Some itch.io accounts are using the retail platform to sell pirated copies of popular indie games.
If you’ve never come across it before, itch.io is an open online marketplace that permits creators to sell their games directly to the public. Unlike Steam or other similar digital retailers, anyone can sign up and start selling without a whiff of an approval system… and it’s this that some are taking advantage of.
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According to Kotaku, many players are reporting that games like Dead Cells and Rimworld are being offered at significantly discounted rates, only for purchasers to later discover the files are fraudulent. In some cases, even the seller is a fake, with nefarious accounts intentionally impersonating those of legitimate developers.
Itch.io promise they’re “taking them down as fast as they can see them” and are encouraging players to report fake sellers.
In a statement to Kotaku, itch.io says: “A scammer created a handful of accounts on our system and uploaded pirated games to it. Due to the nature of being an ‘open marketplace’ we don’t have a forced review before allowing people to publish. We were made aware of the scammer by the community and through our own internal review, and we removed the content as soon as we discovered it.
“Since we’re an open marketplace, there have been attempts at scamming in the past, but we tend to always catch them before anything happens. This time was a bit different. As with all scammers we suspend their accounts immediately, ban their payment information from the system, and ban those files from being sold.”
The statement closes with itch.io thanking their community for helping identify scammers, and promising to “reach out” to the customers affected.