This blog is dedicated to all aspiring gamers who want to pursue game testing career but are skeptical because of some misconceptions about the gaming domain. So, lets get down to the nitty gritty to understand the importance and criticality of a Game Tester’s role.
According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, the total game revenue is estimated is 27,547 Million Dollars in the US. Huge lumps off money is pouring in for the enhancement of games. So, it is not hard to understand that for a multi-million dollar industry the role of the game testers is concerned with a fact that behind every successful game there is an efficient team of experienced and quality game testers
Are we testing the game regularly?
Are we performing testing in a right way?
The above mentioned are the two main questions which every game development team should keep in mind. Let’s discuss a couple of case studies to understand the importance of Game Testing.
Case Study #1: BioShock 2 (2010)
BioShock 2, a sequel to the 2007 major international hit Bioshock, is a first-person shooter survival horror video game developed by 2K Marin for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was released worldwide in February 2010 for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, but there were a lot of UX related issues with the game due to insufficient Quality Assurance testing. However, the Windows version received some patches and downloadable content shortly after the release. In October 2010, 2K Games announced that they would not provide a final patch to fix remaining issues with the game.
Furthermore, 2K Games announced that they would not offer the Protector Trials or Minerva’s Den content on the platform due to ‘timing and technical issues’ that they could not work around. 2K later explained that while trying to prepare additional patches with support for the additional content, they encountered bugs under specific circumstances that they felt would not be acceptable for Microsoft certification process hence the game terribly failed to succeed.
Case Study #2: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2012)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role-playing open world video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios, published by Bethesda Softworks, and released in November 2011, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This is another good example of a game plagued by a multitude of technical issues, stemming from poor QA. As soon as the game was released, players reported a range of issues, mainly connected with the game crashing in various circumstances. Most notably, the PS3 version of the game suffered a fatal bug whereby, once the player’s save, file becomes larger than 6 MB. Players experiences frame rate issues and slowdown to the point of being completely unplayable. Other issues include texture downscaling.
Issue on the Xbox 360 version – when the game was running from the hard drive, unexplained crashes and slowdown problems, as well as with the various crashes on the Windows version.
Its prequel, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion also had numerous bugs, reported after release.
To avoid such scenarios, Game Production companies needs game testers to test their video games before the final version is released to the public. Without game testers, bugs and glitches would abound in games, possibly making them unplayable and destroying the reputation of the video game production company.
By the mid-2000s, higher consumer demands led to the rise of games that are more complex and ultimately causing an explosion in gaming revenue. With high definition video an undeniable hit and longstanding gamers seeking immersive experiences, expectations for visuals in games along with the increasing complexity of games have resulted in a spike in the development budgets of gaming companies.
The Seventh-generation console game came in, such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the Wii. These were accompanied by a range of elaborate games like Gears of War, Halo 3, The Elder Scrolls IV and Oblivion. With the increasing need for more extensive game testing, the in-house game QA teams have become so big that there came a point where they proved too much to manage internally. All these led to the rise in popularity of external dedicated game QA vendors, and the gave birth to trend of outsourcing game testing activities.
Benefits of Outsourcing?
- Reduces Hidden costs of In-House teams
- Provides access to the large talent pool
- Minimizes overall operational cost
- The core focus can be shifted to the main business of game development
- Increase Productivity & enhances competitiveness
- Improve Time-to-Market