The indie game storefront Itch.io announced today a new integration with Patreon, a platform that enables people to become “patrons” of content creators and subscribe to them with monthly payments. This enables indie devs to create pages for projects meant specifically for their patrons.
Itch.io’s founder Leaf Corcoran says that he’s wanted to implement an integration for a while, but until recently, Patreon didn’t have API support for it. Itch.io is the first indie store to feature this kind of integration, though Patreon has created a custom integration in the past with Discord, a popular voice and text chat service.
“We’re big fans of Patreon. They have a similar goal of helping creators make an earning building what they want,” said Corcoran in an email to GamesBeat.
Some creators have different membership tiers on their Patreon, which they use as a kind of paywall for different types of content. Others enable all their patrons to view everything. Creators on Patreon often offer sneak peeks at works-in-progress, behind-the-scenes looks at their creative process, or exclusive games.
With the new integration, developers will be able to — as an example — link to an early prototype of a game on their Itch.io page. A patron will have to link their Patreon and Itch.io accounts to access it, because Itch.io will check to make sure they’re supporting that developer on Patreon. This offers a streamlined process for indie devs, many of whom host most of their games on Itch.io already.
“Patreon is a new kind of payment model that I think is very effective, a lot of game developers have adopted it,” said Corcoran. “We want to support game developers. I don’t really care that Patreon is its own payment processor, and we’ll never see a cut of those transactions, because if we can build something that lets game developers be successful then we’ve succeeded.”
Itch.io previously rolled out an integration with the crowdraising platform Kickstarter, which was used to send out digital rewards to project backers. That integration enabled developers to group backers by their pledge amount and send out game files as well as generate Steam codes.
“Products like Patreon and Kickstarter change how independent projects can make money, but they typically treat distribution as a secondary thing,” said Corcoran. “That’s where we come in, where our focus is managing distribution of games and other digital goods. We have advanced file patching, a desktop app, granular controls for file access, and tools to build and run a community.”