ShinyLoot Offers DRM-Free Catalogue of Indie Games

ShinyLoot Offers DRM-Free Catalogue of Indie Games

A new digital distributor is in town to champion indie titles.

Digital distribution is quickly replacing brick-and-mortar game stores, and the new trend has done wonders for indie developers who would never be able to afford shelf space in a physical store. Still, many indie gems have a hard time getting noticed amid the big-name releases, even when distribution isn't a problem. A new distribution site called ShinyLoot aims to fix this, marketing a library of lesser-known games with little to no DRM.

ShinyLoot's goal is to "even the playing field" in terms of exposure. Users can customize their interests with over 130 traits, which the site will use to help you discover games you might like. The site currently boasts a library of 325 games, 70 of which include Steam and Desura keys. All games, including the ones with keys for other services, are available as DRM-free or minimal-DRM downloads, not unlike GOG's distribution service. No client is required to buy or play your games, and all titles are available worldwide.

The minimal DRM stance is sure to earn the fledgling distributor some internet brownie points. The only form of DRM the site allows is a one-time key validation (which GOG doesn't support), as ShinyLoot sees that as acceptably unobtrusive. It also takes its goal of increasing indie visibility seriously - whereas most digital distribution vendors greet you with a slideshow of blockbuster games, ShinyLoot's homepage is a simple search bar that asks what you're looking for in a game. It's a novel approach, and hopefully one that will bring some much-deserved attention to indie gems.

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Interesting. Always good to see more competition in the digital-distribution arena, and unlike other efforts I could name (coughORIGINcough), these guys seem to "get it" when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Good article, thanks for sharing about this new site!

No DRM is applaudable. That is a major reason why indie is saving the gaming industry from the cataclysms it is making for itself.

However I do honestly have to wonder thought. This isnt 2006. Indie gaming is FAR from some obscure niche. There are already ample distribution platforms going, even DRM free kinds. In fact, indie right now is practically mainstream. Between Humble Bundles, Indie Royale, Groupees, Kickstarter & crowdfunding, Indie game stand, Many MANY other direct indie outlets not to mention Steam Greenlight, GOGs dedication and reliance on Indie that honestly adding another player into such a lively mixture might actually be pushing the boundaries of over saturation.

So I again applaud the intent, and the "done right" presentation. However as with anyone in any industry trying to start up a new business, the first thing you have to do is your homework and see what type of potential competition you will be going up against. If that overwhelming competition does not deter you the second step is establishing what YOUR offering does that cannot be satisfied elsewhere by means that already existed before you started. Basically what is "YOUR" contribution?

Guess I fail to see what this specific groups offering adds to the mix or how it sets itself apart from all the other options available.

viranimus:
No DRM is applaudable. That is a major reason why indie is saving the gaming industry from the cataclysms it is making for itself.

It's a sign we're moving out of the Consolidation and Collapse stage and into regrowth.
*Insert Phoenix metaphor here*

And more competition on PC is a good thing; especially anything that's forward thinking in a way that doesn't involve twisting the customer's arm into compliance.

Atmos Duality:

viranimus:
No DRM is applaudable. That is a major reason why indie is saving the gaming industry from the cataclysms it is making for itself.

It's a sign we're moving out of the Consolidation and Collapse stage and into regrowth.
*Insert Phoenix metaphor here*

And more competition on PC is a good thing; especially anything that's forward thinking in a way that doesn't involve twisting the customer's arm into compliance.

I do get what you are saying and you are expressing a widely agreed upon idea, but honestly I think that is something we are told by those who want to continue benefiting from competition. I am getting to the point where I honestly no longer think competition is a positive for any economic model.

Take a moment and look at operating systems. When Apple started their comeback, it was the best thing to happen to Microsoft. They enjoyed greater sales even in the face of apple taking a piece of their pie. Since then Apple and MS have been duking it out. Google has even entered the fray. The operating systems get more "modern" but all that is really happening is they are becoming more complex, and NOT in an efficent way.

Many times over its competition that results in an inferior product/experience. Just look at say Linux. An OS that its foundation is free software, backboned on the concept of collaboration and shared work to create a better product and honestly the experience the user has with Linux is more often than not more efficient, more logical, more intuitive, more productive than they could have had out of paid competing software options like apple or MS.

But aside from this philosophical ideological point, even looking at real world and practical examples, too much competition is just as bad if not every bit worse than too little or no competition at all. We have seen many companies rise and fall all because they lacked anything unique that set them apart in the market. They might have offered a good service but just not in a way that it would encourage others to switch from their existing options of choice.

Do not get me wrong. I am glad to see this site, and glad organizations are finally starting to realize that even if the big industry is content to abuse its customers, customers do NOT appreciate it and will gladly support what treats the customer as they should be treated. So to see more companies standing up to try to do something about these modern practices that should have never been allowed to proliferate always makes me smile, and encourages me for the future.

But a site that really has yet to illustrate what they do that is different and ideally superior to the likes of GOG, Humble Bundle, Indie Royal, Indie GameStand, Desura, and the various different widespread and accessible means people have at their disposal to gain access to indie game content, has not shown the customer the reason why they should redirect their buisness from any and all of those platforms, onto theirs.

viranimus:
[SNIP]

Competition at absolute worst does not affect customers of the companies being competed against. Even if you never use anything but Steam, the mere existence of other platforms forces Steam to keep improving and doing sales and the like to prevent the other companies from gaining an edge. Sure, right now none of the other companies can really compete with GOG/Desura/Steam, but monopolies are bad and even the great companies shouldn't have it too easy.

All that said: I think ShinyLoot has stumbled right out of the gate by not kicking things off with a large sale or a giveaway of some variety. If you want people to notice you, you need to do something noticeable.

Falterfire:

viranimus:
[SNIP]

Competition at absolute worst does not affect customers of the companies being competed against. Even if you never use anything but Steam, the mere existence of other platforms forces Steam to keep improving and doing sales and the like to prevent the other companies from gaining an edge. Sure, right now none of the other companies can really compete with GOG/Desura/Steam, but monopolies are bad and even the great companies shouldn't have it too easy.

All that said: I think ShinyLoot has stumbled right out of the gate by not kicking things off with a large sale or a giveaway of some variety. If you want people to notice you, you need to do something noticeable.

On the subject of steam and origin, I still think they use way too much ram when they could just use an online account system via browser.

Falterfire:

viranimus:
[SNIP]

Competition at absolute worst does not affect customers of the companies being competed against. Even if you never use anything but Steam, the mere existence of other platforms forces Steam to keep improving and doing sales and the like to prevent the other companies from gaining an edge. Sure, right now none of the other companies can really compete with GOG/Desura/Steam, but monopolies are bad and even the great companies shouldn't have it too easy.

All that said: I think ShinyLoot has stumbled right out of the gate by not kicking things off with a large sale or a giveaway of some variety. If you want people to notice you, you need to do something noticeable.

I grant you, you are very much correct in that on a direct and the most obvious and clearly defined levels competition does not adversely effect customers on such a level.





Hello, I'm Chris Palmarozzi, co-founder of ShinyLoot. There are some good points about analyzing the market, finding our place, and offering a worthwhile alternative to competitors. I'll try to address as much as I can.

The idea behind ShinyLoot (a minimal-DRM store to focus on indie games with 'traits') started in early 2011. However, work didn't begin until early 2012. Still, at that point GOG wasn't selling indie games, Amazon wasn't very relevant, and Greenlight didn't exist. Desura and IndieCity existed when development started but more serious indie game support by GOG/Steam was a much bigger deal. While those developments were probably good for consumers, it was obviously bad for us. It was unclear how everything would unfold so we finished development and launched our "open beta" in early March 2013.

ShinyLoot has always intended to be about finding indie games, which is why we have a system to search for games by individual traits. Our filters are much better at narrowing down game selection than competitors, but we have to continue growing our library for that to be relevant. I don't think we expect people to shop at ShinyLoot purely because of filters or our DRM stance or any other single reason.

The bundle sites are indirect competition. They affect us in that when a game is owned, it's not going to be purchased on our site. However, we're focused on providing on demand results with our search/filters. The ability to purchase individual bundles lasts a short time then goes away. Our games are always available. So if you want whatever games are offered in the current bundle(s) then that's great. If you want a particular game you haven't experienced, we hope ShinyLoot can help you find it.

GOG is clearly our closest competitor in terms of feature sets. We sell games with one time key validation which allows us to sell some really quality games (like Creeper World series) that GOG won't sell. We also support Linux for all of our games. I think if you compare how we sort our games, our system allows for a more tailored experience. Finally, we offer free Desura/Steam keys (where applicable) in addition to Minimal/No-DRM downloads. GOG is an awesome service, but I think those factors make for strong differentiation.

I think our strongest asset is perhaps our flexibility. Our clientless website is designed to make fast, frequent changes, and that is exactly what we've done the past 3 months. I'm now active on reddit, CAG, neoGAF, and any community people want to talk to me. I don't know that many distributors will offer that kind of communication. Heck you can email support to talk about your favorite game, and either me or our other co-founder would still reply. Gaming is about fun and we try to showcase from most people's first experience on ShinyLoot when they receive one of four welcome emails with a (hopefully) humorous and lighthearted touch.

As to the sale coming out of the gate, in May we did run a 2 week, 60+ indie game sale on most of our games offering Steam/Desura keys. It had some coverage (mainly on deal sites) but not as much as I think was warranted. I was very happy to see Brett post this article because it gives me the opportunity to talk to people about who we are and what we need to do to be relevant.

I could probably expand more, but this is already pretty long so feel free to ask any follow ups.

The story, discussion and guest appearance has now completely blown my mind.

And hey, an indie-based gog.com with a unique game search engine is always fun to have around.

viranimus:

I do get what you are saying and you are expressing a widely agreed upon idea, but honestly I think that is something we are told by those who want to continue benefiting from competition. I am getting to the point where I honestly no longer think competition is a positive for any economic model.

Well, I've seen what happens when the market fails to compete and its largest firms aren't feeling so benevolent (like Steam; they could leverage some truly heinous shit onto their users right now if they wanted to).

Home ISPs in the United States are locked in a Duopoly Cartel, resulting in the US being ~7 years behind the rest of the developed world in bandwidth while charging an arm and a leg. Three firms own over 85% of the market share, and have, over the past decade, divvied up the regions in such a way as to minimize competitive overlap.

Until 2009, I was still on dial-up because cable rates were insane.
From the period of 1998 to 2009, in my region, dial-up cost 5-25 dollars a month, and cable cost 40-130 USD.

Cable is currently 80/month on account of Verizon offering FIOS and DSL in the region.
Prior to that (2008) it went as high as 130/month; the Comcast Complete Package. At the time, Comcast was only offering that one package in my neighborhood because they knew they had the market by the balls.
(their advertisements touted 70/month, but turns out, those were only introductory prices)

As soon as Verizon entered the area and started competing, the prices slowly dropped and their services suddenly had more options.

As for competition in gaming: This is tricky because digital goods fall under the Natural Monopoly type.
And that fact makes all sorts of unpleasant things possible, and complicated.

 

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