Game Testing Approach: A Guide to Game Testing Types and Techniques

-By Shashikala Rajaji & QA team

The gaming sector is undergoing swift expansion, with forecasts suggesting it will surpass $300 billion by 2025, as per Global Data's findings. As games grow more intricate, testing becomes integral in ensuring top-notch gaming experiences globally. This entails a meticulous approach, including comprehensive understanding of the gaming domain, detailed game design documentation, precise test scenarios, and a structured test implementation strategy. Successful game testing also integrates automation frameworks and agile methodologies to align with player expectations.

Let's take a look at some statistics.

The graph below depicts the increase in the number of gamers from 2015 to 2024.

The graph below depicts the average age of US gamers.

The Methodology

Game testing involves assessing game mechanics to confirm they operate as intended. It's essential to ensure smooth performance across different platforms, operating systems, and hardware setups. Testers adopt a player-centric approach, considering interactions and overall experience. The process varies for PC, console, multiplayer, and free-to-play games, with a focus on evaluating rules and logic specific to each game's genre and audience. Testing ideally mirrors the production environment, and each game undergoes a tailored testing process. With the gaming industry's rapid evolution, testing methods and technologies continually evolve.

Types of Game Testing

Game testers perform various types of testing beyond just playing the game repeatedly from start to finish.

Functional testing is an essential part of game testing, which checks if all the game's features, interactions, stability, multiplayer, progression, and settings are working as intended.

Beta testing focuses on players' interactions, understanding, and feedback and is categorized into closed and open beta testing. Soft launches are also a form of beta testing to test the game's success in specific geographic markets.

Stress testing simulates many players playing the game simultaneously to see if the game can handle heavy stress and remain stable.

Compliance testing is necessary for console and mobile games and aims to meet the requirements of the platform to get featured in app stores.

Basic acceptance testing verifies the major functions of the game, and localization testing is done to test the implementation of game translations in different languages.

Disruption testing is specific to mobile games and tests the game for scenarios that interrupt gameplay, such as phone calls or text messages.

Negative testing involves using a different path than the ideal path intended for players to identify functional issues and bugs.

Game balancing ensures that all levels of the game are in sync, users enjoy only what's allowed, and rewards and treasures are located correctly.

AR/VR game testing includes thorough checking of audio and video throughout the gameplay.

Compatibility testing ensures that the game is compatible with all target devices, platforms, operating systems, and web browsers.

Regression testing scrutinizes the functionality of the complete features of the gaming application, re-checking test cases to identify any new errors or vulnerabilities.

Automation converts all regression tests into automated tests, which can be executed on multiple platforms and devices to improve time to market and overall quality revenue.

Game Testing approach

To effectively test games, a strategic approach is necessary, which involves determining what to focus on, when, and how. Unfortunately, the gaming industry is generally lacking in awareness about this approach. A good game-testing strategy should be specific to the product, focused on risks, diversified, and practical, taking into account resources, constraints, and other factors that may impact testing. It's important to test all important aspects of the game, not just obvious features such as level progression or play-through. Quality criteria are used to identify problems, and various testing techniques involve analyzing the environment, elements, and quality criteria. The perceived quality of the game is the result of testing. A five-fold testing system involves considering five dimensions of testing: who is performing the testing, testing coverage, potential problems and risks, and how test cases are executed and evaluated. Combining different dimensions can help achieve desired results. Considering these dimensions while testing can lead to better choices and more optimal results.

Aspects not covered by Game Testing

There are multiple aspects of a game design which cannot be comprehensively tested. These have more to do with qualitative features like the flow of the game & how immersive it is:

No matter the testing methods used, game testing aims to thoroughly examine games to ensure they're free from errors, bugs, or glitches, providing players with an outstanding gaming experience. Effective game testing goes beyond just finding flaws; it also evaluates the overall user experience. By scrutinizing games, testing ensures their quality and efficiency while also aiding in early issue detection and resolution during development.

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