With the recent malware attacks (people DM others to play test their game and download malicious exe stuff from their Itchio page), we can assume that players will be a lot more cautious towards new games, especially the ones that require you to download an executable file.
After some short discussions, I came to a few things a small fetish dev like me can do to increase new players trust when they look at the game page.
- Show effort
Lots of screenshots and detailed descriptions of the game to show that you spent effort to make it. A malicious developer wouldn’t spend as much effort and their game page would probably have one or no screenshot + very basic description
- Encourage feedback
A game with lots of comments and ratings is less likely to be a malware
- Make your game open source
This is a surefire method to get trust from your players, although you will have to expose your game’s code which many devs do not like.
Verify your game files with VirusTotal.com
This is a bit technical to bear with me. First you upload the game executable files to https://www.virustotal.com/ and then get the resulting link with the checksum. Then post the link along with the downloads of your game so people can confirm that it has been virus scanned
EDIT: It looks like VirusTotal’s T&Cs are a problem. By uploading something you give them rights to host and redistribute with no restrictions. Let me know if you have any good suggestions to prove that your game has been virus scanned
- Just make a web game, web games are mostly secure because modern browsers double as very secure sandboxes.
- Getting a code-signing certificate from services such as Digicert
This is by far the best way to get trust because your game program will be signed with your signature. But getting a certificate can cost you $500+ and you also need to share your personal information to register.
Lastly, you yourself should also watch out when playing new games because they could potentially be malware! My favorite dev got their discord server taken over because they played a malware game on Itch. Make sure the game you’re downloading is trustworthy by watching out for the above signs, setup Sandbox to run them if you can.
Note that web games are not 100% safe, there can still be web games that are malicious exploits or phising, so still look out for any tell tale signs before you play one! Also keep your browsers updated to protect yourself from exploit attacks from websites and web games in general!