5 Benefits of Outsourcing Game Testing and QA Engineering

Outsourcing tasks within an organization to an experienced partner can help drive cost savings of 20% to 40% depending upon process complexity and capabilities of the service provider. On the other hand, there’s always a nagging doubt in the mind of the management regarding the ability of the service provider in understanding the typical complexities of the market and delivering on promised service level agreements. While both approaches have their pros and cons, increased process orientation, better project management and the demand-supply gap for experienced testers are making the case for outsourcing stronger.

Software Testing traditionally has had a rich history of outsourcing success. While Game Testing is conceptually similar to software testing, it has its own nuances and challenges. Game Development studios are constantly struggling to make the right decision between in sourcing and outsourcing. But with a market that’s growing fast both in terms of the number of gamers as well as the number of devices games are being played on, the scope of game development and testing has amplified manifold.

Blog_v2_24JUL2017

Gaming: Projected Market Growth

Game developers/publishers now need to ensure a much wider testing coverage to maintain the same levels of quality as doled out before. Agility of testing also needs to improve to test the multiple updates and patches that developers are now rolling out to gamers within shortened schedules. This is where an independent game testing company can help developers get access to the right talent at a cost better than companies can manage internally. Today, we look at how independent game testing service providers like GlobalStep can help your business.

Why should you choose to outsource?

  • Gain access to an experienced team of the industry’s best game testers:

Game testing service providers will provide you access to the best-skilled game testers. These teams usually have an experience of working in different genres of games and on multiple platforms. Their credibility, experience, and a wide perspective ensure that defects are identified and communicated at an early stage, enabling you to maintain high-quality standards.

  • Ensure complete coverage with the best tools:

Experience with best in class tools, technologies and frameworks can be a key factor to ensure that your game is tested inside out. Game testing tools and technologies such as Appium, Robotium, Calabash, Device Anywhere typically require a different skillset. An independent testing service provider can help you gain access to the best tools in the market as well as the resources trained to use these tools to maximum advantage. Advanced project management methodologies and proven frameworks can further enable independent service providers test various scenarios faster and more effectively than you can internally.

  • Optimization of up-front and ongoing investments

All the testing needs discussed above are time and resource intensive activities. Sometimes, production houses also put the onus of testing on developers – which is not an ideal use of their time. An experienced game testing provider can provide access to the best resources, tools, platforms, and devices at a fraction of the cost, allowing you to concentrate on the core processes of your organization and expel your resources on your business priorities

  • Achieve a faster go-to-market

Even a small bug can bog down a game’s experience a great deal. With the Internet providing a voice to consumers, a negative comment can quickly evolve into a situation which can hamper the success of an entire game. However, as comprehensive and competent as your developers may be, bugs are inevitable. The only solution is to test effectively, find the bugs and fix them. Unfortunately, this is time-consuming and with the fast pace of the market, simply not possible anymore! Automation tools and frameworks available with experienced game testing partners can help reduce the time and manual effort needed in testing. With the advent and implementation of new transformation methods – using telemetry for reducing test efforts, risk-based testing, shift left etc., you can further reduce your time to reach the market. Test service providers can also leverage experience from working with various customers and implement best practices from across the industry for your project. This enables you to get your game as well as patches to the market faster, giving you a huge competitive edge!
With the dynamics of the modern gaming industry changing at a very fast pace, game development studios must consider a change in their testing strategy. Increased usage of tools, automation, data analytics and collaboration between developers and testers is going to be the key to rising above competition and outsourcing game testing can help you achieve all of these! It is however also key to evaluate service providers on key criteria such as experience, project management frameworks, quality of their QA labs and testing infrastructure, as well as adherence to metrics and SLAs. We wish you luck in your journey towards finding the right partner!

[Rachit Jain is Sr. Manager – Solutions Engineering at GlobalStep. He is a management professional with a technology background who loves to analyze and understand business needs and devise the integrated end to end solutions that fits the requirements. At GlobalStep he works closely with CXO’s and senior management to devise strategies for business development and devise a game plan to achieve the set goals.]

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GlobalStep interviews Peter-Joey Pham who almost caught them all: Pokemon Go

Date – 1st August, 2016

 

The latest craze to take the world by storm is Pokémon Go, a location-based augmented reality (AR) game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. Since its launch in July 2016, it’s all everyone is talking about. The augmented reality based smartphone game blends the virtual world of Pokémon with the real world, and it has people across the globe going outdoors with just one goal: gotta catch ’em all.

GlobalStep interviews Peter-Joey Pham, who has already caught 142 Pokémon that we know are available in the US plus 1 Kangaskhan he caught in Australia.

Read on to know more about Pham’s adventure on catching ‘em all and why he decided to stop!

 

1. What got you hooked to Pokémon Go?
I really wasn’t actually too excited about it in the beginning. It triggered a bit of nostalgia but didn’t seem like that big a deal. But then started to notice that EVERYONE was playing it, and that’s what got me excited. In addition to the initial excitement, I promised my girlfriend that I wouldn’t start playing the game until she got back from Italy, so I had to wait a while and had a lot of time to build up the anticipation. I kept myself busy by reading up on the game and learning about different strategies.

I still remember opening it and seeing Pokémon all around me, I ignored them like they were girls in the club and they seemed to follow me everywhere. I made my way up to central park and could see hordes of kids running in a general area to catch something. People would cheer wildly, riot in the streets, and block up half the city just trying to catch these darn Pokémon. People were cheering like they won the lottery. The enthusiasm and competitiveness was infectious and I got pretty caught up in it. Then once I got to 100, I was like “I gotta catch ‘em all!”

I will say though, it has to be a dense place like NYC or Sydney because it’s driven by density: The more people there are, the more Pokémon you find. I don’t think I could have gotten hooked into it if I lived in a rural area.

Density was 100% of the decision for cities I chose.

 

2. Which Pokémon did you catch first and why?
The first Pokémon I caught was Pikachu. For nostalgic reasons, I think I really wanted to get him. When my girlfriend was in Italy, I spent a lot of time reading about the Pikachu hack, where you entice him to appear by ignoring all the other Pokémon. When I read that article, I said to myself, “I’m going to have to try this”.

 

3. What has been your most exciting experience so far while playing the game.
Catching Kangaskhan, by far, because all the effort I had to get there. I spent almost $3,000 to book my round the world trip, and right as I landed in Sydney, the developer decided to reshuffle all the nests, nobody knew where the nests were! Before the trip I researched everything, and I knew where I was going to go: Bondi beach in Sydney, Imperial Palace in Japan, and canary Wharf in London. Weeks’ worth of research was gone! All with one update. That made the capture so much more exciting because I didn’t have access to Reddit because of the slow internet. Australian internet is pretty useless. I tried Bondi Beach, the Cemetery, and pretty much wasted half a day at these places. Running out of time, I went to the densest place I could find – Sydney Opera House. There were over 300 players there – I talked to people and no one knew where Kangaskhan had gone. They believed all the regional nests were destroyed.

When I finally caught him at the Sydney opera house, it was so rewarding because of everything I had gone through to get him.

 

4. If you could describe the Pokémon Go game experience in one word, what would that be?
Tiring. I was going to say exhilarating, but that was really just the initial feeling [laughs].

 

5. What are your thoughts on the user interface (UI) of the game?
Not bad. There is a lot of room for improvement, but I get that they’re taking baby steps. My main issue is that once you catch them all, it’s not as enticing any more. Many people stop playing once they’ve caught a sufficiently large number. I feel like this app has so much potential and there’s so much you can do with it, but they can’t give it to us all at once. It’s like Star Wars: If you release all the movies at once, it kills the franchise!

 

6. Being a QA Company, we are most curious about any unique issues you have encountered within the game?
The freaking nest thing drove me nuts! How dare you change the nest on me after I spend 3 grand on travel!

 

7. What changes you’d recommend to make this game better?
The GPS activator is too small; it should be much bigger. Also, I get that it could be an NYC thing where the reception is not great, but the GPS also bounces everywhere. With the GPS activator, you have to be very very close to see a Pokémon. To make it more of an augmented reality experience, the GPS activator should have a larger radius so that the Pokémon visibility range is as large as the distance you can see with human eyesight. Otherwise, it feels more like searching for an Easter egg in the ground versus an actual Pokémon.

 

8. What are your other favorite video games of all time?
I tend to gravitate to strategy games. I loved Command and Conquer, I think I bought just about every version of the game. I also loved playing Clash of the Clans, but I deleted the app because it stops being fun after you get to a high enough level. At a certain level, the prices to upgrade are insane – it keeps getting exponentially higher, so I stopped playing. And of course: Halo.

 

9. You have caught 143 Pokémon until now. You have mentioned in a previous interview that you won’t play the game again. What we would like to know is if there is anything that will make you go back to catching Pokémon again :)?
Nah, I just said that because I was frustrated. I keep playing it casually, but not at the same intensity. It would take a freaking Dragonite, Charizard, or something at that level. If it gets my blood pumping, I’ll go, but if it’s a freaking Growlithe on the other side of the street, screw that dude, I’m not crossing.

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