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Plants vs. Zombies 2 gets 'soft launch' in Australia today

Worldwide launch held back for further testing of online mechanics

PopCap will give its much-anticipated iOS sequel Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time a 'soft launch' in Australia and New Zealand today, despite last month's delay.

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Plants vs. Zombies 2 was headed for a July 18 release before PopCap announced a last-minute delay to 'later in the summer'.

While the developer remained vague on its reasons for the delay at the time, senior producer Allen Murray has recently told Polygon that, predictably, the extra time was required for focus testing, hence the early release in Australia.

"The first Plants vs. Zombies can be played offline, but with Plants vs. Zombies 2 we're taking advantage of a lot of newer technologies," said Murray. "If you're connected to the internet, you can save your progress and share accounts across multiple devices - and we need to make sure those systems, along with our ability to stream that content to players, works."

To test its systems, the developer is hosting a soft launch in Australia and New Zealand - relatively small markets compared to US and Europe, making them perfect testbeds for the game's online systems and pricing structures.

"We didn't want to launch in a large region, but we wanted to work in a region that had similar economic behavior [as North America]," said Murray.

"While the more players you have the better, our major reason for keeping the testing pool small was because we don't know our backend stability yet. If we had more players than we could account for, some of the systems might fall over," he explained.

"We want to be double confident, so we're testing it in a smaller region. This allows us to have a more controlled testing player base and determine how to keep the game healthy, then map that to the expected growth when we launch worldwide."

The game's launch remains set at a vague 'late summer'.

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