Your games dropping ranks on or leaderboards? Players ranting about frame drops, laggy servers or losing elite & expensive gears?

Author – Abhilash S (Test Practice Leader)

As the gaming domain is heading towards a tech explosion with games becoming smarter, immersive and experiential, Quality assurance for Games has reached new levels and demands more every day. While testing the games for their core functionality and mechanics has always been an integral part of Games QA (Quality Assurance) and advancement in technology to improve them have seen a steady progress, the sheer magnitude of experiencing and being part of the game, itself has become particularly important. Providing this true sense of Quality of Experience (QoE) and testing to ensure the same is delivered to the players is a critical success factor. In this blog, we shall discuss few crucial factors affecting multiplayer experience in games.

According to Entertainment Software Association research done in 2022, “85% of players play video games with other players online” (up from 77% in 2021 and 65% in 2020). With the advent of online gaming, it is becoming increasingly crucial that multiplayer games can manage many players concurrently, providing an enhanced user experience be it in terms of the rendering of the game world, connectivity, matchmaking and special events. While the above are taken care of by the developers/publishers, the QA team has to test these offerings across a spectrum of environments, deduce relevant use cases related to various infrastructure set ups, server capacity to handle high user traffic and concurrent use, along with ensuring the immersive experience that creates a never before and unforgettable gaming experience which will make them want to play more and encourage more to play.

What’s at stake?

User experience –  Multiplayer gaming requires seamless interactions between players. Performance issues, such as lag and delays, can severely disrupt gaming experience and frustrate players. Some of the KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) to test Multiplayer gaming experience include: Latency, Packet Loss, Jitter, Frame rate, Connection Stability, Matchmaking, replay ability, Player Satisfaction (captured by Surveys, Feedback, Reviews on Forums etc)

Monetization – Many multiplayer games use in-app purchases and microtransactions. Performance issues leading to disconnects during in-app transactions or failure in delivery of purchase (physical/digital) post successful transaction could result in revenue loss in the former case and bad UX in the latter, both negatively affecting monetization opportunities in the future and bad reviews on forums/stores

Security – Multiplayer games are especially vulnerable to cyber threats. Professional, Passionate & Habitual players often tend to spend quite a dollar to buy exclusive and high valued in-game assets. Security is an important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) in multiplayer games because it can affect the player experience in several ways. For example, security vulnerabilities can allow hackers to steal player accounts, cheat in matches, or disrupt the game experience for other players. Including security testing of Games can identify and address vulnerabilities in the game’s multiplayer environment, ensuring fair play and data security.

How is IGS QA testing ensuring a smooth multiplayer experience?

Online games with outstanding multiplayer performance can gain a competitive advantage. Players are more likely to choose games that provide a smooth, lag-free experience.

To ensure users have a smooth & satisfying multiplayer gaming experience, with over 200+ years of collective experience in testing games and passionately playing to this day, IGS’s Leadership team and its career QAs (Quality Assurance) are delivering cutting-edge quality engineering services that include:

Compatibility testing – Multiplayer gaming often brings together players from several platforms and devices. Our compatibility testing ensures that cross-platform play runs smoothly and players can connect regardless of their chosen platform. Our Digital Assurance Lab includes a plethora of physical devices, along with the incorporation of Cloud Device solution platforms, coupled with our Crowd Testing partners, IGS has covered all possible challenges related to Device and Geographic compatibilities.

Testing on Cloud Gaming Platforms

How long did you have to wait to buy your PlayStation 5? With the ongoing microchip crisis, we have witnessed a crunch in availability of the latest gaming consoles & accessories.

Say good bye to your console woes, expensive PC set ups or heating phones to play your favourite games with One Play, a revolutionary decentralized and open-source cloud gaming platform. Cloud platforms like GeForce, One Play allows you to test your games anywhere, anytime, without having to spend a dime on the hardware.

Automation –  Be there first to fix any issues/glitches that may occur during an online multiplayer game with our Selenium based & Python based Automated alert solutions for your games on Web and Mobiles respectively, with minimal or zero down time, keeping the players continuously hooked on to the game. Frameworks like Arium for XR from Thoughtworks and opensource Airtest, a Python-based, cross-platform UI automation testing framework based on the principle of image recognition is suitable for all Android, iOS, and Windows applications, that enables automation of non-orchestrated applications with ease, allowing even non-programming testers to automatically record scripts through normal user operations such as touch and drag. Poco orchestration to game builds enable much more object recognition-based test automation that is less flaky and more robust to achieve dependable and effective test results. Airtest, coupled with Tesseract libraries helps perform data validations.

Performance testing – Multiplayer games need to handle varying levels of player traffic. Our performance testing determines how well the gaming application, and its servers can scale to handle varying player loads while also ensuring the game itself can handle high concurrency.

Security testing – Multiplayer performance in online gaming applications requires players to create multiple user accounts and share personal details, which makes online gaming apps prone to cyber-attacks. Our professional security testing helps business prevent phishing attacks achieved by validating moderation platforms to proactively alert critical and sensitive information sharing, while safeguarding users sensitive data, prevent data breaches and other privacy-related issues. UX testing can help developers to identify and address any potential security vulnerabilities in their games. For example, UX testers can test the game’s matchmaking system to see if it is possible for players to exploit it to gain an unfair advantage. By identifying and addressing these vulnerabilities early on, developers can help to protect their players from harm.

To summarize, we at IGS understand what goes in to making a visually wonderful, experientially amazing and a 5 Star deserving game, so your players always hit the bullseye, buy and build amazing characters, get your game to go through the roofs of the leaderboards and inspire more players to join the gaming clan.