The changing face of games creation has called for a new type of approach to QA services. Erik Hittenhausen, QA Director for Games, explains how Testronic’s role has evolved.
Over the last decade, the games industry has changed a lot as business models have shifted away from retail and towards ‘games as a service’. A revolution that started with mobile platforms and free-to-play games, new approaches to monetizing and user engagement are prevalent on all platforms now. Faster iteration, regular updates and continuous engagement with customers have become the norm in virtually all spheres of gaming.
Where one of the most important benchmarks for success used to be review scores based on quality upon release, post-release support has now become of equal or even greater importance. Free to play games provide regular events, content updates and new features to keep their users engaged and coming back for more. Traditional retail games now also have long-term strategies, DLC road-maps and continuous user engagement after the initial launch. Customers expect this, on-time, on par and in their language.
“Intrinsic quality, efficiency and continuous improvement have become the key differentiators of QA service”
The most important benchmark now is the consistency of both quality and release cadence. Gamers are vocal consumers, and social media makes or breaks a brand. The hype surrounding a hot new patch drives sales and brand awareness far beyond initial release, whereas outrage over new or unaddressed issues can shift this just as quickly.
Even before a game is officially released, the reception of public betas, ‘Early Access’ and staggered launches are critical parts of successfully marketing your game. This evolution has also dramatically changed the requirements and demand for QA services.
Historically, with QA requirements ramping up over the course of the development cycle and hitting a peak in the months leading up to release, many companies were essentially just looking to outsource the logistics of scaling up (and down) a QA team. Testronic could carry the burden of hiring and training the extended teams with the technical and language skills required, leaving developers to focus on their core business.
Furthermore, our ability to build and maintain a wide array of hardware became increasingly relevant. With access to hundreds of mobile devices and PC configurations, we have been able to provide assurance your games will work across a fragmented market for years.
QUALITY FROM EXPERIENCE
Now, beyond just providing logistics and scalability, by being positioned to retain and develop QA professionals, Testronic is able to offer expertise and best practice based on decades of experience across all genres and platforms. Rather than merely providing the test team you need, when you need them, we can determine what you need and how we can best help you achieve it.
Intrinsic quality, efficiency and continuous improvement have become the key differentiators of QA service. You need experts who can hit the ground running during public beta, help plan and guide QA efforts leading up to release and beyond, driving post-release support and adaptive test design. As product lifecycles extend long past their original release date, regular release cycles – as well as increasing scope and content – call for ongoing risk assessment, product knowledge and the ability to convert this to efficient yet reliable quality assurance.
We aim to truly understand our partners and their games, in order to provide tailored services and expert advice to help you achieve your goals. Prior to, at and after release to market, call us, we are here for you!