Quality Assurance (QA) has been a foundational component of software product development for decades. As the products being tested have become more complex, so too have the needs of testers looking to polish those products. Thankfully, test automation technology has enabled testers to create significantly more efficient development pipelines, allowing for faster turnaround times, more comprehensive test feedback, and other helpful benefits.
However, testers in the video game industry have fallen behind their enterprise software counterparts. By still relying heavily on manual, regressive testing to polish up high-budget releases, large studios have run into a variety of problems over the years. While some automation tools are starting to be adopted, gaming still has a lot of catching up to do.
It should be noted that test automation can complement and empower manual testers in the gaming industry, not undercut their skills. With that in mind, let’s detail a few ways that test automation can benefit a game studio’s QA team.
If a studio is strictly limited to manual tests, there’s a cap on how many tests can be verified. With automation, a team can spend more time writing new tests for more thorough coverage on each and every build.
Additionally, QA professionals can write more complex tests that could be difficult to execute otherwise, allowing for even more detailed coverage. All in all, better test coverage means a higher quality product, which can only benefit the QA team and each of its respective testers.
Efficient, detailed tests can do wonders for a team’s workload. A huge reason why crunch can occur is due to the limitations of manual testing amidst a complex, large-scale project. Open-world games, live service content and other significant undertakings can create issues for QA teams, even with a large amount of staff working on improving coverage.
Automation can help testers work their way through existing content faster, quickly establish a reusable suite of tests, and allow them to tackle newer, more relevant components as they come through. This can relieve a huge portion of stress placed on QA, and allow them to thrive further in a difficult, fast-paced environment.
Great employers should not only want their staff to succeed at their current role, but be able to support their career growth in new ways. Test automation brings with it a new set of skills as far as coding and task management goes, and learning about these tools can be a fairly straightforward process.
QA is not only a great career path on its own, but can be a reliable jumping off point for professionals looking to make their mark in other areas of game development. If test automation plays a role in QA processes, it will benefit the skill set of the testers and the quality of the product in equal measure.
This recognition of QA as a skilled practice with it’s own career path can increase employee satisfaction and retention, which in turn results in a higher quality of work for the team.
There are many other advantages that come with implementing test automation within a given test pipeline. Many of those traits become evident amid further use, as every testing environment can be different from company to company. These have just been some of the immediate benefits of test automation that directly impact the quality of life for the QA and testing workers that make great games even better.