With rich graphics, features, and functionalities, the concept of video gaming has completely transformed. Over time, people have started to lean over video games for not only entertainment purposes but as a part of their professional life. And the hype simply reflects as the gaming industry has developed huge scope in the market as millions of games are launched every year on various mobile and gaming platforms.
Nevertheless, games that belong to certain platforms (iOS, Android, and Windows, etc.) are further divided into different categories and domains. However, the release process and post-launch objectives have everything to do with QA testing video games. In other words, testers working under the Game testing domain have to be highly versatile when it comes to rich gameplay and customer experience.
The extensive competition and informed users have all made Game QA testing a requisite for the game development process. The process aims to identify bugs and ensure the desired response could be offered to the gamers. Usually, the video game testing part is done right during the prototyping stages, while the content is constantly monitored during development, launch, as well as market release.
Moreover, the game QA testing teams analyze the entire code and documents to locate any defects that need repair and may affect the gaming experience. Let's just quickly dig into a bit more detail on understanding the significance of QA in game testing while learning for the emerging trends and best practices that can help craft some of the best games out there.
Significance of QA in Game Testing
Video games are all about offering an interactive experience to the users, and therefore the process to drive that seamlessness in entertainment works right through game testing. Moreover, video games are highly enjoyable products, and missing any detail that restricts such fun is simply a no to sales quotient.
Besides, games are meant to be released for the maximum user base, and this needs game developers to ensure a quality experience for different platforms, either it is PlayStation, XBOX, PCs, or mobile devices. Since coding procedures often anticipate unforeseen issues, QA testing games allow offering a bug-free product to the users. Moreover, it is vital to ensure the right brand image is portrayed to the users as one bad game could lead to extensive criticism and a huge effect on overall sales associated with a gaming company.
Though game testing is very much similar to conventional software testing practices, the fun element, seamless navigation, usability are some advanced factors that need testers to focus on the QA goals of a video game. Moreover, QA in game testing allows testers to run through all the demographic elements associated with a product which are significantly necessary to target game enthusiasts across the world.
Emerging Trends in Game Testing
As per the reports shared by Statista, the global gaming market has been estimated to be 37 billion USD, while the mobile gaming market has managed to generate an income of around 77 billion USD. With all these growth figures increasing day by day, the industry is still growing with so many emerging trends that have made it much more necessary to work on video games QA. Some of the few interesting and widely growing trends that are likely to make it up to the future of the gaming industry and game testing could be recognized as:
One of the primary trends that are going to be a challenge for the game testing service providers would be aligning with the software and hardware innovations associated with the industry. However, if it is something that is going to make the best out of testing would be mobile gaming. With the likeliness to reach a 59 percent share in the market by 2021, mobile gaming is something worth exploring to meet QA goals.
The next big trend that the game testing industry needs to pay attention to is localization testing services. Since the goal of gaming companies is to reach the greatest number of users, QA tester for video games has to ensure that the content and features must be localized to serve different regions. Since this involves checking on content errors as well as UI compliance goals and cultural patterns will make it easier for gaming companies to enter new markets.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Though VR technology is something that is constantly evolving, incorporating the technology into games has definitely given a new impression to the users. From improved interactions to enhanced communication and realistic adventures, VR has the potential to redefine the entire world of gaming. Thus, VR testing is another important factor that testers need to align into their game testing practices so that a perfect combination of actions, characters, graphics, and sound could be offered.
Five Things To Keep in Mind While Testing the Games
Either it is online games or offline games, a third person user or first person, a tester must be ready to tackle different obstacles that may come his way. There are below mentioned five things that tester should keep in mind while testing a game.
1. Multiplayer Feature: Testing the game for a multiplayer feature can be an agonized task, especially if the players belong to a different area. Multiplayer games are hard to test, debug, and sometimes impossible to reproduce the bugs, and games can break easily.
One way to be successful in testing such a game is by ensuring robust designs and also the use of the development framework (like Unity).
When it comes to games on mobile, they should be tested on the latest Android and latest iOS devices by themselves. It also requires the use of realistic cross-connection networks and cross-platform before any mobile device testing can be done.
2. Game Authenticity Challenges: No gamer would ever want their saved game, or high score ruined just because there is a bug in the game's authentication module.
Imagine spending session after sessions worth of time (and possibly dollars on buying those weapons and gears), unlocking those difficult levels only to find out that you have lost everything because the game forgot your last saved game data along with the unlocked levels (and weapons)!
3. Testing in Various Game Engines: As they say, choosing the right game engine often proves to be the first step in deciding the success (or failure) of a game.
With the advent of so many games platforms over the past few years and the release of the latest generation of consoles like the Play Station 4, Wii U, and Microsoft Xbox One, selecting the right game engine can be difficult.
With so many game engines available for each of these platforms, it can be a hair-pulling moment if you're a game tester. e.g., Many PlayStation games are developed using the GameMaker game engine, while most online casinos like Mansion Casino prefer Playtech!
Although this is a decision that is often taken by the game executives and lead programmers, as a game tester, it means you have to be trained and ready to test in most (if not all) of these latest game engines and platforms.
Suggested Read: Case Study on Motion Sensor Game Testing
4. Ensuring Accurate Social Integration: It was not too long back when Facebook introduced social media games in 2013 when the launch of Wii U (and Miiverse that came with it) made it obvious that social integration and social media as a whole were going to play a major role in games over the coming years.
Today, the games are becoming increasingly more connected to various social networks, but this also means that as game testers, you will have to be even more attentive.
These kinds of games need to be tested with caution since it has the capability to break or make a company's reputation.
5. Game' Ability to Withstand Heavy, Concurrent Load: No testing is complete without a round of good, old load testing before the product can be launched, and it applies to Game Testing as well.
With more and more network-based games emerging every day and the focus shifting to MMO and MMORPG games, your game should be tested to withstand real-time concurrent load before it can be shipped.
Summing it up, the gaming industry is an industry with huge potential, and therefore, it is extremely necessary that the existing game testing practices must be revised to align with futuristic impressions. Though manual testing is the best approach to be followed for game testing initiatives, it is important that existing QA strategies should be revised.
On top of that, Load testing should be done to achieve consistent performance across all hardware/software/platform/device combinations that your target audience might use. Since automation technology has managed to attain a great reputation in the world of testing, it can definitely be involved in the back-end and development process. Besides, there is an equal need to recognize performance testing at both the client and server-side so that future games should be optimized to create an ethical and secure experience.
Apart from this, penetration testing techniques could be fostered to ensure that future games should not be exploited to cause revenue loss. This might even involve the use of AI technology since AI in the gaming industry is something that already defines the next decade's reality of the gaming world.
Need help with your gaming project? Our experts at BugRaptors can help you make the most out of your video games QA goals.