This post is a checklist for game developers and product managers to use during the pre-launch period and some important metrics to track immediately post launch. We are assuming that the game has been developed(and tested) and is in the final stages of going live in a single country.

I made this list originally about 8 months back as part of launching PLO at Paytm First Games and have edited it minimally for this blog post.

Pre launch checklist

Imagine you are launching a game on Google Play Store. This document gives you a high level checklist to run through to make sure you don’t miss any pre-requisites before your deployment. This is a very generic checklist not specific to a platform or region and this is why you wont see any mention of build file types or translation. Also this is for the final launch not for soft launch and experiments before worldwide publishing. At every step of the checklist ensure that you have a “Final approver” who owns the individual items.

  • Pre-register app campaigns to build up excitement and the rush of install on Day 1. Make sure to open up pre-registration a couple weeks before your launch
  • Ensure that you have the game icon, screenshots, advertising banners, social promotional banners, sneak peak trailer, launch video trailer, advertising optimized videos and the emailer/mailing list ready for launch date
  • Assuming that QA has signed off on the game(including analytics pipelines/reports testing and game load testing), we should also be doing QA for the banner/video ads, IAP, referral system, app store review system and basically any additional SDK that is baked into the game
  • Get a team ready for player support. They should be equipped with FAQs, should be able to answer general queries and available through email and any game forums. Do a CST tool integration also if necessary
  • Setup an escalation matrix in case of emergencies for tech, art, server, QA, marketing, acquisition, analytics, live ops legal and the core game
  • Research competitors to make sure there aren’t any impending launches coming up around your launch date. Analyze the CPI for various games in the same genre, theme, or even monetization model. Consider your options and budget for promoting, maintaining the game as part of this process.
  • Make sure to have your influencer marketing pipeline ready for Day 1 of launch
  • Copy/content for keywords, short/long description of the game, emailers (prelaunch and launch), PR, social posts should be ready as well

Post launch tracking

This section of the document deals with some important stuff you should be tracking after your game is launched.

  • Traffic/Views/Download/Install/Sign up/Finish tutorial (funnel analysis)
  • Leads generated from launch campaigns
  • Acquisition funnel at a channel level along with promo channel metrics
  • Number of downloads
  • Cost per install
  • User stickiness (DAU/WAU, WAU/MAU). Should also be measured at a channel/affiliate level to measure quality of incoming traffic
  • Retention and churn rates (for different time periods)
  • Conversion rate, time to first purchase and average revenue per install
  • Day 1 minutes played vs Day 2 retention
  • DAU return % vs DAU/MAU
  • Daily revenue (DAU * conversion rate * ARPDAU) and customer lifetime value
  • Minutes per day and per session. Also measure time between sessions
  • Level progression and retention rates for each level (assuming you have some kind of tiered progression inside the game)
  • k-factor (% of referral invites which were accepted and on-boarded). Sort of measures the viral nature of the game
  • Customer support ticket reports, IAP reports, daily play store review reports