The Importance of Quality Assurance in the Game Development Cycle

Why Quality Assurance is a necessary step to take to ensure the quality and compatibility of your video game




The Importance of Quality Assurance in the Game Development Cycle

Let’s face it: the gaming world is huge, and it’s not going anywhere. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the gaming industry has seen a sharp increase in revenue and game app downloads have soared all over the world.  

By 2023, it is estimated that the gaming community will reach 3 billion gamers worldwide, a stat as staggering and predictable if we take into account that US gamers averaged 45% more time playing video games during the first week of the COVID-19 pandemic, and over a third of the world’s entire population are active gamers. 

With these stats in mind, it’s natural to wonder what are some of the necessary steps to take as a developer or gaming company for a product to be successful on the App or Google Play Store.   

Luckily, we’ve got you covered: in this blog, we will be going through the many reasons why Quality Assurance is the necessary step to take to ensure the quality and compatibility of your final product. 

What Is Quality Assurance in the Game Development Cycle? 

Quality Assurance is meeting the needs and requirements of you end-users, those who will be playing the game you are developing or testing.  

It is important to make sure the game won’t crash, glitch, or be laden with annoying bugs that will impact the functionality, scalability, and overall reliability of your final product. Therefore, the Quality Assurance step in the game development cycle is a crucial step we never skip, and you shouldn’t either. 

Why is Quality Assurance in Gaming So Important? 

Gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and the pandemic certainly escalated its growth. Players all around the world will see the end result of your product, and it’s very important to assure a high-quality final result that has been screened for bugs, glitches, overlapping text, and other minor nuisances that can heavily impact the game. 

Remember: the more bugs you leave hoping that your players won’t notice them, the more negative reviews your game can receive, and that will impact its success and ranking significantly. It’s also important to point out that people are more prone to leaving negative reviews than positive ones, so putting that extra emphasis on Quality Assurance is always a winning strategy. 

Another aspect not to forget is game compatibility. Oftentimes, a game can look and feel perfect on one OS, but glitch and underperform on others. Make sure your Quality Assurance process is conducted on different platforms to ensure the highest quality on every device. 

Problems and Solutions 

Let’s look over some common issues and solutions to the problem at hand when it comes to user expectations and how you can meet them. 

Problem 1: Inconvenient, Non-User-Friendly Interface 

Solution: Gamers and clients demand a user interface that is easy to use. Therefore, with thorough User Interface Testing and appropriate Quality Assurance Testing, video games testers can determine whether the UI is reliable, adaptable, and comfortable to use. 

Problem 2: Getting Stuck in Between Levels or During Any Part of the Game 

Solution: Gamers truly and adamantly dislike getting stuck in the middle of a game: Functional Testing, Performance Testing, and Compatibility Testing can enhance the overall gaming experience by overcoming bandwidth, freezes, and connection challenges. 

Problem 3: Lack of Security in Gaming 

Solution: Security is something that gamers expect: By conducting Security Testing, one can identify any potential malware attacks or outside threats to the game. Some of the risks of playing online games include player accounts being compromised, players abusing certain in-app purchases, or even taking unfair advantage of specific bugs to gain an advantage over other players. 

Problem 4: Lack of Guidance During the Game 

Solution: Orient your players in the proper direction: A bad user experience might arise from interruptions or illogical events during the game. The game’s navigation system ought to be intuitive, first and foremost. A player can play how they want by eliminating any illogical errors with the help of proper testing and Quality Assurance. 

More Aspects to Consider 

Porting and Cross-Platform Fidelity: 

Porting is a term used in the video game lingo as the process in which a game designed for a specific platform — arcade, PC, console — is converted to work on a different platform, sometimes with minor differences.  

This aspect of gaming is crucial, because PC and console developers simply can’t ignore that nowadays nearly half of gamers play on mobile platforms. 

Based on Newzoo’s analysis of the 200 top-grossing mobile games, over 40% of China’s mobile games revenues came from high-fidelity mobile games in 2016, a staggering figure when compared to roughly 6% in Europe and North America. 

Cross-platform fidelity is an important aspect in the success of your game, and a comprehensive Quality Assurance process includes steps to make sure your game is suited for different platforms. Even if a game is designed for Android, it’s crucial that Apple users can also access it, or its success will be significantly curbed by the lack of cross-platform flexibility. 

How to Effectively Put Quality Assurance in Practice 

There are 4 major steps to this practice, and they are as follows: 

  1. PLAN: To guarantee consistent delivery of the finished product, planning for the game development procedures is necessary before starting. 
  2. DO: This is the time for development and testing. Additionally, after processes are rebuilt or reopened, game testers make changes to them. 
  3. VERIFY: During this phase, game development procedures are watched, adjusted, and verified to ensure they adhere to industry standards. 
  4. ACT: Discuss and put into practice the necessary adjustments for higher game quality and a smooth flow of game development procedures. 

Bugs in online games cause the player to be taken away from what could have otherwise been an immersive experience. Whether we’re talking about a crash, an error in the graphics of the game, or a misalignment in the text — all of these issues will take away from the player’s experience and might lead them to discontinue playing that game altogether. In case the game will have a new version, the users might be inclined to turn to a different game to avoid potentially dealing with the same issues.  

This is why Quality Assurance is essential in gaming. Without proper Quality Assurance, a game is likely to be filled with bugs that will inevitably lead to users’ dissatisfaction, which will then lead to negative reviews. Negative reviews may cost a game a good ranking in the App Store or Play Store. 

Main Takeaway 

Though Quality Assurance yields several benefits, the main one is definitely player retention.

Quality assurance in gaming is essential for player retention because players want to have a smooth and enjoyable experience while playing a game. A game with bugs, glitches, or other technical issues can be frustrating and detract from the overall experience. If a player encounters too many issues, they may become frustrated and stop playing the game altogether, resulting in lower player retention rates.

When quality assurance is done correctly, it helps ensure that the game is functioning as intended and that all features are working properly. This can help improve the player experience and increase player satisfaction, which can lead to better player retention rates. Quality assurance can also help identify potential issues before they become major problems, allowing developers to address them proactively.

Additionally, quality assurance can help prevent cheating and hacking, which can also negatively impact player retention. If a game is plagued by cheaters or hackers, it can discourage legitimate players from continuing to play, resulting in lower player retention rates.

In summary, quality assurance in gaming is essential for player retention because it helps ensure that the game is functioning as intended, improves the player experience, identifies potential issues proactively, and helps prevent cheating and hacking. By providing a smooth and enjoyable experience for players, quality assurance can help improve player retention rates and keep players engaged with the game over the long term.

Conclusion 

Your goal as a developer or gaming enthusiast should be to provide gamers and clients with the best possible experience. Quality Assurance does exactly that: it ensures your app has been thoroughly tested before being released, ready to give users and gamers an immersive experience.  

At GlobalStep, we continuously strive for our clients’ success. We take pride in creating immersive and user-friendly online games for our customers, and we do not rest until the final result is absolutely flawless. How do we achieve this?   We do this by putting a special emphasis on what is one of the most crucial parts of the game development cycle, Quality Assurance. Reach out today to our team of experts if you’re on your way to release a product and need it tested and screened for any possible bugs and issues before the final release. 

You can also find out more about our video game QA services, but visiting https://globalstep.com/game-services/quality-assurance/

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