GDC 2018: Shoestring Soft Launch – Low Budget High Value Launch Strategy

by Tom Kinniburgh

It’s been a month since GDC 2018 and if you visited San Fransisco and perhaps even saw my talk live, thank you! If like most people you missed it, here are the slides and link to the GDC Vault:

Shoestring Soft Launch GDC Vault

Shoestring Soft Launch – Low Budget, High Value Launch Strategy for mobile games from Tom Kinniburgh

The talk focuses on being a practical guide to preparing, running and analysing your games soft launch.  Whatever the size and scale of your studio I consider a soft launch critical in the process of creating a successful product on the store.  There have been so many different methods to soft launch and so much confusion that I tried to sum it up in a guide.  The guide keeps it simple and light and focus’ on the maximum bang for $2000 of spend.  A big focus is the idea of bursting a soft launch rather than running an always on campaign, this can save you money and keep your team focused on development rather than watching your numbers all the time. The bigger your studio the more refined your marketing and soft launch tactics might be, but hopefully there is something in there for everyone!


  1. Definition of a Soft Launch
    1. What?
    2. When?
    3. Why?
  2. Before you Soft Launch
    1. AARRR + GQM Data design
    2. KPI / Dashboard Setup
    3. Audience and Location choosing
  3. Running a Soft Launch
    1. Bursting
    2. Analysing
    3. Critical Decisions