What is “soft launch” in the game industry?

What is the difference between soft launch and hard launch? Which launch strategy should be applied in which situations?
About soft launch
We answered questions such as what is soft launch, in which cases soft launch strategy should be applied.

Sometimes developers want to make sure players are willing to play before releasing their games to all markets. This is where soft launch comes into play.

Soft Launch Meaning

Soft launch refers to releasing a product before its scheduled launch date, with little or no marketing pressure. Unlike the term full launch, soft launch is often described as a rehearsal for full launch and allows developers to simulate real-world interactions with their applications.

Soft launches are usually limited to many users and help a company check and fix things like bugs or user reactions before a full, official launch. The soft launch also allows companies to optimize their marketing spending by testing their user acquisition strategies in markets similar to those they are launching. Some companies choose a soft launch strategy to keep their services private and gradually add users.

How do you soft launch a mobile game?

The soft launch means publishing your game only in certain countries or stores. The primary purpose of the soft launch is to test a mobile game before being released globally. This isn’t just meant to test your mobile game for bugs or crashes. You should also test metrics such as game design, monetization methods, and marketing strategies.

User KPI's
Before you decide which launch type you should choose, you need to determine your goal.

The soft launch is essential for indie developers as well as major publishers. (Soft launch stages are crucial for you if you want to be picked up by a publisher).

Contrary to popular belief, there is no difference between iOS soft launch and Android soft launch. The important thing here is not which platform you are working on but your marketing strategies and testing methods.

Soft Launch vs Hard Launch

Soft launch offers a more cost-effective approach to product releases for many companies, allowing more time to fine-tune existing offerings. Additionally, the soft launch gives studios and teams time to gain practical and situational learning.

On the other hand, a hard launch exposes companies to more significant risks. Challenging launch phases are often accompanied by a big marketing push that raises awareness and excitement. A company that opts for a soft launch move will see slow user growth at first before picking up speed; A successful hard launch will see an increase that rapidly rises from the launch date and stabilizes as time progresses.

Soft launch vs hard launch
Both types of launches serve different purposes.

This also helps in monetization by creating a large audience instantly. However, apps that go through a bad hard launch phase can be doomed to fail, as they drain their marketing budget before optimizing ROI, user experience, or user retention and run the risk of missing potential users with a faulty understanding. Soft launch move preference does not provide high user growth but may be more sustainable in the long run.

General Strategies

The main difference between the two methods is achieving your desired goals. For soft launch, a company may update its marketing and sales materials or focus on adding new content to its website. The activities are more geared towards the “work” part.

When it comes to hard launch, activities are more beneficial to buyers. The overall goal is to make as many sales as possible, so hard launching requires more aggressive tactics to reach the public.

For example, a cleaning company that wants to make and sell laundry detergent can make soft launch by focusing solely on in-store sales, without external advertising or distribution. This will allow the store to receive feedback on demand and pricing. If the hard launch were to be carried out, the detergent sold on the internet and in local markets would have to be supported by advertisements, social media, and press releases sent to the local press.

Choosing the right method

Whatever launch type you choose, the essential part of the job will avoid creating a marketing disaster. If you want to see fast and stunning results, it’s probably best to start with the hard launch rather than the soft launch phase. With a soft launch, it takes longer for you to see significant results or revenue.

For example, posting occasional blog posts is a soft launch technique. You will see results, but they will take time. On the other hand, creating an advertising campaign, sending newsletters, promotional videos, and building an online audience are hard to launch techniques that will yield faster results.

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