It's not always fun to playtest games. In general, it's enjoyable. But there is also some reporting and paperwork involved. So what exactly does playtesting involve? And how can you register to participate in it? Let's investigate.
What Is Playtesting?
Playtesting is the process of soliciting opinions from real players about a game. Before games are made available to the general public, developers test them with users. You can get employment as a professional video game tester on job boards like Indeed.
Developers do, however, enjoy hearing comments from ordinary players and frequently provide the public playtesting opportunities.
Playtesting can involve accessing games as soon as possible—or even earlier—because it can involve alpha and beta testing before the game is released. For the chance to get early access, you may even pre-register for games on the Google Play Store. In closed testing, participants must apply or get an invitation. Early iterations of the game are made available for free during open testing with the understanding that they are still in development.
Making sure the game is playable and free of significant bugs or design issues is often the goal of alpha testing. The focus of beta testing is more on how much fun a game is: Is the game fun to play? Is it too difficult or not difficult enough?
After a game is out, some developers keep testing it to ensure that updates continue to satisfy player needs.
How to Get Involved in Playtesting
More power to you if you decide to pursue a career as a professional videogame tester. There are methods to participate in playtesting for the rest of us without abandoning your day job.
Volunteer with Developers and Publishers
If you have any favourite game developers, you can frequently sign up to playtest on their community portals. Popular game firms that are actively looking for playtesters include:
- EA Games
- Bethesda Game Studio
- Riot Games
- 2K Games
Investigate the websites of any more businesses you may be familiar with in the gaming industry to see if they offer public playtesting. As an illustration, Steam does playtesting despite being more of a publisher than a creator.
Find a Playtesting Group
You can join groups that link playtesters with developers and publishers if you don't want to deal with either party directly. Playtest Cloud and Antidote are two examples.
Joining a group like this has the advantage of allowing you to view playtesting possibilities from various developers on various platforms without having to register with several groups. There may be enjoyable online forums run by these organisations where you may interact with other playtesters.
Answering the Call to Playtest
You often begin by responding to a brief survey requesting information about the types of games you enjoy playing and the platforms you prefer, whether you sign up to playtest with a playtest group or with a particular game developer or publisher. In this manner, you are alerted to games that you are more likely to be familiar with and interested in.
Your local location is often also included in the survey and community onboarding. Some games have slightly varying release dates, availability, or other characteristics depending on the local market. Additionally, you'll learn what information regarding playtesting you may divulge and what you need to keep private.
In most cases, the community you playtest with is fairly aware of your playtests. You can still notice more opportunities even though you might only receive emails about the games and platforms you listed in your survey response. If you obtain access to other systems or decide to incorporate more game genres, you may also go back and change your information.
What Does Playtesting Actually Look Like?
You've signed up with a publisher, developer, or playtesting business, right? After completing your initial survey and joining the necessary online forums, you were eventually invited to a playtest.
You can learn the title of the game, the console, and an approximate completion time from the invitation. You might be invited to simply play the game or to engage in certain exchanges. What's next?
First off, keep in mind that you are a volunteer; if you don't take advantage of every chance presented to you, you won't be dismissed. It's acceptable to decline requests to playtest.
If you choose to take part in a playtest, the next step will be a more thorough email that explains how to access the game and provides any additional, more extensive instructions and materials you might require to finish the playtest. During your playtest, you might need to perform things like turn on audio and screen recording.
Both the entertainment factor and the game's functionality are important to game developers and publishers. Therefore, one of the key elements that the majority of playtests check for is whether the game's design enables you to carry out the actions you want to in a way that makes sense to you.
The practise of "thinking out loud"—narrating what you're attempting to do and how you're trying to do it—is a key component of many playtests. Although it may seem stupid, game publishers and developers must understand how players interact with their game in order to make it better.
After you finish playing, there is typically a quick survey. Respond to their inquiries, expand on additional aspects of the promps, and feel free to add broader observations about your experience.
Rewards of Being a Playtester
The playtest and the group you playtest through will determine the prizes you receive for participating. The pleasure of having your opinion heard by game makers may be the only benefit. Occasionally, you might receive compensation. You might receive "credits" that can be used in the platform's store for gifts cards or prizes.
The genuine "payoff" is typically a mix of these factors. The material incentives are little, while the community rewards are significant, unless you do manage to become a professional playtester. While you may occasionally receive a few cash or a free game, the main prize is just taking part in the creation of games.
You Too Can Be a Playtester
Playtesting can be a full-time profession, but it can also be done in one's free time by almost everyone. There are regulations involved, and it's not all fun and games, but it's still enjoyable and gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you helped a game grow and better.