Mobile soft launches
A "Soft Launch" describes the release of a new product or service to a restricted audience in anticipation for a full release. Mobile soft launches in general have a tenacity to be mediocre and cause nothing but overhyping. It has been a trope that stretched far wide in the mobile market, but never made it to Steam nor the consoles because on Steam, there is no way to limit what regions can download the game, and consoles wouldn't work out very well.
This is different from rollouts, closed betas, or "Early Access", because a soft launch instead favors specific regions on release, and then releases globally after averaging from 1 month to several months. Rollouts are when the game has a Japanese/Korean/Chinese version that's different from the global version (Chain Chronicle, Puzzle and Dragons), closed betas are for limited periods, and early access is basically playing the game before its release.
To help prevent clutter, shovelware developers are not allowed on this list, only major developers allowed.
- Peggle Blast was one of the earlier examples of this, having been in soft launch in 2014 in countries like New Zealand and surfaced worldwide in 2015.
- MLP: Puzzle Party (soft launch early 2016, worldwide launch October 2016 but was pulled in May 2017 due to a lawsuit from Peak Studios).
- Plants vs. Zombies Heroes (soft launch March 2016, worldwide launch October 2016).
- World of Demons (soft launch June 2018 but died on October 10, 2018 before it got a worldwide launch). It however, got an unexpected revival exclusive to the Apple Arcade in April 2021.
- Sonic Runners (soft launch February 25, 2015, worldwide launch June 25 2015 but discontinued in July 2016 due to commercial failure).
- Dragalia Lost did the inverse of this trope. Normally most soft launches release in Canada/SEA, but Dragalia Lost instead released in US, Japan, and the Asian countries, while Canada, Oceania and Europe were released four months later. As of 2021, there are still several regions that haven't got the game released.
- Destiny Child: Defense is a spinoff
- Pokémon Rumble Rush (soft launch May 22, 2019 in North America but discontinued in July 22, 2020 for Unknown Reasons)
Why This Practice Sucks
- They often times use this as an excuse to off-set their games in attempt to hype the community that cannot access the game until its release.
- While it may be a more appropriate reason being that the game is not translated to other languages, they almost always have English as their main language, meaning there's no real reason to not release it in specific countries.
- Most of the time, it averagely takes around a short time or even months or years for it to be released to other regions.
- Sometimes, especially gacha games, they reset progress without any notice, especially when it gets taken down and re-launched under a different account.
- Tons of sites dedicated to mobile games praise this, and state the reasons to do it are "product validation" and "monetization". This is why you use advertisements/marketing.
- What's the point of doing this practice anyway? There is hardly any reason for a mobile soft launch to happen, since the user could just switch regions (depending if the soft launch is iOS only).
- Most of the time, developers don't use the reception from the soft release users to improve the game for the better.
- It is often times reported that the most popular regions include Canada, Southeast Asia, and Europe. It is said to be due to lower costs and higher grossing, though there is yet to be proof.