Entertainment is serious business. The industry serves a unique target segment, ranging from pre-teens to adults.
Gaming is all about the experience. Every game has to deliver a fascinating experience to its target user community. With the advent of mobiles, the gaming industry is undergoing a revolution of sorts, as the reach now broadens to even younger age groups. It has also witnessed changes from an economic standpoint with the introduction of freemium models and many developers moving away from the traditional retail medium.
All these unique challenges make it critical that the interactive entertainment product is released after thorough testing that gives a high level of quality assurance across a wide range of gaming platforms such as mobiles, consoles, PCs, and the Internet while ensuring that the product is apt for the intended user community.
While the fundamental principles of QA remain the same, the rapid evolution of technology and the emergence of newer platforms have radically altered the technicalities of performing QA.
Thanks to this rapidly shifting base, gaming companies need the support of companies that are focused on the QA of their product, so they can focus on their strengths – content generation, gaming strategy, and design.
With years of industry-leading QA experience behind us along with a team of gaming and domain experts, we are well-placed to serve the end-to-end and cross-platform gaming QA requirements, which we meet through a comprehensive service portfolio that includes functional testing, localization testing, compatibility testing, and certification testing.
We have expertise in testing games across a number of platforms. We maintain an up-to-date inventory of physical devices for each platform, to be able to meet the QA needs of our clients. The wide inventory enables us to gauge the real user experience and report bugs which may not have been found using simulators.
1. Consoles – We have strong expertise in testing games across all console types from all major platform owners such as Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. We maintain a prolific inventory for these consoles and keep adding new consoles based on the demand or on the release of new versions. We maintain our inventory multiple units of the consoles such as Nintendo Switch, DS, 3DS, Wii, WiiU, Xbox360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and PS4 Neo.
We perform functionality tests for games releases on consoles. A key part of the offerings for this platform is compliance/certification tests to check if the game adheres to the guidelines put in place by each console developer.
2. Personal Computer (PC) – The PC is one of the largest devices used by gamers to play games. As per a report published by Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 62% of the most frequent gamers use the PC as one of the devices for game play. Thus, it is really necessary for publishers to ensure that the games published are able to run on a large variety of hardware combinations and supports an array of graphical drivers. We can test games across a number of configurations of Windows, OSX & Linix setups and report where issues are encountered for your games.
3. Online – We classify MMOs as online games since they require a unique infrastructure to ensure real world simulation, with a large array of both released and unreleased hardware. As an Intel partner, we are best equipped to ensure smooth pre-release QA and post-release maintenance. Apart from MMOs, with a sizable array of MACs, PCs, OSs, and browsers, we also have the environment setup to test Facebook and Web-based games, either manually or through automated means.
4. Mobile – As reported by Newzoo, mobile games own about 36% of the market share. Mobile gaming is one of the hottest and fastest-growing gaming platform. We have one of the biggest inventory of devices in the world and have been testing even before the APP store was introduced. Constantly upgrading both our inventory of devices and the OS to match the current market, we are best placed to ensure your game works on all applicable devices / OS. We have the latest devices for iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon, Shield, etc.
5. Virtual, augmented or mixed reality (VR / AR / MR) – Virtual, augmented or mixed reality is considered to be the next big thing in the video game industry with estimates indicating a US$150 billion market in a few years. We are committed to invest in this platform and help provide QA services for the titles released on VR / AR / MR. We have access to all the latest and applicable VR devices such as Oculus, HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens, PlayStation VR, Samsung VR, etc. Safety of our testers is a top priority for us and so we have setup an environment that allows a tester to test VR applications without a hassle.
Our two approaches to functional testing are:
Functional testing includes a number of components. Some key aspects are:
Test design – Before the game can be tested, the test team designs the test strategy while learning the game details. This is a critical stage that lays the ground rules for testing before the actual testing begins.
Test case creation / execution – To ensure that the entire game is covered in a structured manner, every single feature and aspect of the game is written in the form of a test case and executed. This ensures that each and every scenario of the game is covered thoroughly.
Test index creation / execution – This approach is required while performing structured as well as ad-hoc testing. All possible areas which cannot be jotted down as test cases require structured indices to track coverage and ensure that all possible permutations and combinations are checked across all modes. Test indices are prepared for all game features against the respective areas.
Regression testing – This is to ensure that all bugs marked as fixed by the developer are actually fixed across all the locations in the game (wherever applicable). The test team must also confirm that fixing of these issues does not result in the surfacing of any new issues.
Multiplayer testing – Testing to ensure the multiplayer element of the title is completely free of errors. Using very specific test cases, all possible scenarios are tested to ensure that the multiplayer mode is smooth, clean, lag free, and error free.
Asset testing – The testers spawn all different types of assets in the game and determines if they are working correctly. It is done and maintained using test indices and checked for each element of the game. All the maps are loaded and checked for collision, level design, spawn points, etc. Weapons, armor, enemies, animations, textures and the game environment are spawned and checked.
Graphics (2D and 3D) – This is to check the texture for all in-game objects and ensure that the frame-rate of the game is consistent across all single and multiplayer maps. It also entails validating the lighting across all maps and levels in the game. The tester goes into every corner of the game to ensure that the graphics of the entire game are fine and there are no missing or corrupted textures, etc.
Sound testing – Testers checks each and every sound effect for all in-game objects, UI sounds, and in-game music. This ensures all environment, enemy and weapon sound effects are suitably audible in all audio channel frequencies.
User interface testing – The game interface is tested to ensure that design rules, aesthetics, and related visual content are available for users without error. The complete interface is tested against the test cases to ensure that the UI of each and every menu screen is correct and goes with the game flow. Testing is also done to ensure that everything in the UI is functioning correctly – the graphics display correctly, the sound is correctly audible, and the animations perform as intended.
Game balancing - We play through the game in all difficulty settings across single player and co-op modes. The testers ensure that the pick-ups, enemy wave distribution, gradual difficulty rise, and weapon statistics are in sync with the current difficulty level. We also check to ensure that additional players in the game do not result in any unfair advantage and the overall gameplay difficulty is either equally feasible or equally effective.
If the game supports more than one language, playthroughs are conducted in all supported languages to ensure that the game can be played through. Our team of language experts assist testers in understanding the game, if it is not available in English for familiarization. We provide a significant range of localization testing services that include translation, audio, interactive messaging, and language integration.
We test the game for compatibility with a range of configurations (OS, graphics hardware, controllers, etc.) and browsers including the latest versions of different browsers, as applicable.
Stability and performance are the key criteria for compatibility testing. Reporting parameters for stability testing include frame rates, loading time, seeking time, defect reporting, and defect analysis.
Performance testing involves a series of test cases under different conditions and a complete playthrough on minimum, required and recommended hardware configurations and software platforms. In addition to hardware available in the market, we also have access to all of Intel’s latest prototype hardware and can use those for tests, being a partner of Intel’s Game Quality Assurance Evangelism Program.
For mobile platforms, we leverage our large physical inventory of mobile devices across major platforms to ensure there are no launch issues for the titles.
With the help of a detailed checklist for various platforms based on the guidelines released by each platform owner (Google, Apple, Amazon, Steam, HTC Vive, etc.), our engineers test the games to give a comprehensive view to the publisher on the likelihood of the game passing the guidelines of a particular non console platform.
To check the game against all the technical requirements and functional test cases on the build. All the compliance test cases are executed in-depth throughout the whole game. We are also an exclusive partner to a major console manufacturer and are responsible for performing certification on games submitted to them.
Video capture: Testers capture different actions, cut-scenes, voice-overs and subtitles, and other relevant footages which need to be sent to rating boards such as ESRB / PEGI. As our testers know your game, they are in the best position to determine the footage for the marketing team.
Printed material checks: This is done to verify the game manual against the game’s design and the inlay document as per the HMT standards and the features in the game. Conduct similar checks on the final printed materials during the master stage to ensure that they reflect the correct information.
The proliferation of mobile devices across the globe has made the mobile platform the cornerstone of modern digital transformation within our professional and personal lives alike.
As per a comScore report, an average American adult spends close to 3 hours on their smartphone every day. Unlike desktop users, mobile users have high propensity to shift between mobile applications and tolerance for applications lacking in user experience, performance and functionality is low. Testing a mobile application on these key parameters across devices and platforms is key to its success, and hence, mobile application testing services are in-demand.
The inherent nature of the mobile platform makes mobile application testing different from standardized software testing services. GlobalStep, with its 12+ years of mobile application testing experience, is uniquely poised to provide best-in-class functional and non-functional mobile application testing services, including: