Why The Arcanox Soft-Launch Failed

The Arcanox soft-launch in the Canadian Google Play Store failed. Arcanox has been installed in Canada exactly 0 times. Even some ads didn’t help. After I thought about it, the reasons became quite obvious.

The Problem

Usually you ask your friends and beta-testers to download and rate your app with 5 stars right after release. Several testers from all over the world are playing Arcanox every day, but none of them is living in Canada. Unfortunately I also have no friends in Canada. So there was no one, who installed Arcanox and wrote the first ultra important 5 star review.

No One Installs A Not Rated App

Competition in the Play Store is fierce. There is no reason for anyone to install a not rated app. Even a great icon, compelling screenshots, and thrilling description can’t change this.

Multiplayer Alone?

But even with a single 5 star rating no one would install a multiplayer game with 1-5 installs. Multiplayer without other players doesn’t sound fun. Arcanox is already fun with the small number of testers, but players see only zero installs in the App Store.

What next?

Next I could either soft-launch in Germany and invite all my friends and German testers to reinstall the game from the Google Play Store and review it. This might be enough to convince new players to try Arcanox.

The other option would be to skip the soft-launch and hard-launch world-wide. For this I would have to do my PR homework first. During the first year in the Play Store, an app has the chance to become “Top New”. To achieve this you need reviews from gaming sites and press coverage.

Skipping the soft-launch might be a valid option, because Arcanox is very well tested and polished already. The testers have have almost nothing to complain about anymore. Also I’m developing MMO game servers since 5 years and have solved most typical MMO server problems at least once. There shouldn’t be much that could surprise me.

What would you do now?
What are your experiences with the Google Play Store?