5 good reasons to invest in automated game testing
It's no secret the majority of testing in the game industry is done manually. Games can be very complex and since they put the user at the center of the experience, manual testing is key to deliver a good game. Does that mean however automated game testing is less valuable than in other fields?
Here are 5 good reasons why investing in automated testing can boost the quality of your games.
1. Increased accuracy of repetitive test cases
One of the key asset of a QA tester is their thoroughness. They need to keep a sharp mind and a clear head in order to not overlook any defect. However, humans are not machines, and mistakes will happen.
Repetitive testing can lead to an over-familiarity of the area being tested, to the point where defects go unnoticed. On the other hand automated testing doesn't have this problem because a well written automated test will always execute the same way. This is why automation is king when it comes to regression testing.
So while repetitive manual testing can decrease in accuracy, automation on the contrary can keep it constant.
2. Better quality of life for manual testers
Repetitive tasks can lead to a drop of motivation, especially when someone is testing the same area for days, or even weeks. Automating the repetitive parts of testing can free up time for your manual testers. This way then can focus on tasks that can't be automated, and where a human input is more valuable. This kind of work is usually preferred by testers.
Crunch time (or crunch culture) has been brought up in the recent years. The most common factor causing this is the lack of time and budget. When it comes to QA, this can mean the scope of testing is too large for manual testers to cover the entire game in a reasonable time.
That's where automation can help, since it can test the covered areas faster, it's easier for a QA team to achieve their goals. On the long term this improves the quality of life of manual testers because it might prevent the need to work overtime.
3. Increased test coverage
While manual testing is necessary in game development, it is also quite slow. Automated game testing being faster means you can cover a larger part of the game. This is also coupled with the fact that an automation pipeline can run continuously, even during the night.
Consider a game in which exists hundreds of possible combinations for items, powers, etc. Manual testing would quickly face a bottleneck to assess all these combinations. On the other hand you can leverage the entire 24 hours of a day if automation is checking for these combinations instead.
That's why a good mix of manual and automated testing can increase the coverage of your game.
4. Better cross-device coverage
Nowadays, it is very important to release your games on multiple platforms, be it Desktop, console, or mobile. Device fragmentation is a real issue here.
On mobile, this problem is very obvious: hundreds of different Android phones exist, and Apple has been releasing new iPhones almost every year.
That's really where automated game testing can shine, since the same test case can run on different hardware in parallel. Thus investing in automation opens the gate to a drastic increase of device coverage.
5. Reduced cost on the long term
During the development of a game, the scope of testing becomes larger and larger. Then it becomes challenging for manual testing to reasonably cover the entire project. In other words, the cost of manually testing increases over time.
Automated game testing on the other hand, is less expensive in the long run. It's because once you have built your automation infrastructure, you can reuse it at any time with only a marginal cost. Adding new test cases becomes easier.
That's why automation pays for itself on the long term.
Many other industries have embraced automated testing, while the game industry is lagging behind. For your next project you should consider investing in automation. Your QA team might thank you for it.