Apple is set to allow developers to offer region-specific pre-orders for upcoming titles or games which are already available for download in other markets.
This means that developers can offer pre-orders for both existing apps and new apps that have not yet launched in certain regions. The description from Apple reads, “Pre-orders let you release your app in specific regions and set a different release date for each region. With this flexibility, you can offer pre-orders for brand-new apps that have never been published on the App Store and use them to bring existing apps into new regions.”
The new system differs in that it means that staggered release dates can now be implemented, making games visible to users before the game is available in their region. Pre-ordering such a title on iOS means that when the game is subsequently released in their region it will be automatically downloaded without having to catch that users attention and intent for a second time and that the game will be installed and up and running on launch day.
In short, big name titles will be discoverable even to players who can’t download them yet, and they’ll instantly be added to their devices when they become available in their region.
The new means of pre-ordering means that developers can - in one process - tailor their release schedule to specific regions. As areas of the globe like MENA see increased interest from developers and publishers alike it becomes increasingly important for releases and discoverability to be as convenient as possible for vast new audiences.
Pre-orders are also a great way for developers and publishers to gauge interest in a game at an early point, even before launch, and are one of the few open ways for them to measure users through iOS. For example, Monster Hunter Now, Niantic’s latest AR title, launched with over three-million pre-registrations. Although it’s not clear how many remain engaged after launch such figures do give developers a gauge on how much post-release update work they should prepare for and how popular their title will ahead of its release.