The Increasing Demand of Game Testing Services in Entertainment Industry

Entertainment is a serious business, whether we talk about movies or games. The business serves a special target section, extending from children to adults. Gaming is all about the experience. Every game needs to deliver an exciting experience to its target users. With the smartphone and tablets in hands, the gaming business is experiencing an upheaval of sorts, as the reach currently expands to even younger age groups. It has additionally seen changes from a financial outlook with the introduction of freemium models and numerous developers moving far from the conventional retail medium.

All these unique difficulties make it critical that the intuitive game product is released after thorough testing that gives high level of quality assurance over an extensive variety of gaming platforms, for example, mobiles, consoles, PCs and the Internet while guaranteeing that the game is apt for the intended users. As the competition getting severe in gaming industry, the demand of game testing services is increasing across the gaming companies as well as individual game developers.

As the present games are offering greater convergence, the testing scope should necessarily consider localized functionality verification testing, UI testing, Compliance testing, and Compatibility testing that validates the user experience and consistent operation of games across all the platforms. Following are some gaming platforms that game testing services work with –

Consoles – Game testing services have strong expertise in testing games across all console types from all major platform owners such as Nintendo, Microsoft Xbox, and Sony PlayStation. They maintain a prolific inventory for these consoles and keep adding new consoles based on the demand or on the release of new versions.

PC Games – As per a report by ESA, 62% of gamers prefer PC to play games. Thus it becomes imperative to the developers to ensure that the game they are releasing should be bug/defect free.

Online Games – Mass Multiplayer Online games that involve significant large number of players need to be tested before releasing to the public. They require a unique infrastructure to ensure real world simulation, with a large array of both released and unreleased hardware.

Mobile Gaming – Mobile games own 36% of the market share. It is one of the hottest rapidly growing sector in gaming industry. Therefore it is very critical to test your mobile game by a reliable game testing agency. For example, the trending PUBG mobile which is online multiplayer battle royale game had crashed a lot during initial releases however, a thorough game testing service helped improving compatibility and smoothness.

Some testing specifications use by game testing services are –

Load TestingUsability Testing
Mobile TestingExperience Testing
Game Play TestingCompatibility Testing
Platform TestingFunctionality Testing
Multi-Platform TestingLocalization Testing
Online and Network TestingConsole Certification Testing

 

Why Game Testing is Considered as an Inseparable Part of Game Development

The worldwide gaming network is developing and flourishing. To keep this network occupied and engaged, gaming organizations need to always concoct new games to be made accessible through different platforms and channels. These platforms are consoles (the traditional Xbox, PlayStation and others), electronic or web based games played using an internet browser online (including massive multiplayer online games, abbreviated to MMOG, which is a multiplayer computer game that can be played by extensive amounts of players for example Pubg mobile), games played over the social media platforms (including Facebook, twitter etc), and mobile video games played over handheld gadgets utilizing the Android or iOS working operating system (gadgets, for example, smartphone, portable media players and tablets), desktop or PC, and cross-platform systems.

In the game development cycle, game testing is vital. Outsourcing game testing and quality assurance (QA) can build the speed and precision of the game development cycle, and at a lower cost. Game testing will test for issues, for example, functionality, performance, compatibility, consistency, completeness, and will uncover potential programming bugs. Programming and code will be investigated. It isn’t just the specialized angles that will be tried. Game testing likewise covers the outline and fine art (for instance, is it understandable and integrated to the function?), and to test whether the game is engaging, excessively hard or too simple to play.

The game development process is long and complex with game testing done at various stages of the process. In game testing, it is specifically better for a team not engaged with conceptualizing to do the testing. This will make the testing for validation and verification more through and unprejudiced.

Game testing and QA has alpha testing, beta testing and a code freeze. Game testing is additionally done more than once, implying that if there is a bug or defect, this must be settled, then tested again until the game works satisfactorily. All through the procedure, analyzers should have complete documentation. At the point when there is a code freeze, no more changes are permitted on the code. This is likewise viewed as the gold phase of game testing. The game is almost prepared to release.

Knowing the difficult procedure of game development and game testing, gamers can, more or less, anticipate a decent time once the game has been delivered, installed and played.

Exploratory Testing in Video Games and Ad hoc approach

Exploratory Testing in video games is a gameplay that is not a planned approach to testing but naturally progressing in the game with no particular focal point in an attempt to reveal problem areas. Usually, this kind of testing begins with a fresh gameplay experience for the player. Ad hoc testing in games is also a sort of exploratory testing but only with a focus on certain points while already having knowledge of the gameplay area in question. In the Exploratory testing, you can involve a blend of testers including but not limited to certified QA professionals, hard-core gamers, casual gamers and anyone from the community who is happy to explore your game and give you some feedback on it.

Video Games with numerous possibilities of inputs and several outcomes, especially in the open-world categories demand exhaustive testing with technical approach of Functional Testing. Massively Multiplayer Online Games for instance. However, such approach is not always possible or feasible especially when there are certain deadlines or limited working hours for testing. Exploratory Game Testing is necessary in such cases while the tester is focused mainly on end-user scenarios. Imagine an enormous virtual world that supports a significant amount of end-user characters, nonplaying characters and various actions for each character type. To make such virtual world or a video game at least look relevant upon official launch, one obviously needs to go for combinatorial testing while considering end-user perspective. It is not always practical to have a planned approach for testing countless permutations and combinations in open world video games. Even automation or use of bots become irrelevant in many cases. A simple solution to this problem is Exploratory Testing.

Exploratory video game testing is something without a formal test plan. In fact, there is no fixed sequence to test execution in this approach. Agile teams involved in video game development need to follow this method due to numerous input possibilities and resulting outcomes. While following exploratory approach, the tester is expected to not only learn the objectives of the game being tested but also optimise the testing process continually in accordance to the gameplay experience. It is a different matter that precise test plan execution with a traditional approach ready to run in parallel with the help of a matured video game QA team. However, Ad Hoc testing in video games also includes execution of test cases that are prepared and evolved with the help of exploratory test sessions that are already completed.

Although video game testing was not given great importance until recently, the perception of Game Development Studios across the industry is changing slowly, especially when a huge amount is invested in the game development process. Hence game developers and publishers are always exploring various ways to improve the survival chances of their games. Ultimately the key to success is to ‘explore’!

Article by,
Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Benefits Of Outsourcing Game QA Testing Activities To 3rd Party Game Testing Agencies

The best way to carry out extensive testing processes on your game.application is by entrusting the job to a company that specializes in game QA testing services. This will cut down delivery time, reduce costs and give you a quality game application that will satisfy gamers and enhance your brand name.

Testing game applications is a process that takes up a lot of time and effort. Any game application development company needs to deliver the exciting applications in the shortest possible date. Easy solution to this requirement is to hire a company specialised in game QA testing services. Doing so enable reduced delivery time and result in high-performance applications that live up to gamers’ expectations.

Companies that carry out game testing make use of extensive testing procedures which detect problems or bugs so that it can be fixed immediately. They perform various types of advanced testing procedures to find out performance issues. A company offering high-quality game QA testing services does different types of testing such as Functional Testing, Compatibility Testing, Usability Testing, Network Testing and much more. The entire testing process is carried out by testing experts so that the game developer can be sure of getting the best results by using their services.

When bringing out a new game application, the publisher expects it to become famous instantly. They want gamers to prefer playing it over other game apps in the market. Gaining such an edge in the market is possible only if high-quality game applications are delivered along with best gaming experience. To achieve such high level of performance in the fresh game application, it is beneficial to outsource Game Testing processes to experts in the field. They are aware of the latest methods for game software testing. They can carry out extensive testing in the shortest possible time and bring to your notice even small performance so that they can be quickly corrected.

Outsource game testing becomes a viable option if the 3rd party game testing agency with affordable service rates and proven track record is selected. You will find enormous cost-cutting benefits because there is no need to hire an in-house game testing team. An in-house team would require you to spend time in hiring, provide testing equipment, employee management, employee payment, overall infrastructure cost, etc. Outsourcing can avoid all these activities and their associated costs. The time to deliver is reduced because the testing company produces results faster as the team specialises in it and also because testing staff can be made available 24 hours of the day to manage such requirements. The decision to outsource game QA provides more time to the game development team to concentrate on core business activities, enabling them to develop original game applications through which the brand can capture a lead in the market.

When any game studio is outsourcing game QA activities to 3rd party game testing agencies, all the costs associated with testing are easy to cut down. The expert testing staff can immediately find out if there is any problem in the video game so that it can be quickly fixed. This enables the game developer as well as publishers to provide customers with high-performance game applications through which they can enjoy an enriching gaming experience.

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse

Founder & CEO

GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Top QA mistakes that video game developers should avoid in year 2017

The year 2016 was not without ups and downs for the gaming industry. Despite the growth at hyper speeds, the mobile gaming industry has witnessed the end of many studios and numerous layoffs. The mobile game development was never short on excitement and interest, especially among the developers. Still, there are significant flaws ignored consistently in recent periods, affecting the overall quality of games. Here is the list of top five mistakes to avoid:

1) Ignoring Random Feedbacks Of Unhappy Gamers:

Game developers often ignore the negative comments placed by random players. In many cases, the ones who start blasting developers for spoiling the game in a recent post update are shunned. The reason behind this ignorance is upholding the update ideas regardless of the response it gets from end-users. Usually, neither a rollback takes place to immediately fix things nor the complaining player returns due to extreme frustration related to lost items or in-game achievements. Video Game is crashing on individual devices or in a particular region after some update is also a common cause behind user complaints. Due to numerous policies and problems associated with an instant fix to the ‘update,’ the problem remains unsolved for quite some time. This will ultimately lead to the downfall of the mobile game in question.

2) Testing Games On The Limited Number Of Devices Or Emulators:

With limited test coverage, a poor product is guaranteed in today’s market that is packed with a broad range of devices and technologies. A majority of game developers are away from exploring options of wider compatibility testing through 3rd party service providers, despite the availability of affordable solutions in the market. Some require the help of beta user communities to get higher device coverage, although it may not necessarily produce professional results. Users tend to upgrade the firmware to the latest one which is another aspect to be considered. Then various complex scenarios can create critical issues only when tested on actual devices in the real world environment.

3) Trying To Use Automation Everywhere:

Stressing too much on automation has proved to be a failed investment for many in video games. The fact is, only small and predictable part of limited games may benefit from automation, which not also important. Manual testing in games has no alternative. Open world games that demand extensive feedback of gamers, especially in the MMO category can be a good example for this wherein you can consider automation testing as a small add-on, at the most. In my opinion, automation testing can be 100% efficient in video games on the day when robots replace human players! At least till then, game developers need to give more emphasis to manual testing over automation and make productive use of in-house testers, external QA, help from communities/forums and focus groups as needed.

4) Not Having A Balance Between CAPEX & OPEX:

Forming a balance between capital expenditure and operating expenses is still ignored frequently by mobile game developers. This balance is necessary while looking into the rapidly growing number of mobile gamers, not to mention the huge variety of mobile devices that is constantly growing as we discuss the topic. Some studios end up purchasing too many devices that are not relevant on a larger scale. Some end up relying 100% on the external testers who are not necessarily equipped with the required hardware inventory.

For all game development houses, it is always essential to balance between CAPEX and OPEX, especially while avoiding investment in mobile technologies that have an insignificant market life. Game studios can smartly push the cost of hardware and chunk of human resources on external QA houses to balance out everything. That usually helps to reduce the capital expenses, provides access to regularly updated device inventory to satisfy the market demands, and also with the aid of reasonable operating costs with benefits like tax saving and relief from investments in the dangerous hardware game.

5) Not Validating The Game By Juxtaposing With The Top Competition:

In the era of copy-pasted and re-skinned mobile games, not every developer thinks of innovation or uniqueness to stand tall in the crowd. Very few games in the market are validated with manual efforts and revised after assessing the positives and negatives of the top competing sets. Some developers rely too much on a community of gamers with a mindset stuck in a single genre, freebie mentality or the followers of pure ideology- “I don’t care what happens to your game in the end!”

Numerous issues associated with the overall quality of the video game with often ignored points above on the front are responsible for making the mobile game development business riskier than ever. Selection of equitable 3rd Party Game QA and Validation services ought to play a major role in the matter.

 

Article by,
Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

An Insight Into Various Stages Of Game Testing

One can’t talk about game compatibility testing without highlighting the need for the detailed process that subjugates a game through various stages of testing before the mentioned game makes its way to the end users. Even if the last two years saw a surge in the game publishers interest in live user testing, with development firms throwing their weights behind live testing as the most preferred methodology – game testing services still run on a set of mundane but essential steps that one can’t ignore yet.

What are these stages of tests? How do the game developers and user community benefit from it?

Here in this article, we shall try to look at some of these important points.

Closed Alpha:

This is one of the preliminary game testing stages and is carried out by a team of users to find bugs that may not have been spotted during development and other initial tests.

The primary purpose of Closed Alpha testing is to refine the software product by finding and fixing bugs that were not discovered earlier (during the development process).

This test is performed exclusively by the game testers where they simulate real user environment by performing all the steps that the actual users might perform.

Closed Beta:

The Closed Beta stage is quite the same as the Closed Alpha testing with the only difference that it’s much more extensive. This test is also open to users (primarily gamers) who may want to try out a game title and participate in the testing process by pointing out bugs that hinder the natural game-play. This phase is important, given the fact that the handful of testers involved in Alpha testing may not be able to discover all the bugs. The number of people involved in Closed Beta testing can be hundreds or even thousands on occasion. The bugs identified are resolved before it goes to the next stage of testing.

Usually the Closed Alpha and Closed Beta involves a limited number of testers by sending invitations to specific individuals.

Open Beta:

Termed as the pre-release stage of the game, it is open to all users who want to try their hands at the game. Since most of the bugs are taken care of in the previous stages (though bugs identified are still welcome), it is aimed at enhancing the user experience. Based on the feedback received from the user’s new features, functionalities may be added to the game.

Some smaller tests contribute to the success of live user testing, and these are –

  • ‘Fun Factor’ Test – Developers might consider something funny/interesting and engaging, but the same could be perceived very differently by users. This test helps understanding how users ‘receive’ the game.
  • Balance Test – The step involves monitoring components such as the usage, functionally or difficulty level in the game. This step engages tonnes of data.
  • Learnability Test – This intends to find answers to the questions like ‘is the game user-friendly’, ‘are users finding it difficult to learn the game’ etc. Game testers can gather quality feedback via this test.
  • Reliability Test – This step checks the factor of the reliability of a game – when the same is put under maximum stress resulting out of a large count of users engaged at a particular point in time. Useful for online, server-based games.

A video/computer game development is an endeavour that requires skill and an excellent marketing plan to ensure the success of the title. Proper testing is just the platform on which the future of the title rests.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Comprehensive Testing: The Only Way To Ensure Seamless Gaming Experience

If someone has to describe the worst in the fate of a computer/console game title, it would be about those glitches and bugs, which do not allow the game to load correctly and those unexpected crashes. It does not only leaves a sour taste in the mouth of a gamer, but such sort of bitter experience in the middle of a game makes for more count of disgruntled players.

A distraught player might vent out his/her anger by posting nasty comments about the game on various social media networks and also encourage others not to play that game. And in the process ensure that the game publisher realises the need of being doubly cautious, before hurriedly dishing out a title in the future!

Happy Gamers, Happy Industry:

By all means, the bedrock of any successful Xbox, PlayStation, an online or mobile-device-based game is comprehensive game testing engagement. The manifestation of which should be based upon thoroughly conceived and designed methods – evolved over a period of time, as per the evolution, demands and growing reach of the technology.

But then, with the advent of new technology and augmentation in the demands, it has become an overwhelming challenge for the companies to keep gamers happy – no matter which platform the game is targeted for. Quality Assurance has to be the top priority for publishers, and there should not be anything left to assumptions or possibilities of compromise – at any stage.

A little glitch in quality has to be fixed quickly in time, and if that does not happen, then, companies need to take the full responsibility by apologising to the gamers.

Recently, Ubisoft accepted that their latest release of Assassin’s Creed could not live up to the expectations of gamers, as bugs and technical glitches hampered its overall quality. The company failed to fix the bugs in time and then its CEO Yannis Mallat had to issue a public apology to gamers regarding the bad gaming experience.

But apologies hardly make for good business.

So what should publishers do?

They may start by following the below-mentioned methods:

Integration Of Quality Techniques:

To avoid any possibility of loophole to creep in at any stage, testing process must follow an integrated quality-driven approach; where it gets along with the game development process from the start to the end. Such an approach enables creators to meet the expectations of players by checking the performance at every stage, without needing to compromise on the overall security and functionality of the game.

While functional testing deals with a crash, graphics and audio issues, compliance testing filters of any flawed hardware combinations and ensures that all the technical and functional specification compliance standards are followed without fail. More importantly, major portions of both the tests can be conducted in the process of a game being developed.

Subscribe To The Services Of A Professional:

From ensuring top-notch usability to new player experience testing, there are professional game testing companies, which offer a complete package of services to ensure a mutually rewarding experience to game creators and gamers. A game publisher, after (or even without) conducting an in-house test – and before releasing a title public – may consult a professional to check for possible errors.

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Online Casino Software Testing: Ensuring The Utmost Fair-Play

Online casino games represent a multi-billion dollar industry which has seen its ups and downs over the years. The more recent times, however, has seen as a consistent surge in the number of online casino players throughout the world. Obviously, trust and fair play have been the bedrock of this industry and will be an essential component in the times to come.

The surging popularity highlights the growing need for every casino game or slot game to go through well-devised and rigorous testing stages before it is launched among users/players.

Steps In A Casino/Slot Game Test

A comprehensive casino game testing begins as soon as a game is designed/developed. The game has to go through a rigorous alpha testing phase where it is tested through simulation of millions of slot spins.

The step following next involves collation and analysis of each result and efforts to skim the output about the expected pay-out percentage of each slot. Reaching the next stage of testing, the game involves a third party check. It’s only after multiple checks that the 100% even-handedness of the slot game is ensured.

In many cases, it’s only once the game developers/publishers are done with testing the title at their end that the services of a certified (and importantly experienced) testing facilities – to double-check everything and further ensure that nothing has been missed – is subscribed to.

Testing ‘Times’ In The Wake Of Social Sites And Smartphones


Nowadays, when online social networking and use of smartphones have been experiencing unprecedented growth, it has become a necessity for game makers to opt for refined solutions when it comes to slot game testing. Thanks to the amalgamation of Facebook and mobile platforms in online gaming, the casino industry has seen a $2.7 billion growth worldwide.

It Is A Great Sign For The Industry But It Also Brings A Lot Of Challenges On The Forefront.

With the introduction of smartphones and tablet devices in online gaming, publishers have been opting for a planned and through auditing techniques where, to plug all the loopholes, third-party testing services (even at times, involving real-time users). In this case, after a title goes through various testing phases the complete set of (casino/slot game) performance logs are provided to another company – the third-party, i.e. The professional testing team then tests the game title’s compatibility across various platforms inclusive of Facebook, mobiles phones and tablets.

Be Cautious – Despite All The Good Efforts Laid In…

Though all the necessary steps are taken care of in a regular testing phase, random crashes may still occur during crucial spins. But even if the title publishers can never rule out technical glitches, but users may stay assured of the fact that popular online casino games are licensed and come under the parameters of licensing jurisdiction. For publishers, intense testing can ensure a reduction in the incidents of random crashes and ‘score update’-related issues.

To maintain the utmost trust and fairness among users, it is imperative for the companies to remain abreast to upgraded methods of testing, which is essential for the growth and sustenance of this industry in general.

And yes, it is important for users to choose and trade their money on certified casino sites to stay out of harm’s way!

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

The Risks In Beta Game Testing: Game Publishers’ ‘Must Know’ Facts

Beta game testing is one of the most crucial stages of the game development process. It is the last chance to unearth bugs in the game before it is released for the users. A single bug is all that would take to deliver a killer blow to the fate of a game title. As a game publisher and most importantly as QA/tester here is how you should be dealing with risks for a game in beta testing. To start, it is impossible for you to consider every probable event or series of events in the game and test them. That would make the testing process very expensive and lengthy and humanly impossible.

It thus becomes necessary look for bugs that are likely to have a significant impact on the user experience. You can rate the bugs based on the likelihood of their occurrence and impact of the game. Bugs which are highly likely and would cause heavy impact should be tackled first then followed by others. It works like a filtering process where you keep talking out the most harmful contaminant from the solution.

To lower the risks during the testing process, it is important that you unearth cluster of bugs rather than searching for isolated bugs in the game. This would make it possible for the developers to simultaneously resolve the issue and ensure the end product nears perfection. In a true sense, you cannot eliminate all the risks in a game during the testing stage, but you can reduce the risks to a level where they don’t impact the functionality and user experience in the game.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

 

Microsoft To Make Your Favorite Kinect Games Playable On Web Browser

Microsoft Kinect Games rely on motion sensing input and have been among the most popular genres in the Xbox platform. No wonder why today Kinect game testing is itself a bigger industry compared to the total of many other consoles-based games. With the overwhelming popularity of cloud computing, Microsoft is all set to bring these games to your browser. Microsoft was said to be moving slow on the cloud-based gaming front. That’s understandable given the overwhelming popularity of its Xbox platform.

The technology giant slowly realises the need to wake up at the dawn of a new era where people might move away from consoles or these wonderful gadgets might need to be a part of the cloud. A recent project showcased the company’s cloud-based gaming service that would introduce Kinect for Windows desktop environment.

Some experts also believe that Microsoft’s delay with the cloud-based service may not have been deliberate as it was working on offering a great experience to the users. We aren’t talking about Solitaire or Minesweeper but real Xbox-like experience on the browser.

Gamers would be able to enjoy Xbox One as the latest titles are being tested and would be made available when this service is launched. Microsoft insiders say that the team is working on offering the 60 fps feature just like the Xbox on the browser and this would be the next big revolution in the gaming industry. It would be a game changer for Microsoft as it would be able to remove the console from the equation when it comes to the serious gaming market.

For Kinect game developers and QA experts – and players, of course, there’s lot to hope for soon. And only the time will tell if Microsoft’s expectations will meet the reality.

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd