ARTICLES | March 28th, 2007
Is it the end for game testers?

During the past 2 years beta testing seems to do it’s job and game testers are suffering the consequences of having nothing to do. Of course beta testing isn’t more powerful of having a team of people who work constantly on the software, but it’s decreasing the testing and quality assurance expenses. Well, community testing is testing for free!

Whoever feels like being a game tester is cool and fun, Well it’s not like that at all! But who wants to have a good laugh we suggest the film Grandma’s Boy which is a very good comedy film featuring a wacky game tester and his room mates.

David Perry from Acclaim belivies that beta testing and other automated procedures are slows depreciating the game testers. He says The concept of traditional testing is going to become more and more consumer baded.

Game Testers make great work in finding those impossible bugs and help the development team create a better stable system with not so much pay. The work of a game tester is very crucial to the product since they are the people at the top who say Product ok for release or not.

Normally, you pay 20 or 30 people to test a game for six months. You give them office space. You buy computers for them. It?s a huge cost. Instead, we decided to include the community every single chance we get, so all the testing is done by consumers. They test everything 100%.? Perry Says.

This comes at a time when auto-testing is becoming more fashionable. ?With advanced self testing, the games play themselves. With automated testing the bot will try to go in every possible direction and in every room, every day, in every part of your game, trying to get up through the ceilings and everything.?

The Cheaper Alternative, Perry is not suggesting that testers are not anymore needed yet. Just that with some game types like Massive multiplayer online, the public is a better and a cheaper alternative.

?The concept of traditional testing is going to become more and more consumer based,? he says. ?Sometimes testers know how to test a certain level because they?ve been banging away on it for ages. But after a while they start to get used to that level and they start taking a path of least resistance because they know how the level works. But that?s not what you want. You want consumers who don?t know where to go, banging into every object, falling over everything, trying to get up through the walls. Traditional testers hammering away on something? I don?t know. Those days are going to go away.?

For testers, this is anathema. After years of having to repeatedly explain that playing games for a living is both hard work and mentally challenging, they are now being told that their services are unrequired. They are likely to point out that a professional is bound to do a better job than an amateur. ?If you ask the testers they?ll say consumers can?t do it properly. I disagree completely,? says Perry. ?Consumers know the games better than we do. They are so passionate. You?ll get a guy who?ll work out where the balance of a single weapon is slightly wrong in a certain situation. He?ll send me every little detail. He hits me on every account, every address he can find for me. He?ll guess email addresses just in case he gets me. Everywhere I go I?m seeing this guy?s posts. But he?s right. And he?ll get everyone else to check and see that he?s right. That?s consumers.?

He adds, ?We recently announced a test and we had 100,000 people sign up. We don?t need 100,000. We need about 3,000. You can?t believe the fuss that causes. ?Am I in the 3,000?? I?m getting instant messages, I?m getting private messages, emails. It?s a very interesting dynamic when you start to include community.?

But testers have long been a source of game design and producer talent. Where is that going to come from in future? Part of the answer, again, is community.

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