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3 things to learn from pokemon gos disasterous launch

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Avoid the mistakes that Niantic (the developers of Pokemon Go) made so your next launch goes off smoothly and successfully.

Pokemon Go launched on July 6th and in two weeks, got over 30 MILLION downloads. But there were a lot of rocky roads, and angry users.

There were many problems that plagued the launch that could have been cleared up if Niantic followed these tips beforehand.

For more video game business strategies, join the www.SeriousGameDevsOnly.com community.


"New York Pokémon D&P Launch Party" by Rob Brooks is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Pokemon Jet (Ohana Jumbo & Pikachu Jumbo)" by PROHaseo is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Pokemon ORAS, Welcome to the Family!" by Adam Purves (S3ISOR) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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3 things to learn from pokemon gos disasterous launch

  1. 1. 3 things to learn from Pokemon Go's disastrous launch Learn from Niantic’s mistakes so your launches go off without a hitch!
  2. 2. Pokemon Go didn't have a smooth launch. [image of angry tweets, reddit, facebook, etc] Learn from their mistakes!
  3. 3. Pokemon Go’s launch numbers Downloads in the first 7 days = 10mil+ @PokemonGoApp 1.07m followers (# as of July 22, 2016. Official Twitter page) FB: PokemonGo 323k Likes (# as of July 22, 2016. Official Pokemon Go Facebook page) /r/PokemonGo 690k subscribers (# as of July 22, 2016. Unofficial Subreddit) Download numbers via Sensor Tower: https://sensortower.com/blog/pokemon-go-download-record Hashtag count via Wired.UK: (http://www.wired.co.uk/article/the-phenomenal-impact-of-pokemon-go-in-data)) Hashtag Count: 5,982,616,734 (For #PokemonGo - the count in the first week!)
  4. 4. Niantic, the developer of Pokemon Go, was not prepared for the rush.
  5. 5. Fortunately, the Pokemon franchise has over 20 years of branding power, confidence, and goodwill behind it. Even with major launch problems, die-hard fans still supported them. This kept happening.
  6. 6. Lots of games and side-games in the series. And a freakin’ airplane.Community events and memorable characters.
  7. 7. If this was ANY other product, this would be unacceptable. (Boy -- that Pokemon Airplane looked pretty cool!)
  8. 8. A failed launch can destroy your years of hard work and even ruin your reputation.
  9. 9. So what can you learn from Pokemon Go's disastrous launch to use for your own launches?
  10. 10. TIP #1: Release your product in a controlled environment. (A soft launch)
  11. 11. Pokemon Go Launched to 2 territories (U.S and Australia) Pokemon X/Y sales (2014) 15 million units Smartphone ownership in Australia 15.4 million users Smartphone ownership in the U.S. 171 million users Sales information from: https://www.nintendo.co. jp/ir/en/sales/software/3ds.html
  12. 12. Niantic failed to predict how many users would download the game. That lead to -- Via http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2016/07/09/canada-europe-uk-south-america-pokemon-go-international-release-paused-for-server-problems/#72a39cb5736a
  13. 13. Soft launches allow you to control your reach to see what potential kinks that can happen. Soft launching allows you to: ● Test systems and server infrastructure ● Gather usage data ● Find and fix bugs and errors ● Receive feedback from early users
  14. 14. Video game soft launch Examples: King of Thieves (iOS and Android) Official Launch on Android: March 2015 Official Launch on iOS: Feb 12, 2015 Soft Launch: Sept 2014 (Soft launched under the title ‘Thieves’ in Canada) http://www.pocketgamer.biz/interview/61122/soft-launch-your-game-as-soon-as-possible/ http://www.pocketgamer.biz/feature/60621/36-top-games-in-soft-launch-from-rabbids-heroes-and-plants-vs-zombies- heroes-to-dc-comics-legends-and-breaking-bad/list/ WWE: Champions Official Launch on Android/iOS: TBA 2016 Soft Launch: Dec 2015 (Soft launched in Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Sweden)
  15. 15. Candy is tested in local markets before released nationally. Movie goers are given private screenings before major releases. TV shows create a pilot before TV execs greenlight a full season. Other industries who use soft launches:
  16. 16. TIP #2 Transparency goes a long way.
  17. 17. Pokemon Go had a number of problems.
  18. 18. The official accounts left vague messages about the issues. 12 tweets in 14 days. (Not counting retweets. From Launch to July 21) @NianticLabs, the twitter account of the developers, was equally quiet. Even their change logs were vague. 531 angry emojis, 221 sad emojis. Ignoring all of the ‘please bring Pokemon Go to my country’ comments, the next highest comments are about server issues.
  19. 19. A fan-made PokemonGo twitter account, providing updates and engaging tweets. 521 tweets in 14 days. (Not counting retweets. From Launch to July 21) Downdetector.com was letting users know if the game was really broken, or if it was just them. Third-party accounts had to fill in the gap. Since there was no official messages, video game news blogs became the go-to source for updates.
  20. 20. Be transparent by keeping users in the loop with what happened, next steps, and a rough idea of things to come. Customers will be far more forgiving of mistakes if a company has a history of being forthright with all interactions -- not just the negative ones. ” “ Robert Craven, CEO of Megafoods Via https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244474
  21. 21. When Help Scout, (a help desk software for small businesses) had an outage, they preemptively emailed their entire customer base with this email. How Help Scout does it
  22. 22. How Workflowy does it + Customer Feedback Workflowy (a cloud-based organizational tool) was having server issues for over 3 days. This was their message. The post is here: https://blog.workflowy. com/2016/07/19/the-explanation-for-our-recent- downtime/
  23. 23. And the feedback from Workflowy customers.
  24. 24. TIP #3: Be prepared with crowd control.
  25. 25. Niantic missed a big opportunity to keep players in the conversation, instead opting in for the military- esque ‘need to know’ information. Via AppAnnie -- https://www.appannie.com/apps/ios/app/pokemon-go/details/ Pokemon Go's iTune Store Update page log
  26. 26. The Pokemon Go fanbase felt unheard.
  27. 27. Without any official information, users expressed their anger in different ways.
  28. 28. And no official word from anybody on the Niantic team. *Cough* They could have used a community manager.
  29. 29. A community manager or face of the company that can help with communications. The benefits of someone in charge of crowd control: • They can stomp out rumors before they spread. • They can discover problems immediately and inform the team. • They can keep customers in the loop. They can even turn boring updates into positive stories, making customers feel like the hero.
  30. 30. Blizzard (developers of World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch) are legendary for keeping their fans in the know. Via: https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/4dggt0/awesome_blizzard_support_made_my_day/ They provides in-depth change logs, reasons for specific update to their games, and even engage in friendly camaraderie while providing support.
  31. 31. Having someone who can provide support can go a long way. Via https://www.shopify.com/blog/6992318-4-examples-of-excellent-customer-service-on-facebook
  32. 32. To go through these tips again : TIP #1 - Testing it in a small area (a soft launch) TIP #2 – Transparency goes a long way TIP #3 - Be prepared with crowd control
  33. 33. Rocky Kev Founder of Serious Game Devs Only SeriousGameDevsOnly.com Twitter: @rockykev
  34. 34. For more marketing strategies, audience building strategies, and PR strategies specific to game development, Join the Serious Game Developers Only community -- For devs who treat game development like a business. Want more? Get additional resources and bonuses so you can launch successfully at: SeriousGameDevsOnly. com

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