Testing express

Testing express

Friday, February 1, 2013

Is Playing a Game same as Game testing?(part2)

This is a continuation from my previous post

There are different categories of games, I will categorize them in only 2 ways

1.Play free
2.Play with real money

Play free, as you all know are available on many game sites and social networking sites, you just need to login and then play.

There are another category of games, gambling-oriented games that let people win or loose actual cash. Here, you create an account, deposit money and play....that's it.

Console games - Here you need to purchase hardware and the game software to play, you need to invest cash to buy

There are other ways of making a player invest real cash in a game in the form of buying virtual currency, gifts...etc

Now let me comeback to the topic of Game testing and Playing.

If you are a tester who is testing the first category of games that are for free or the second category for real cash, the approach of testing would be different. there would be different strategy because the aim of building the games is different in each case from a business perspective. The is taken into consideration while testing the games.

Now, If I am a game player or user who loves to play game, why the hell must I bother about the business perspective. My aim is entertainment. I want to play the game to enjoy. I will play the game and only complaint or get frustrated if I face some problem while playing, either I report the problem or don't comeback to this game or site. If I like the game I may give my feedback and suggest for more features.

A game player plays for himself to enjoy while a game tester tests the game from different stakeholders perspectives and sees that game adds value to both end-user and company.

In addition, a game tester also has to be technical to understand the the system which provide different features apart from the game itself. For example

1.If you are testing a single player client based game developed using client side technologies like javascript, html5,css, major testing efforts are focused on the game functionality, user experience and compatibility

2.If you are testing a multi player game eg; gambling games, which has client-server and database and a whole group of supporting servers, the testing scope and efforts increase. This kind of system is complex and a challenge for testers. Integration testing, database testing, system testing, backend testing, performance testing need to be considered in addition to the client side testing.

A tester needs to understand the whole system and should be able to create good tests that can uncover defects.Test team needs to be in sync with other teams in order to rollout a good game. The competition in the gaming market demands new features quickly to retain users and attract new one's. This puts pressure on  all teams including QA to rollout quality games ASAP.

The severity or importance of a missed critical defect in a game is felt when

1. your game crashes at peak user traffic and your users are seen on a competitor's site :)
2. player looses real cash eventhough he has won the game
3. game is not playable on a popular device
4. player's game is reset to level1 after he has crossed 10 levels spending hours on clicking next level

If you still feel that playing a game is same as testing a game you are kidding me? :)

I am not aware of how the console based games are tested or how the beta testers work. I would be interested in knowing that.

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