Investigate markets before launching a mobile game in multiple countries

Mobile applications and games are becoming in a great demand, which motivates developers to work hard and upgrade their skills all the time and the same time attracts business people ready to invest hugely in this market. Despite the fact that the mobile market is saturated and thus hard to become visible on, there’re some tactics following which you may reach the highest possible amount of users. 


The question about which countries to soft launch becomes less tough when you have a team of market specialists on staff. But how to reach potential users when you do it on your own? KapKan Games as always takes a practical approach to tacking the problem of choosing apt markets to soft launch and thereby attract the biggest number of users to the product.

The decision made beforehand will protect you from an unexpected collapse

Hitting foreign markets is much more complicated than just adding another region on the App Store. You’d better be prepared for a lot of hard work and responsibilities which come out of making the right decision. 


Firstly, decide on the criteria you are going to base your choice on, in particular, whether you launch simultaneously across several countries or sequentially across different tier countries. Plenty of options depend on this choice: user acquisition, budget allocation, communication strategy, management failure or the possibility of terminating a game development.

Working out which countries to soft launch is one of the most momentous decisions to make before the project rolls. Not every game can succeed in any chosen country due to peculiarities in perception its people may have. To save money on game localization, that is costly enough, you may try a more focused approach and start investigating.

The investigation campaign should involve the following stages:
1.    The level of specific mobile game sectors;
2.     Mobile game penetration by category, types of devices, demographics, gamer behaviors, credit card penetration, etc.;
3.    The analysis of competitor’s experience;
4.    The concrete actions to gather valuable information about a specific market;
5.    Working out a strategy;
6.    Planning of all technical and design changes a new localization may require in advance. 

When the first point on the agenda is connected with the rationality of launching video games in slowly developing markets, the second one, mobile game penetration, evolves from it and includes a more detailed market analysis. Accurately done, it will inform you about potential target audiences and therefore help to develop an effective future monetization strategy. Credit card penetration research, for example, may affect your business model such as the use of in-app purchases.

Contrast every new region with your original game launch to identify the cultural barriers and differences. In essence, you should do a comparative analysis, using various sources of gathering information. One of them is spying for competitors who’ve already had experience of video game launches in a target region. An alternative option is to get in touch with other companies in the sector, so-called third parties, in order to obtain feedback and recommendations.

Furthermore, the investigation risks being incomplete without a personal touch. The understanding of local idiosyncrasies makes possible to assess the work accurately. This phase includes surveys, focus groups, market reports and competitive analyses.

The activities mentioned above will form a solid base for working out an appropriate strategy on the foreign market. 

As it often occurs that each entry represents an almost entirely new project with a big deal of work, you can't adopt the same strategy you've already used in previous territories. At least, it may turn to fall short of your expectations. Thus, you should be prepared to imply a different strategy for every new country to soft launch successfully. 
Effective localization is always time-consuming, requires sufficient human and material resources. Only this way you are able to protect yourself from failure.

Possible mistakes

Your decision to conquer foreign markets should be supported by your marketing strength. Planning for a multiple launch, you may encounter some obstacles, which are better to foresee than overcome. Let’s outline major mistakes developers make not to repeat them.                        


The most common mistake takes place when the developer relies on insufficient resources for market investigation. Effective and accurate resource verification is an essential part of decision-making.

Another common mistake is to carry out research during the game development process. Going this way the developer may encounter a real problem when the entire project starts bounding out of control due to inability to perform research and development work equally well. It often imposes on developer taking the decision to stop the marketing research in favor of development.  It means that the marketing campaign starts lacking one of the most valuable component - qualitative data obtained when testing with real users in new locations and so the advantage of any feedback opportunity. 

One more misconception grows up owing to the lack of cultural awareness. Developers miss sparing more time for redesigning and adaption while outlining the project scope, whereas this game adjustment to existing cultural realities is significant. Every apt tweak facilitates chances for success.

So if you don’t set enough time for such things as dialogue and soundtrack redesign, character modification and adoption or any other graphics asset change, you won't achieve the desired outcome. Moreover, this scope of work involves huge human and material resources. Knowing this and working to achieve set goals you’ll easier win new markets.
Regardless the variety of technics that mobile game development market involves, try not only to use constantly ones that do well for your game here and now, but remember to reconsider them and change if necessary.

In addition, remember that building a strong fan base is one of the hardest but the most advantageous way of attracting customers to the mobile game, especially in unknown ambiance.  A quality gamer base is the earnest of success. Though, many developers and publishers always try to find fastest and the most profitable ways of marketing game in new regions.

Sometimes they prefer focusing more on retention, rather than on raw user acquisition, or on paid acquisition since it's the fastest way to get traction and gain category share. 
One more important but frequently overlooked technic is app store optimization. This option requires a separate discussion as it can also affect greatly the result.

The last but not least way to enter any foreign market and distribute locally is to turn to third-party PR firms, which will help you to boost your game's popularity and profile. The idea of creating appropriate content and outsourcing part of your work is more than promising.  

Creating a partnership with companies proficient in marketing in a particular region is able to bring greater and faster result as local firms offer more insight into the local culture and provide services that make releasing games much easier.



Thorough investigation, the participation in regional events relevant for your company, socializing, networking - all these activities will benefit your game and help to gain reputation.