Video game beta tests typically focus on user interaction, gameplay and balance tuning, compatibility, quality, and performance in real-world environments.
Video Game Beta Test Traits
Cooperative Testing - Many games feature multiplayer functionality, requiring players to test together to simulate a live experience.
Young Audience - Depending on the genre and content, the target participants of a game beta may be a very young audience, which leads to different recruitment and management issues.
Public Betas - More so than most product types, video games often make use of the public beta format, inviting an extremely large pool of participants. Public betas are a common element of a modern video game marketing plan, and as such rely little on direct user feedback (although server performance and other generated data is often collected and evaluated).
Video Game Beta Test Challenges
Participant Coordination - In order to ensure participants stress multiplayer aspects of games, it's important to coordinate players so they're capable of playing together, focused specifically on your goals. Scheduling and general coordination for a large group of users can be a time consuming task.
Platform Lockdown - For console and closed platform games (iPhone, etc.), distributing pre-release builds to testers can be challenging. This is primarily due to security concerns of the platform holders, which result in a number of obstacles.
Scale - Many games require very large participant pools. These pools can require an enormous amount of coordination, communication, and logistical planning. Seemingly simple tasks such as distributing beta builds becomes increasingly complex as the number of participants rises.
Limited Feedback - While gaming betas generally have no problem convincing users to try their game, obtaining valid feedback is a much greater challenge. Many players have come to think of game betas as free products as opposed to an exclusive opportunity to provide essential feedback.
Audience Age - Many game betas include a younger audience, which can be difficult to keep focused, and may bring entirely different legal requirements than older participants.
Information Leaks - Between the younger age of game beta testers, the large size of many game tests, and the excitement to test a new game, there is a higher likelihood that testers will want to discuss their experiences in game betas. This can increase the possibility of leaks about the product.
Beta Portal - The Centercode platform provides a centralized portal to distribute information to and collect feedback from your beta participants.
Private Forums - Private user forums provide beta participants with an outlet to share their excitement about your beta product with other NDA'd users in a secure location fully within your control.
Collaboration Discussion and Voting - Our software lets testers contribute their ideas to submitted issues by voting, commenting, and adding new information, creating centralized discussions about problems or ideas.
Duplicate Management - Centercode's sophisticated Duplicate Management features make it easy to manage the large amounts of repetitive feedback that can arise in a large gaming beta.
Tasks - Centercode's Task system provides an excellent mechanism to keep participants on target, focused on stressing and testing the aspects of your game you care about most.
Build Distribution - Centercode makes it easy to distribute software builds to participants. Our platform includes both internal secure file distribution mechanisms, as well as hooks to distribute via external content delivery systems like Akamai.
Product Key Distribution - Many games require activation keys, which must be distributed to beta participants prior to using the product. Our platform allows you to both distribute and monitor these keys.
Recruiting - Our community (Betabound) is loaded with thousands of gamers who would love to participate in your betas. We'd be happy help seed and build your beta community.
Blind Recruiting - We can recruit a set of participants who meet your target market requirements, without exposing your brand in the process.
Offset Your Resources - We've run a number of successful video game betas in the past. If your timeline is tight, outsourcing your project to our expert team can produce great results at a reasonable price.