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I am starting to question the efficacy of soft launching in countries like AU, CA, UK etc in order to inform a global launch (USA) later on because the psychographics and volume of those countries are just so different from the US. Is there a big drawback to just soft launching in the US and scaling up? Does the App Store penalize apps that have been there a while with low DAU?
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If we're only talking about the Appstore there isn't a huge drawback if you just soft launch in the US and scale up. The App Store does not penalize apps with low DAU overtime, Apps with little to no marketing penalize themselves with low DAU.

However this begs the question, then why do companies still do it? An app can only globally launch once and it is important to make a good impression. Also a big factor to any launch is global featuring. Can you take a wild guess what is easier to pitch for a global featuring? An app that is untested in a live environment? or an app that's been tested for the past 6 months is crash free and the dev team is confident it will do well in a big market?

What if that live environment was that core market itself? Then it's not new and it's not really a launch anymore. See there's an intrinsic value to having never been launched somewhere. A proxy indication is better than no indication at all.

On Google Play there is a draw back though. I work in games but All new games get ranked on the new games section for their first month after launch so soft launching in a major market leaves you out of this window.
by (430 points)