Buglance | 6 steps to overcome the challenges of mobile game testing

6 steps to overcome the challenges of mobile game testing

6 steps to overcome the challenges of mobile game testing
It is no surprise to see the ever-increasing speed of the mobile gaming industry. In the last 20-30 years, its audience skyrocketed from a few million to 2.2 billion users. Now it is unimaginable to see the world without mobile games. With that acceleration of popularity, mobile game testing becomes more complex and hard to handle. Most of us have played them for different purposes: for entertainment, passing the time, even earning real money. Even if you are not interested, you have probably heard the names like PUBG Mobile, Subway Surfers, Call Of Duty, FIFA Mobile, etc. Almost everyone around us has somehow been involved in this tremendously big industry. However, we, as users, only see the surface part of the whole process. Game developers have to handle various challenges they come across during the testing of the game. This article will focus on the main burdens they face and the main methods to overcome them.
Nurlan Suleymanov
Nurlan SuleymanovContent Specialist

How many mobile game testing types are there?

Although it is also applicable to app testing, there are two types of testing for mobile gaming. Black box and white box testing are trendy in the software testing world. However, they apply the same principles in mobile game testing, too. They differ for the purpose they hold, so let us look at these differences.

Black-box testing is applicable if you want to test the overall playability and functional aspects of your game. There are different examples of that in mobile game testing. The leading role of this testing is trying any visual appearance in the game. These are special effects, elements in graphics, and animations. The actual gameplay is on that list, too. Other than that, we can also mention the testing of a graphical user interface and experience. Generally, the automation of the flow of testing relies on black-box testing.

White-box testing is more about systematic aspects of the game. You can also apply white-box testing for external entities like social media, databases, and third-party components on the game’s integrational side.

What issues mobile game developers face?

It does not matter how perfect you think your product is; there are always problems. And it is normal to have them. The way developers approach these problems is the main factor that differentiates them. Generally, it is mentioned that there are 6-7 challenges in mobile game development.

Just like testing mobile apps, mobile game testing will also bring some mainstream challenges. Most of them are standard for both testing types. We will start from the most significant problems to more underrated, but still important ones and try to mention all of them.

1. The type of connection

For the QA team, one of the first challenges to cope with is the game’s connection type. Mainly, there are three main mobile data connection types, being 3G, 4G, and 5G. Each of them has brought a new level to the speed of the connection. It is expected that 90% of the world population will have access to 4G. However, the speed of the connection remains an issue for mobile game testing. To improve your QA, you should go through this step. There are questions developers should ask themselves before releasing the game. Is this game working smoothly in a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection? Can the players enjoy the game the same in 3G, 4G, and 5G? Talking about Wi-Fi, even the type of Wi-Fi connection varies for different locations.

So, when you start testing, it is crucial to apply your testing to all types of connections. Other than that, the bandwidth usage should also be taken into consideration. Simply put, the kind of connection is one of the first things you should test in your mobile game testing. And there should be no shortcuts in that.

2. Operating Systems

Another problem for the testing process could be legacy devices. Depending on the device you use, your experience of specific mobile apps or games could change. It is well-known that most people apply to Android or IOS. The statistics also show the total dominance of these devices in mobile game testing. More than 99% of smartphones in the world use these two operating systems. However, these 2 operating systems do not cover all smartphone users. In the market, only 1% of all users are still a significant number. You should not forget that there are some devices like Windows Phones, BlackBerries, and others.

Other than that, older versions of Android and iOS are still used in different areas. Why is mentioning this significant? Because updating the OS is one of the most irritating procedures when it comes to smartphones. Although updates are meant to develop the devices’ performance, in most cases, it happens vice versa. And an application or a game that was working smoothly on your device in an older OS version starts crashing. That is why some people hesitate to update their devices’ OS. So, testing should cover not only the main OS types but also their different versions. If it is available only at latest versions, the app loses hundreds of thousands of potential users.

So, the testing procedures should take into account the existence of such devices. If you want to give your competitors a hard time, OS is an excellent point to start in mobile game testing.

3. Security

If we segment the challenges the users face, security could be number 1 in our list easily. Not only mobile gaming, but the whole digital world appreciates security more than anything. And today’s gamers are no exception. They want to feel secure when they link their data to the game. Most modern mobile games are online and demand email addresses or other personal data for registration. So there is no way you can underestimate this feature. There is no chance to get higher ratings from the players when you can not guarantee their security.

So, before launching the game, you have to scrutinize the game properly.

The starting point should be the local data storage. Personal information and credentials are the main components of local data storage. If an operating system APIs do not function well, the user’s info can be transferred to the other apps on the same device. And that is one of the most unwanted situations regarding the reputation of the app. Authentication and authorization issues
are another significant part of security problems in the testing process. They include the realization of fingertips instead of complex passwords and other features. Also, developers should take into account the code quality.

4. Multiplayer options

One of the gaming industry’s turning points has been adding the multiplayer feature to the games. As it has given the players the chance to play with overseas players, it is a must for mobile games. However, it has brought a lot of problems with itself. It is one of the most problematic features of modern games, which is full of bugs.

Logically, testing this feature is also one of the most challenging tasks in the whole testing process. It can take several days to test this feature of the game for the testers. With crowdsourced testing, you can get the results faster.

5. Screen sizes

If you want to mention one ever-changing feature in smartphones, it should be screen sizes. Every year we see different-sized iPhones, Samsungs, and other popular mobile devices. It makes the responsibility of game developers even bigger. To develop a game that is adaptable to each kind of screen size is not an easy task. Game creating companies have to take it into account. Otherwise, there is a considerable chance that you will get negative reviews and comments. Remember, the gaming world is not patient at all. All they need to avoid the game is one single problem. After that, you will start losing customers who won’t come back even if you fix it. So before launching the game, you have to chase perfection. And you have to test every feature of your game in every possible device.

6. Freezing

As we have mentioned before, almost all of us have been a gamer for some period. So, as gamers, what do we hate to see the most? Right! It is the word “Loading” on our screens. However, it may be less annoying if it lasts no more than just a few seconds. Otherwise, players will leave the game and delete it even before fully experiencing it.

This problem can occur in different parts of the game. Let it be the multiplayer mode or any other offline mode; there is no guarantee that the game is freezing-free. Again, this problem can occur in a specific kind of device with a different OS, so testing this feature can take time. As in the previous issues, crowdsourced testing can help you a lot in that. People from other geographical locations with different mobile devices can give you what you need in a couple of days.

How can we solve all these?

Okay, enough with the problems. If you start counting, there will be no end to the possible issues that may occur. There can be social media integration, usability, and other hundreds of problems. During the testing, some problems may appear that you have never heard of. The ones we have mentioned are the most basic. So covering all these issues will help you to develop a high-quality end product finally.

But how? Different testing types can fix most of these problems. So let us look at them. Again, most of them are also relatable to mobile app testing.

Functionality testing

During the game development process, creators mainly focus on specific specifications. And the functionality testing is for making sure that the end product follows these specifications. Mainly, the generic problems are the target of this testing type. Other than that, it will test the graphics and user interface. Stability issues in the game alongside the issues related to audio and visual effects also fall into these categories. Some of the problems we have mentioned may appear, like freezing, crashing, or the blockages in the progression. One of the main parts of this testing is the UI (User Interface) testing. In mobile game testing, UI focuses on two elements,

Other than all the issues we have mentioned, the localization part of the testing is also crucial. These possibly critical issues should give you an impression of how decisive functionality testing is.

Compatibility testing

This type of testing is done to make sure that the game is compatible across different devices. Also known as smoke testing, it can cover various issues like incompatibility issues in various game parts. To ensure that your products function well in all devices, compatibility testing is a must in mobile testing.

We can add that compatibility testing is like the summary of other testing types combined. What do you test when you are testing compatibility? Well, the list is long. Hardware, software, browser, network, devices, all are included in this list. There are 2 kinds of compatibility testing, being backward and forward compatibility testings. Tools like BrowserStack help developers perform this testing.
But it is only one part of a huge process. Crowdsourced testing may help you to tackle all the issues that are included in the compatibility testing.

Performance testing

It will make sure that the performance of the game is above average. It is the key testing that determines the rating of your game across different platforms. Many game developers only focus on testing their products on high-end devices, which would be a decisive mistake. Because to succeed, getting considerably good results from low-end devices is a must.

The main performance testing attributes are speed and reliability. Other than that, there is stability and scalability to take care of.

Regression testing

Want to scrutinize the functionality of all features of the gaming app? Regression testing is your answer. This testing carries a more important role when there is an update to the game by developers. Most game developers focus on testing their products just to fix the older problems. But the more complicated part is to achieve the nearly perfect, bug-free game. For this, you can not allow for new bugs to pop up. So, if you are a developer with little experience, regression testing should be on the top of your testing list.

Exploratory testing

Or Ad hoc testing is a less complicated and structural type of testing. The main feature of this testing is randomly done through different parts of the game. The “error guessing” technique should be the main principle in this testing. It is like testing the testing process itself. For example, the testing process may not follow the plan and can be incomplete during mobile game testing. To avoid inconveniences, testers apply this method. The general or ad hoc testing is there to ensure that there is no need to test the testing.

Crowdsourced testing: One solution to countless problems

Sounds too much? It is normal. There is no need to panic. So how to get out of this mess? There is the most optimal, but still underestimated solution to all those problems: crowdtesting. Without the need to hire thousands of testers, crowdsourced testing can manage all of the mentioned above. Other than that, you can get your job done at an extremely high pace. So speed is another crucial factor to consider. Another critical element in crowdsourced testing is diversity. Remember all the problems with OS, internet connection speed, and smartphone models? Crowdsourced testing covers it all with the availability of reaching thousands of people all over the world. So, if you are into mobile game testing, crowdsourced testing is more than all you need.

Buglance: Innovative, fast, creative

Buglance is a crowdsourced testing platform that can tackle all your issues in just a couple of days. As we have mentioned before, the mobile gaming industry is overgrowing every year. 26% of all costs in this tremendously big industry are dedicated to QA and testing. Working with Buglance is like opening many doors to your success because there are more than 40000 testers in over 90 countries with 10000 unique devices. Distributing the task throughout the country decreases your costs considerably, too. So, if you are a game, app, or software developer who tries to manage seemingly never-ending testing issues, Buglance is the most optimal solution for you.