Developing a successful video game requires coordinated efforts by a team of several people. Some of them are responsible for the programming, while others do the graphic design, sound effects, music, etc. But there is one part of the development process that is also very important, that of Game Quality Assurance. When creating a new product, it is quite rare for any company, in any industry, to get everything right the first time. This is why companies that produce video games also put in a lot of effort into Game QA.
This has been a part of the entire game creation process for decades now and is unlikely to ever become unnecessary. But what has changed in recent times is who actually does the quality assurance for video games. According to recent news reports, online communities of video game enthusiasts have grown at an exponential rate. Gamers join discussion forums and social media groups to discuss their favorite video games and share information with others.
While reputable video game companies all employ dedicated staff who take care of the game QA, an increasing part of it is actually being done by gamers themselves. People who are passionate about video games often report any bugs and glitches to other users and to the video game makers. This allows the creators of the game to develop a workaround or to release a patch that will correct the issue. Sometimes, it is even the fans themselves which do this and it is often welcomed by video game production companies. In addition to troubleshooting problems, gamers also create mods or improvements to games, such as adding new maps for the multiplayer mode, creating new levels, changing the appearance of characters, etc. You will often see game companies that release a software development kit to the public for this reason.
Increasingly, Game Testersare not employees of the company, but rather players who have signed up to receive beta versions of certain games and who will test them out and report any potential issues, problems and things that could be improved in order to make the game more playable and enjoyable.
This actually helps increase the quality of video games as a whole by a significant margin and is especially important for PC games. This is due to the fact that not all computers have the same kind of hardware, internet connection, operating system and software. As there are so many variables, it is a good idea for the game vendor to let the public test their games so that they can detect any compatibility issues and thus develop a solution to the problem before the game is released in its final version. Even if a game has already been released, the internet makes it easy for the vendor to release an update which will contain things such as bug fixes, graphics improvements, etc.