Paul Czege calls the small games that are getting published on Itch “incitements”. This thread suggests it’s a livelier, more experimental, more design-community focused space for distributing games than DriveThru:
I've dabbled in itch.io a bit; I started with a Game Jam but since then have published a few of my untested designs on a 'tips' model. Like anything online, the 'community' is there if you build it & participate in it, but what this actually means is lots of small circles where everyone knows each other and a few larger circle with some dominant voices... so no different from any other online community.
Some of the games are very much 'I scribbled this on the back of a fag packet while commuting', while others are more fully realised and developed. We have looked at a number of them on episodes of our podcast (see link in signature)
@James Mullen , thanks, I thought you might know.
Thanks @pedr, I didn't think you would!
Do you think people here who publish should get their stuff up there?
Wordplay, OpenQuest, Duty & Honour, a Mitch game?
I don't think there's any danger of itch.io competing directly with Drivethru, simply because they are playing in different sandpits. What I can foresee happening is a lot of the small, non- or semi-professional products (like new classes for D&D, pocket scenarios and 200 Word RPGs) migrating to itch.io over time, leaving Drivethru as the shopfront and itch.io as the fan community.
Fully realized games, with teams of contributors, professional lay-outs, and other large investments of people's work, will continue to be for sale on Drivethru; small, experimental, conceptual games will find their home on itch.io. The latter could provide a good support platform for games released on the former, but the question then is whether creators want to split their marketplace like that: it's probably more helpful to have all the releases for one product line in one place and since Drivethru has incentives for making your publications exclusive to them, it makes more sense to keep everything under their umbrella.
Another point to bear in mind is that itch.io isn't exclusively for table-top games: any quick glance at it will give you the first impression that it's a site for sharing semi-professional computer games. You have to dig quite a bit to find the pen-&-paper stuff and some aspects, such as the Game Jams, aren't sorted like that at all, so you are reduced to looking at each jam individually to see what type of games it has in it.