, offers over 6,000 games for PC and Mac. Although GamersGate’s catalog does not include web-based games, it provides the opportunity for indie developers to showcase and sell their installable games. To submit your game to GamersGate, email them with the necessary information, as outlined in their FAQs. There is no submission fee, and the revenue split is 70/30, ensuring developers receive a significant portion of the game’s earnings.
For developers creating mobile games, the Google Play App Store is a prominent platform to consider. To publish your game on Google Play, you need to open a publisher account, which requires a one-time fee of $25. Once your account is set up, you can begin the submission process. Google Play’s revenue split is 70/30, and once your game is published, you cannot change it from free to paid. Familiarize yourself with Google Play’s Developer Launch Checklist to ensure your game aligns with their guidelines.
Publishing your mobile game on Apple’s App Store grants access to iOS and macOS users. To distribute your game through Apple’s platforms, you must enroll in the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 per year. This membership gives you the ability to submit apps to both iOS and macOS platforms. Upon submission, your game will undergo review by Apple before being made available to users. Revenue splits begin at 70/30 and may shift to 85/15 after the first year if you choose a subscription-based model for your game.
Developers creating Android-based mobile games may find the Amazon Appstore to be a valuable platform for distribution. Submitting your game to the Amazon Appstore is free, but you must create an Amazon Developer Account first. Before publication, Amazon provides an app testing service to ensure your game meets their requirements. The revenue split on the Amazon Appstore is 70/30, and their Live App Testing tool proves useful during alpha and beta testing stages.
As an indie game developer, selecting the right platform and distribution strategy plays a crucial role in the success of your game. The 10 platforms outlined in this guide offer excellent opportunities for reaching larger audiences and generating revenue for your creative endeavors. Whether you choose Steam, Itch.io, Game Jolt, Gog, Humble Bundle, Kongregate, GamersGate, GameHouse, Google Play, Apple Store, or the Amazon Appstore, each platform has its unique advantages and revenue models.
Remember to thoroughly research each platform, carefully evaluate the terms and conditions, and consider which platform aligns best with your goals and target audience. Wishing you success as you embark on your journey of game distribution!