As the gaming industry evolves, the need for game QA companies is also increasing significantly. Thorough quality assurance (QA) checks for gaming have become business critical to achieving a flawless customer experience. But as games become more complex, QA is becoming more challenging and tech intensive.
Importance of digital assurance
Digital assurance helps ensure the quality of gaming software, protect against security vulnerabilities, and manage and minimize the risk of software development projects. Robust digital assurance solutions can also help gaming companies save time and money by automating the testing process and providing comprehensive reports that identify areas of improvement.
In addition, digital assurance solutions improve communication between developers and testers while reducing the need for manual testing. By using digital assurance solutions, game developers can avoid the cost and inconsistency of traditional testing approaches.
Gaming software QA challenges
Here are the top 5 gaming software QA challenges.
- Lack of testability
One of the biggest challenges in software QA for gaming applications is the testing effort required. This is because games are complex and have real-time systems with many different possible states and interactions. They’re also often extremely sensitive to performance issues, making it difficult to create tests that accurately simulate real-world conditions.
Plus, games often rely on complex graphics and audio processing, making it challenging to create testing environments representative of the final product. And because games are released on a tight schedule, there’s often little time available for comprehensive testing before they’re released to customers.
- Poorly designed or implemented features
Not testing game features thoroughly before release can result in players finding major bugs. Releasing untested or partially tested feature updates is a major QA no-no, as this can introduce new bugs and break existing gameplay.
Game content imbalance can also frustrate players. Players often abandon games that are too easy or too hard, so getting the level of difficulty right is essential. This is especially challenging in multiplayer games, where player interactions can add complexity to the balancing process.
- Lack of documentation
Lack of documentation in gaming QA may make bug tracking difficult and cause reproducibility issues. This can lead to frustration for developers and testers, as they constantly try to reproduce issues to fix them. With accurate documentation, it can be easier to know what has changed between game or game engine versions, making it easier to identify bugs.
A lack of documentation that creates serious problems for the QA team when trying to find and reproduce bugs can also lead to compliance issues. While there is no easy solution to this problem, QA teams need to be aware of it and take steps to mitigate its effects.
- Inconsistent game behavior
Another tricky challenge in QA for gaming software is dealing with inconsistent game behavior. Several factors, including bugs in the code, differences in hardware and software configurations, and even player input may cause this issue.
QA teams must deeply understand the game code and its interaction with the various system components to reproduce and track these issues. They also need to quickly identify when something is not working as intended.
- Time constraints
Games are complex software products requiring significant development time and effort. QA is a critical part of the game development process, but it can be challenging due to time constraints.
These constraints can make testing all aspects of a game before its release unrealistic. QA teams may have to prioritize testing based on the most crucial gameplay features or those likely to cause the biggest problems if they don’t work. But this approach can lead to overlooking potential issues. What’s more, time pressures can make it challenging to properly document all the bugs and issues found during testing.
Finally, time constraints may make communication between QA and development teams difficult. Communication is essential for effective collaboration and problem-solving. If QA teams don’t have enough time to communicate effectively with developers, this can lead to problems with the final product quality.
How to overcome QA challenges
- Understand your audience
The first step to providing QA for your gaming software is understanding who will play it. Different age groups have different gameplay, graphics, and overall tone preferences. For example, a game aimed at young children will require easier features than one for teenagers or adults.
- Keep an open mind
When you're close to your project, it can be easy to become tunnel-visioned and only see the flaws that you expect to see. Testers who are too focused on finding pre-determined issues can often overlook other potential problems. It's essential to approach each test with a fresh perspective and an open mind to catch as many issues as possible.
- Use multiple testing methods
There is no silver bullet in software testing – different projects require different approaches. It's essential to use a combination of manual and automated testing methods to get comprehensive coverage. Automated tests can cover a lot of ground quickly, but they're not perfect – manual testing is still necessary to find specific problems.
- Plan for unexpected changes
A big challenge in software QA is dealing with change requests from stakeholders. As the project progresses, requests can add a new feature or change existing features. But these changes can have an impact on the entire test plan, requiring extensive re-testing to ensure everything works as expected.
Software quality assurance is a critical process in developing any gaming software. Without it, developers risk releasing buggy and unstable products. There are several challenges that QA teams face when testing gaming software, but the above-mentioned are the top five.
Digital assurance solutions providers need to be up to the challenge if they want to release high-quality gaming software. By being aware of the most common issues and addressing them, they can help ensure that gaming software is as stable and enjoyable to play as possible.