At Antidote, we are always reinforcing the core idea of what is essential when it comes to playtesting: it should be done at every stage of development. From the very first prototype analysis to the last test a week before the game goes live, the type of feedback you get is always going to help you achieve a better final product.
And while it might seem less useful to perform playtests once the game is 99% complete, the truth is that it actually makes a world of difference when it comes to some specific yet highly significant details. That is in fact what happens with soft launches.
What is Soft Launching?
Soft launching is the term given to a playtest that intends to simulate a real launch in a controlled environment in order for you to measure and understand players’ reactions and interactions with your game. However, this gives you more than just information regarding optimization and bugs – it also allows you to expand on marketing strategies, test different monetization methods and discover what kind of players enjoy your game the most before it launches worldwide.
Why should you Soft Launch?
On top of being an extra testing tool that grants you additional player feedback, soft launching also allows you to measure, analyze and experiment with the game economy and its balancing. This is the perfect opportunity to better understand which elements of your game you should focus on and prioritize, as well as to learn if any of them should be refined, rebalanced or even completely scrapped. At the end of the day, you will know which parts of your game players enjoy the most, and therefore where you should focus on in order to create an engaging experience for them.
How does it work?
In order for us to recreate this experience, we invite people from our playerbase (be it 1.000, 5.000 or even our entire community!) to test your game over a period of one week. Unlike traditional soft launching, this option allows you to invite players from all over the world, creating an experience much more similar to a regular game launch.
They have full access to the game, and are able to jump in and out as much as they wish. Then, they fill in a final survey and provide feedback regarding their experience with the game, which will also inform you about its levels of player satisfaction and retention.
We have had the chance to perform this kind of tests many times in the past, and the amount of useful information companies have been able to obtain has been of great help to them. With the over saturation of the gaming market, it becomes a huge advantage to have a way to understand players’ responses before the game goes live. We are here to make sure your game succeeds where your competitors don’t, and give you that leg up over them.