Quality assurance is a part of commercial life and it is an important criterion for any product out there, not just games can ruin a company’s brand value and put its reputation at stake if not taken care of properly.
Game Development can be a daunting task for the company as well as the Game Testers. This is the sole reason why gaming companies & developers have countless number of testers to ensure the best possible outcome for the final release. There are many stages of quality assurance, from the beta release of the game to its final release. Programming will always have a few codes gone wrong and it’s the duty of the company to ensure these codes or ‘bugs’ are fixed before the game is sold to the public. But are the companies sticking on to this QA responsibility?
If you love playing games or have ever played a game especially in the early 90’s when game QA was almost non existent then you will know exactly how annoying it is for the gaming community to play a game that has bugs or which has serious compatibility problems with certain computer systems. Of course in the 90s the games were not as developed as of now in terms of graphics and content so the amounts of bugs were less as the programming was less. This has changed in the current scenario when games are huge with lots of in-game features, depth, content, story, art, abilities, controls, etc. The list is endless and all of these count towards the success of the game. But if even one aspect of the game is left untested and it results in a bug then down go the sales!
A small bug like flickering screen, character getting stuck, features not working, voice over not synchronizing with animation, game not advancing, etc will often result in angry gamers. We all have the rights to be angry if what we ‘pay for’ doesn’t deliver and to all those brands that risk their image for saving a few bucks on QA and game testing – it’s a lesson learned the hard way.
In today’s world, game quality assurance doesn’t end when a video game is released. Now that the internet makes it easy for companies to release updates and patches, if a problem becomes known after a game is released, then the gaming company can release a free update or patch which will correct the issue. Gaming companies provide online communities like forums and social media pages where users can report bugs, compatibility problems and more. However, it is still much better for a vendor to do very thorough game QA before the initial release and not wait until users are complaining in order to address issues and release a fix.
Gina Kraft is a video and mobile game enthusiast. Gina is very interested in the process of Game Development. She thinks that Game Testers are very important in the industry. She also thinks that all video game publishers should invest in game quality assurance.