Chris Palmarozzi. head man for the digital distribution site, Shiny Loot gives TPG the lowdown on their new launch campaign. You will learn what it takes to run a site with over 375 games available, the successes and failures of doing so and much more.
Please speak about where the idea for Shiny Loot came from.
The idea originated from having played and seen a lot of really good indie games that fell under the radar. I wanted to come up with a way to highlight these games and felt that what became our trait and filter system was the best way to showcase these games.
What separates Shiny Loot from other DRM-free distribution outlets?
One thing is that we also offer minimal DRM games which will require no more than a one-time key validation. This opens up several non-obtrusive games that would not normally be sold in a DRM-free outlet. We also offer Steam and Desura keys on about 90 titles for those that prefer to use those tools to manage their game updates. These keys are always in addition to, not in place of, the minimal to no DRM downloads. Finally, we also sell all titles worldwide, offer a DRM-free download manager, and of course our search system powered by over 160 traits now.
Tell us about the core features customers can expect from Shiny Loot.
Search and discovery is our focus so our tagging system for game traits is the most central feature. This is what drives customers to find new games that match their interests and is at the core of discovering new indie games on ShinyLoot. For example, instead of simply browsing action games and RPGs, a user could look for a game tagged with action-rpg, skill based leveling, humor, crafting, branching story, and open world. As a core feature, we already have multiple iterations of improvements planned over the next several months that will further enhance ShinyLoot as a discovery tool.
ShinyLoot is also committed to a fair marketplace, guaranteeing minimal DRM on all titles, selling all games worldwide for one price, and offering developers a direct rate program as an attractive alternative to direct sales.
Which issue was the greatest struggle to deal with while Shiny Loot was in beta?
Obscurity. ShinyLoot is more of an evolution than a revolution, and it’s not easy to break into a market as competitive as digital distribution. Still, we’ve had some good beta feedback that has guided us towards launch.
Has it been difficult in the aspect of marketing Shiny Loot?
Absolutely – much more so than I thought. Traditional online marketing means simply aren’t as effective as I had anticipated so we’ve really tried to make community outreach a big focus moving forward. So far it’s been more effective.
How has the reception from developers been so far?
The developers have been the most supportive out of everyone. They love the concept and even if they aren’t currently signed with us, they want us to succeed. I do my best to keep our developers up to date on our progression and send out semi-regularly “state of ShinyLoot” messages.
As you offer titles DRM-free, do you believe the industry as a whole has slowly begun to accept this form of selling games?
I will agree with ‘slowly’. Instead of really annoying, obscure DRM at least publishers are more often choosing Steam rather than something much more bothersome. However, until the DRM-free consumer market collectively challenges Steam to a greater degree I don’t see any significant leaps happening. The bright side of larger publishers’ slow adoption of less DRM has, I think, been a contributing factor in the rise of indie game popularity.
Shiny Loot offers discounts to those who write user reviews and become “qualified reviews”. How do you handle the moderation of these reviews to make sure they are legitimate?
We make judgment calls. Generally we’ve found reviews as few as 100 words to be fairly substantive and offer interesting details for readers. If the review is borderline, we’ll generally approve it for review rewards. However, a review along the lines of “this game is fun and I like the graphics” is just not going to cut it.
As the owner of Shiny Loot, how do you feel about the fact that PC gaming customers, for the most part, cannot receive refunds for games that do not work properly or have other issues?
It can be pretty frustrating to make a purchase and have nothing to show for it. I think this is something that happens fairly infrequently though and is a small price to pay for generally cheaper MSRPs and larger discount, more frequent sales.
What do you have planned in terms of sales for launch festivities?
We have nearly 400 games that will be on sale at some point or the other over the course of the following six weeks. In addition to discounting over 250 games from August 26 to October 6, ShinyLoot is also offering a mix of weekly, weekend, and daily specials that will bring the total to at least 300 games on sale every day through early October.
Depending on the day, a new batch of weekly, daily, or weekend deals will start every day at midnight CST, Monday through Friday. Weekly, weekend, and daily sales will be discounted by up to 50%, 75%, and 85% respectively. – End
We would like to thank Chris for taking time away from the big launch to speak with us. You can load up your DRM-free virtual shopping cart by visiting Shiny Loot right now.