10 Ways to Ensure Your Video Game Passes the Compliance Test

Whichever the platform – XBOX, PlayStation, Nintendo, or others – months of development and QA efforts will go to waste if your game fails to clear the console manufacturers’ compliance testing parameters and guidelines. Though developers cannot release a game without getting an express approval from the console manufacturers, QA houses often tend to miss reporting these critical and easy to find defects.

Before heading into full-fledged compliance testing, it is critical to get an insight into how console manufacturers usually test games. Because the timeframe is limited and there are numerous projects in the pipeline for submission approval, especially during specific seasons, every console manufacturer creates a set of standards against which they test games.

They may not play the game end-to-end and at times may also ignore the occasional aesthetic issue – but if a game throws any severe compliance testing issue against their standards, publishers will be asked to resubmit. It is therefore essential that game developers test their games against these standards to ensure quick approval. This is where a knowledgeable and experienced game testing company come in handy.

GlobalStep has worked closely with leading video game developers and publishers, providing them class-leading compliance testing services, thereby helping them get their titles approved with minimal resubmission. It has one of the best pass-through rates in the industry, and its unparalleled experience and close partnerships with leading console manufacturers also provide a unique insight into the testing process.

Now, we understand that by the time it is time to send the game over to console manufacturers for the final approval, you are already running against tight timelines and a resubmission can be costly both in terms of the redevelopment needed to fix defects as well as possible release delays.

Based on our extensive experience, we have developed the ultimate compliance testing cheat sheet that will come handy when you have very little time remaining for testing. These are the absolute minimum tests that you must perform to maximize your chances of getting approved in the first-go:

  1. Screen Resolution:

You must check your game against all the screen resolutions supported by the targeted console – from lowest to highest resolution.

Goals:

(a) Game compatibility with the set resolution from console settings
(b) Display stretching
(c) Text visibility – pixelation is fine in lower resolutions as long as users can read the text
(d) Cropping of the display in an inappropriate manner which truncates important game screen elements such as text/HUD

2. Accounts:

Testing end-user scenarios with test/sandbox accounts.

Goals: 

(a) Basic sign in and sign out functionality
(b) Cloud save handling with user’s online account
(c) Game compatibility with and without the use of online accounts
(d) Checking online rankings/posts using multiple accounts on the same console

 3. Terminology & Artwork:

It could confuse the user if each application used its own terminology. To prevent such confusion, First Parties have defined a unique set of wording and artwork to represent their system components, operations, peripherals, services, and other items.

Goals:

(a) Verification of terminology displayed in the game against the standards set by console manufacturer
(b) Ensuring that consistency is maintained throughout the title
(c) Checking the artwork of product/controller/ used in the game

 4. Error message handling:

Except for a handful of system messages, nowadays almost all First Parties have given developers the freedom to create their own messages so that end users can easily understand and resolve the error.

Goals:
(a) Validating the user-friendliness of the message or information displayed after an error generation
(b) Checking the flow if user is able to resolve the error

5. Controller/Peripheral Support:

What is required to run through a game? Of course the input! Done via controllers, touch or different peripherals for consoles.
Goals:
(a) Verifying if user is able to change the supported controller configurations
(b) Supported & unsupported controller/peripheral connection and disconnection impact on the game
(c) Least one but checking the controller vibration feature functioning

6. Online Connectivity & Network errors:

The current trend is to keep more and more people engaged with in-game online services/features.

Goals:
(a) Verifying if supported online features are accessible/playable in end user similar conditions such as account creation/network strength
(b) Performing several network interruption errors and checking the game handing

7. Save & Load:

Another important section! This area is the most utilized one by end users, so there is a high likelihood that end users will encounter any relevant issues that are present in the Master Candidate.

Goals:
(a) Save data compatibility between main game version and patch version
(b) Trophy/Achievements unlocking with local & cloud save data

8. Parental Control

Parental controls and age ratings allow limiting the types of content that can be accessed online, and type of game that can be played. Certain settings even allow to restrict access to the Internet, disable in-game purchases, and regulate the amount of time a child can play and more.
Goals:
(a) Setting up the supported parental controls and checking the game behavior accordingly.
(b) Verifying that notifications are displayed to end user and temporary or permanent lifting of restrictions is functioning as intended

9. DevMenu /Debug Settings

To aid with testing end user scenarios, first parties do provide DevMenu /debug settings in their development/testing kits.
Goals:
(a) Generating message pop-up to confirm the handling for certain end-user scenarios (e.g. Insufficient Memory)
(b) For every in-game operation, specific functions are being called in the background which are not visible to end user. These functions can be checked through debug settings (e.g. Default age, Save data creation, online multiplayer, PSN network, etc.)

10. Paperwork:

To conclude, please do not ignore the submitted paperwork as well. Most of the times, a game is found to be compliant with the standards but basic paperwork issues are flagged which results in a submission failure.

This basic cheat sheet will help you minimize the chances of resubmission, but there are still chances that a console manufacturer raises a red flag against your game title. The best way of ensuring that your game sails through compliance testing is to work closely with an experienced game testing company like GlobalStep. Learn more about our game compliance testing services.

 

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Top 5 Skills You Need to Possess to Make a Career in Video Game Testing

Have you ever, at any point in your life, dreamt of playing video games all day long? It’s safe to say that a lot of us have.  From simple bubble shooters and puzzles to racing sims, every game has something unique to offer. 

Games, today, however, offer more than just a fun, immersive experience.  Game production offers a world of career opportunities.  From game designer, game software developer, animator, writer and audio engineering, this huge and fast-growing industry (the global games market is expected to surpass 200B USD by 2023) offers a wide variety career paths. 

Behind the creation of these immersive games, there are also video game testers, whose job is to ensure that the game is fun to play and ready to be released on the market to give even the most avid gamer a superlative gaming experience.  Becoming a game tester is a terrific way to learn many facets of the business side of the gaming industry.   

But what does it take to be a video game tester? We’ve laid out some tips for you below.

1. Know Your Game, and Your Games

Being a passionate gamer can get you far in the video game world. Of course, knowing a lot about the topic and various game genres is a huge asset if you’d like to work as a video game tester. But not everyone grew up playing video games, and it doesn’t mean you’re not welcome to the industry.  

Expectations about your experience in the field are going to be different in different parts of the world. In some countries, companies will offer you training to develop gaming skills, especially if your access to gaming controls is or was limited. In large markets, most companies assume that you had access to consoles and gaming devices, and they often look for passionate video gamers with some experience.  

If you don’t have much experience but are eager to learn, fear not! If you’re passionate about video games yet not an expert, it won’t be an issue. You will learn everything on the job, and with passion and willpower you can go very far! 

2. Be an Excellent Communicator

Game testers spend a lot of time communicating with their teams either through email, chat and/or face-to-face. This means you must listen carefully when others speak and ask questions to clarify what others are saying when you’re having trouble understanding something. You should also, of course, be able to express your thoughts and ideas in a concise manner that others can understand. 

Testing is synonymous with teamwork, and it will help you build relationship skills and  transferrable technical skills. 

If your grammar and spelling are strong, you’re off to a good start. Although there is a whole department dedicated to localization, it’s good to keep both eyes open when it comes to spelling. Testers can miss those, so it’s important to flag any linguistic mistakes. If your grammar and spelling aren’t too strong, you can always decide to sharpen them up in your free time. 

It will be worth the effort to help you build a career with leading video game testing companies across the world, since the linguistic aspect of quality assurance is much bigger than a lot of people think. All the dialogues and content must make sense linguistically, contextually, and culturally. 

3. Be Meticulous

Great attention to detail pays off if you want to succeed as a video game tester and grow within the industry. Testers spend a lot of time looking for bugs, writing bug reports, verifying bug fixes written previously and regressing bugs that they had previously written. In order to excel at these tasks, you should be observant, thorough in your work, organized, and patient. 

Of course, this is something that you can learn and develop with practice, but it’s great to always double-check everything and make sure that the final result is flawless. Moreover, attention to detail is a transferable skill that will greatly impact your professional life in any industry. 

4. Hard Work Brings Rewarding Results

Being a game tester doesn’t just mean sitting around and getting paid to play games all day. Always remember that you are testing the game to find any possible bugs and elevate the overall gaming experience for players.  

Trust us, seeing bugs you have found getting fixed is a very rewarding feeling! Even though testing games can be hard work, the rewards are also great. 

One great thing to keep in mind is to always try to approach your work with passion and determination. Providing the best gaming experience for future players is the ultimate goal. 

Moreover, it’s important to note that this is a job that requires a lot of commitment and attention to detail. People who land their first testing job are often surprised by how challenging the position can be. Most of the tester’s time is spent repeatedly testing certain features, systems, and small-to-moderate chunks of actual gameplay.  

5. Think Outside the Box

Remember to use your creativity and individual approach to try and identify some difficult defects and caveats in the game, those that others might not pay attention to.  

Being inquisitive is a key trait as a Video Game Tester. Try to approach every game with different “what if” scenarios. This will help you think about all the possible mistakes and bugs you can find while testing. 

Thinking outside the box is one of the qualities that will get you far in this industry, no doubt! 

GlobalStep is hiring QA Game Testers, with or without experience in the field. Visit our Careers page to know more about our latest job openings. 

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