VMC’s Kirstin Whittle discusses how the multi-platform evolution is driving new QA protocols
We all have so many devices now – phones, tablets, desktops, consoles, even smartwatches and VR. It means there are many ways for users to engage with games and applications. This variety allows developers to attract and build a strong user base across multiple devices, but it is also driving changes to the role of QA in the product development process.
We all know that people expect a seamless playing experience. They want to remain immersed in the game world no matter what platform they’re playing on. As the proliferation of options grows – more devices, on more platforms, with continual hardware upgrades – the complexity of the QA and production processes across multiple devices grows with it. These changes are creating the opportunity for stronger partnerships between developers and their QA partners.
More Devices, More Demand
Pundits like to predict how the emergence of one technology will be the death knell for another, but the reality is more complex.
While manufacturers and the media evangelise the latest consoles and devices, most users aren’t upgrading with every new release. People get comfortable with their preferred interface or can’t afford to upgrade as often as the manufacturers might prefer. Along with a range of platforms and devices, the QA process must contend with different generations of each.
With so many active platforms, ensuring compatibility (and backwards compatibility) for a multi-platform title requires access to a comprehensive inventory of relevant devices.
Yet for most companies, the limited frequency of need – initial launch and periodic updates – makes assembling a huge inventory of devices a very cost-prohibitive process.
Working with a reliable QA outsourcing firm that owns and maintains a full range of the latest (and not-so-latest) devices allows developers to have their products fully tested on every version of their target operating system, device, and platform.
Continuity Across Every Platform
You learn a lot while performing QA on a title – and that knowledge is crucial to the multi-platform QA and support process. Tight coordination between test teams on different platforms enables efficient cross-referencing of issues across different devices, in turn accelerating results and giving development teams more time to address bugs. This is especially valuable when deadlines are driven by release dates and marketing plans rather than development.
Here’s the bottom line: Players want a great user experience, and delivering consistent product quality across everything from smartphones and tablets to desktops and consoles requires looking at the multi-platform QA process holistically, not as individual QA projects that are specific to each device.
Rather than running the risk of end-user disappointment by limiting the scope of your QA process, it is far better to choose a partner who can expertly handle every aspect of your multi-platform release strategy, including testing and localisation across a full range of devices, console compliance, and whatever else you need.
A well-executed QA strategy is essential to maximising both the efficiency of the process and the quality of the results.