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Here's a sad one, some low-life's have been using the game store itch.io to sell cheap copies of other people's games for cheap.

This has caused a stir recently, as the sales aggregator 'IsThereAnyDeal' picked up on Rimworld being 75% off, but Rimworld is not actually for sale on itch. Turns out, a similar problem cropped up only a week ago as well.

More people are noticing these issues too, the creator of Mount Your Friends and Baby Maker Extreme tweeted out this picture as an example of the problem:
image
For those that don't know: Rimworld, Factorio, Stardew Valley, Undertale and so on are not actually sold by the original developer on itch.

It turns out the people doing this were using an older feature for payments on itch. The old way enabled developers to get paid directly, by linking a paypal account instead of the payments going through itch first. That older way has now been disabled "indefinitely" for new accounts―good!

I'm a big fan of the store and their open approach to a lot of things, but it will obviously increase the amount of people who try to do things like this. As they grow, it's only going to be a bigger problem.

I've personally caught a few myself on itch, since I regularly browse their store for interesting smaller titles to cover. When I report them, they're usually dealt with in less than an hour which is pretty reasonable. I report them and fire off a quick tweet and next time I check they're gone.

I'm a big fan of itch.io and this doesn't change my mind about them. They're doing good work, but teething issues will happen, as they will for any growing business. The key point to take away is that they're not shying away from the issues, they are responding when it comes up and promptly removing the people doing it.

Even with the itch crew responding promptly, they're going to need to make more steps to tackle it. This is the type of thing that could end up killing their business. They can't lock it down too much, otherwise their whole business model goes out the window, but they have to do a bit more otherwise more developers might become wary about being on a store with a piracy problem.

Tricky times, but hopefully they will find more ways to combat it. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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14 comments
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Ketil 12 Jul, 2017
I think approving developers individually before they can sell anything would be a good idea. In the case of factorio it is easily verifiable that they don't want to accept any developer using any non-factorio.com domain. To add more security they could also demand DNSSEC all the way down to a signed MX record to avoid DNS poisoning for the verification email. Alternatively get the phone number of the company from a different source and call them.
Tchey 12 Jul, 2017
People are so... people...

I do love Itchio too, and i'm finding myself spending more time on it these last weeks.

They react quite well to it, so i'd guess it's only a matter of time before they "fix" this issue.
Dolus 12 Jul, 2017
Itch may want to adopt a hybrid curation model. You have a section of curated and veted games, and a section for what it basically has now.
Shmerl 12 Jul, 2017
If something was sold that way by some crooks, developers can take note and start actually selling their games there officially.


Last edited by Shmerl on 12 July 2017 at 8:54 pm UTC
RafiLinux 12 Jul, 2017
Motherfuckers! Itch.io is awesome and the going in there and trying to mess it up for the rest of us.
Hori 13 Jul, 2017
ShmerlIf something was sold that way by some crooks, developers can take note and start actually selling their games there officially.
That's not a solution. Devs shouldn't HAVE to sell their games on every single store out there in order to combat piracy...
Shmerl 13 Jul, 2017
HoriThat's not a solution. Devs shouldn't HAVE to sell their games on every single store out there in order to combat piracy...

You didn't get the point. It's not about "combating piracy", it's about reaching more people who are actually interested in their games.
Hori 13 Jul, 2017
Shmerl
HoriThat's not a solution. Devs shouldn't HAVE to sell their games on every single store out there in order to combat piracy...

You didn't get the point. It's not about "combating piracy", it's about reaching more people who are actually interested in their games.
Yes, but maybe the devs just don't want to sign new contracts with new stores... especially since they are already on big stores like Steam and Itch is so small.

I mean, of course, it would be ideal if every game would be available on every store... but there are many reasons why this isn't the case.

I find this situation similar to G2A, where the only way devs could/can stop people selling stolen keys is to sell keys themselves on that site. Now I know that G2A is a terrible, terrible place, and that the situation is so much more grave than what happened on Itch - which IMO is just a hiccup, since by the way Liam described it, they are actively trying to solve the issue and they really care about their values.

That's why I'm saying that devs shouldn't have to list their games on that store if they don't want to. They should do it willingly, not forcefully.

Again, I'm not blaming this on the guys behind Itch, they do an awesome job and they do work hard to fix this problem. This problem is purely caused by fraudulous pricks that try to make money off other people's work like some plagiators that they are. I sincerely hope that Itch takes legal action against those thieves - they deserve no mercy.


Last edited by Hori on 13 July 2017 at 8:43 am UTC
emphy 13 Jul, 2017
HoriAgain, I'm not blaming this on the guys behind Itch, they do an awesome job and they do work hard to fix this problem. This problem is purely caused by fraudulous pricks that try to make money off other people's work like some plagiators that they are. I sincerely hope that Itch takes legal action against those thieves - they deserve no mercy.

Disabling instant payout should help, if the fraudulent sales can be detected within the payout time there would be no point in even trying to get it on itch.

Apart from that, the money should be fairly traceable, so catching the culprit should be relatively easy. Even if law enforcement is not able/unwilling to go after them, itch may be able to convince paypal to take some action.
GustyGhost 13 Jul, 2017
Shmerl
HoriThat's not a solution. Devs shouldn't HAVE to sell their games on every single store out there in order to combat piracy...

You didn't get the point. It's not about "combating piracy", it's about reaching more people who are actually interested in their games.

Me being one of them, there are a lot of games that I haven't bought yet because they are only available through Steam. These "pirates" are doing a service .. or at the very least, a protest.
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