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Soft launch?

DuesDues Posts: 1,159Member

Hey guys,

Im thinking about making a soft launch with my next game. Any of you that has any positive/negative experience with it?

Have been reading alot about it and there seems to be two sides...

One that says that a soft launch is bad, because it totally ruins your chances of getting a feature from Apple, and that it won't give you the momentum of a hard launch.

The other side says a soft launch is a must because the competition today is so hard so you need to get the feedback from real players making it possible to change/add/remove stuff.
They also say that the chances of getting a feature from Apple is so slim that it's not worth taking into the calculation.

I feel like combined with services like @Hopscotch fantastic Appformative it can help to really tweaking the game to be as good as i can be.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,821Member

    The last time I tried a soft launch (late August 2007) it led to a bitter divorce battle and custody of the cats.

    But . . . I think the idea behind a soft launch is to do it in only certain regions, say Australia and New Zealand (whose sensibilities might be a fair measure of larger markets like the UK, the US, Germany, France) . . . and if I'm not as drunk as I think I am this means that the risk of losing the chance of being featured by Apple on the full launch (I can't use 'hard launch' it brings back too many bad memories) is only limited to the tested regions.

  • HopscotchHopscotch Posts: 2,778Member, PRO

    @Dues, thanks for the shout out!

    In my opinion, a soft launch is an invaluable step before a full launch.

    As you mentioned:

    The other side says a soft launch is a must because the competition today is so hard so you need to get the feedback from real players making it possible to change/add/remove stuff.

    Not just this, it also shows how people use your game. You can then base your monetization strategy on this.

    They also say that the chances of getting a feature from Apple is so slim that it's not worth taking into the calculation.

    I think quite the opposite. If you manage to get good traction in the selected soft-launch countries, this will only increase your chances during full launch as Apple my already have taken note of it.

    Also, every big studio does soft-launch of a new title first.

  • DuesDues Posts: 1,159Member

    @Socks said:
    The last time I tried a soft launch (late August 2007) it led to a bitter divorce battle and custody of the cats.

    But . . . I think the idea behind a soft launch is to do it in only certain regions, say Australia and New Zealand (whose sensibilities might be a fair measure of larger markets like the UK, the US, Germany, France) . . . and if I'm not as drunk as I think I am this means that the risk of losing the chance of being featured by Apple on the full launch (I can't use 'hard launch' it brings back too many bad memories) is only limited to the tested regions.

    Thanks for the drunken insight @Socks ;)
    Yeah Australia or New Zealand seems to be the choice for many soft launches.

  • DuesDues Posts: 1,159Member

    No problem @Hopscotch :)

    @Hopscotch said:

    I think quite the opposite. If you manage to get good traction in the selected soft-launch countries, this will only increase your chances during full launch as Apple my already have taken note of it.

    Never thought about it that way. Good point.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,821Member

    @Dues said:
    Thanks for the drunken insight @Socks ;)

    I've just checked my intravenous bag and I've had no more than two bottles of Pinot Noir since the Beaujolais ran out, so techically not drunk, just 'a bit Christmassy'.

  • imjustmikeimjustmike Posts: 450Member

    Also depends on why you're thinking about this. If it's to test your game, then, well, you should be doing that before you launch, or through a closed beta - not a soft launch. If it's to test marketing tactics in smaller markets, then, yes that makes sense. But make sure you have an actual plan. Just putting it live in a market and seeing what happens doesn't really count as a soft launch in my book.

    Another option is to launch on a single platform first - some developers prefer to do this with Android, some with iOS - depends what your preference is really. Though this will probably only help you test certain things, like copy in your description, screenshots etc - it won't help test monetisation or IAP pricing as the platforms are wildly different.

  • JScottJScott Posts: 143Member

    Do you mean publishing it to a limited market or getting it out there to get feedback.

    I can tell you I went with the latter, publishing my game when it wasn't really ready, or at least not as good as it could be. I wanted feedback and to see what happened! This was a couple of months ago.

    Maybe not the best plan, but it worked for feedback. Obviously you "should" have the testing all done first, but that's if you have a budget, patience, smart friends, intact brain, etc,

    For the indie guy with a day job, it seems like a valid way to get feedback and improve your game.

    The downside is that you usually get a huge amount of downloads in the beginning, for me I think all those original users are gone, probably never lasted till the first update.

    As for the "featured" question, I did not get featured in the beginning with all those initial downloads, but have consistently been featured (in App Store minor league categories) with updates. And downloads have increased steadily (slowly,but in the right direction!) since the large initial bump and subsequent depressing crash.

    Also I use Android as a testing station because they will publish anything, and you can pretty well respond to feedback in real time (with an update, and you can communicate with reviewers). App store can be a long painful wait if youve published something that people don't like!

    Good luck! What kind of game?

    Might as well plug my game, Age Of Dominion RTS !

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/age-dominion-rts-command-your/id1037426453?mt=8

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jabrusco.dominion

  • DuesDues Posts: 1,159Member

    @imjustmike @JScott
    It's more like @Hopscotch said to see how people use my game, where do they get stuck, how do they use social features etc. Of course to be able to get feedback from a larger group is also very valuable.
    I think that basing the monetization strategy from all the feedback from a soft launch will probably give a better chance of a successful game.

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