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Any disadvantages to soft launching?

07-08-2015, 02:28 AM
Any disadvantages to soft launching?

Hi guys,
I've finally finished development and had my game approved by Apple and I'm now sketching on my release plan.
I'm wondering if there are any strategic drawbacks to a soft launch in one country rather than do a global launch?


07-08-2015, 03:54 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Location: England
Posts: 24
Depends what you want to test/learn really! We toy'd with the idea for our game, but the only variable was the pricing structure for our in-game upgrades and we did a lot of testing for this already. The advice we got was to use a market like Canada or New Zealand as they're fairly 'western' (culturally, not geographically) markets but a much smaller user base. The idea being if theres any massive bugs or poor UX that it'll get picked up there and you can fix it before you launch in the bigger markets (UK/US etc).

Artist at Teaboy Games currently developing our beautifuly minimal reaction game, Fallen

07-08-2015, 01:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 6
Soft launches are less stressful and allow you to collect enough data for a successful global launch.

I don't see any drawbacks to soft launching, except for the fact that if your game has too many bugs it might be hated in that specific region/country for a while.

How about starting with an even smaller "target" test audience, for example a few hundred reddit users, to test your app, before releasing it for good on the App Store?

There's a good article on this on TapStream, check it out: http://blog.tapstream.com/post/71538...soft-launching

Good luck with your launch!

Last edited by vandernath; 07-08-2015 at 01:44 PM.
07-08-2015, 02:23 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 102
If you're one of those people that gets hung up on piracy, you might get upset that a soft launch will let your game be played around the world before your full release.

Personally, I think there's bigger things to worry about (for an indie, the real problem is discoverability, it's so hard to get people to know about your game).
07-09-2015, 02:44 AM
Thanks for the insights regarding soft launching, as my game is premium I don't have to do any revenue optimisation as such, so it's more total quality impression and perceived value of the whole game and of course if there are any serious bugs that might take time to sort out.

Interesting point and good article about recruiting an initial "audience" through reddit.

The whole piracy thing is as you say nothing to get hang up on.. those guys will be the testers that get's the game for free and provide some helpful analytics. I had a friend who sold one copy of their game and it was pirated. I guess the best approach to pirates is completely disregard them as they would not buy your game...so put your the work into discoverability and to make the game better for your paying customers as they deserve your attention.

I think this decides it, there doesn't seem to be any real drawbacks with a soft launch as long as your game is in good enough shape. I will go the route of a soft launch in one country while starting to work on getting "press" attention /do marketing ahead of a global launch.


07-10-2015, 12:18 PM
I asked about this also ... http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=253910

What i found was that discovery was a problem for a paid app like mine during the soft launch. Same with the full launch actually .
But it was very useful, i ended up redesigning the control system which has not been a problem since.

I think next time i would set the game free during the soft launch so that i can test features "live" so to speak. Then use that info to iterate the game to an optimal build for full launch.

+1 for asking on reddit for testers.
07-10-2015, 12:45 PM
A lot of companies are setting the price to free for soft launch, even if the end product will be a premium one (see the mobile Hitman game). This works as long as it's not the price you're wanting to test.

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07-10-2015, 02:20 PM
Yeah... the whole discovery thing is mentioned a lot as being a problem with soft launches, but maybe more for freemium apps that needs a lot of players if you want to use the soft launch to tweak iAP etc.

Maybe start with the normal price in my case as it is premium, and then either free or some serious rebate to get players to get more stats if needed.

One thing that is hinted here and there is that the Apple App Store gives a little help with discoverability for new apps to give them a chance to get noticed...(unless this is an urban myth)...and if a soft launch would have any effect on that "little" free push?
07-13-2015, 01:56 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 5
Depends what you want to test/learn really!
07-14-2015, 01:11 AM
If Apple wants to feature your game as one of the Best New Games, but if your game is only available in a small country, will it affect that chance?