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Itch.io embroiled in fraudulent games controversy

Open marketplace Itch.io has admitted that some users have been using its platform to sell fraudulent copies of popular indie games.

A Kotaku UKreport revealed that two big indie hits – Rimworld and Dead Cells – were put up for sale on the Itch.io marketplace at big discounts. Neither were sold with any knowledge of their developers.

Itch.io sells itself on being a completely open marketplace without any formal vetting procedure. Many users were alerted to the deals when they were flagged up by Isthereanydeal.com’s scraping bots.

Itch.io has said that it is freezing and removing accounts associated with such activity the moment they are reported, but with no approval processes in place there doesn’t appear to be any obvious route for them to stop such activity before the event.

Isthereanydeal.com is also removing the listings from its database.

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,” Itch.io said.

As with all scammers we suspend their accounts immediately, ban their payment information from the system, and ban those files from being sold. This particular scammer is also taking advantage of a ‘direct payment’ mode that we originally offered that allows a seller to skip itch.io and sell directly into their PayPal account. Although this might be nice for some some sellers, it means they’re essentially getting away with the money without allowing us to intervene. We’re going to be heavily restricting this feature of the site for the foreseeable future.

We’re reaching out to the customers affected by this individual’s actions for refunds. We’d like to thank our community for helping us identify these non-legitimate pages with the speed and understanding that they have.”

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