To Test, or Not to Test?
Why are indie developers shy to enter new markets? We’ve heard the same answers from indies all over the world: it will cost a lot of money, success is a gamble, and they just might not have enough knowledge about a particular market to feel comfortable making the investment. Patrick Yip over at the OneSky blog wrote a great piece about how to use crowdfunding and localization to help you test your games. He’s got some great advice that applies to Western markets, but what about Korea and North East Asia?
We often hear of developers eager to take on the opportunities in Korea and China, or conquer the Japanese market and compete with the hall-of-fame IPs of Sega, Nintendo, and Sony. But financial and mental roadblocks always seem to prevent them from taking action. Just like Patrick says, it doesn’t have to be expensive and risky. If you’re looking to enter Korea, it just requires a bit of tweaking to your strategy. In this post, we’ll give you some tips on testing market interest in Korea on shoestring budget.
Test in App Stores, Don’t Try to Crowdfund
While Kickstarter and Indie-GoGo have certainly cemented their value in western markets, in Korea and Japan in particular, crowdfunding indies have a tendency to be viewed as amateur beggars. One look at the Kickstarter projects page for Seoul and you can see that it is a ghost town. Rather than look to crowdfunding, there are three common strategies for testing interest in your games in Korea:
1) Find a partner company and get them to run focus group testing for you. Latis Global provides focus group testing at extremely affordable rates based on the scale our clients need.
2) Run a focus group test through a technical college that focuses on gaming and have students and professors provide feedback.
3) Soft launch in a small app store and see the kind of attention you gather. Some excellent options include:
Launching in the Samsung store provides the extra bonus that your game will be automatically QA’d for all Samsung devices. This is due to a corporate policy that all games in the store must run on all Samsung devices.
As Patrick noted in his post, it is highly recommended that you localize your app store pages into your target languages if you want to get an accurate gauge of interest in your games.
Find Feedback in the Local Gaming Community
Last, but not least, find feedback in online forums and gaming portals. Their users are often excited about gaming and eager to participate. This is one area where sourcing from the crowd is possible.
Probably the most active app forums in the country, HungryApp and Inven offer a massive user base to tap into for feedback. Once your game has been posted to some of the smaller app stores, you can open a forum on these sites and see what kind of feedback you get. Note that both websites are run in Korean, so it will likely require you to hire a point person to handle it, though this can be done for relatively cheap.
While crowdsourcing is a great tool that can be used to tap into new markets, taking a measure of the Korean market requires a different strategy. If you have to test on a budget, consider soft launching in some small app stores with a localized product page and gauge interest through community forums. The audience you’ll reach are more likely to be game hobbyists that are genuinely interested in providing feedback and evangelize your games.
Have you tried testing your apps in Korea or Asia? Were your strategies successful? Why or why not? Leave a comment or tweet @CurtisFile. As always, make sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more about making your games a global success.