Is play testing still a useful job with close/open beta testing being popular?

Sonic Angel Knight

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Just a conversation I was having in a discord group, that someone mentioned to me having a play testing job as a idea for career, but I pointed out if is even needed when people can do beta testing. Is become more common than it used to be with various publishers having formal documents to request access to closed beta, or just having a open one with player fan base feedback. I mean we are by no means professional but we players sometimes break games to near limits with finding bugs, glitches and other exploits that even the paid testers may not find, so what do you think?:unsure:
 

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Depends on what context.
Before a game is brought to the public, it goes through several development stages.
Sometimes a game is completely scrapped and rewritten before it's released.
All depends on some tester who test the game.

If you release it to the public in the form of a beta and you're going to completely rewrite the game, you'll end up with a massive backlash.
 
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Tigran

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Just remember... play testing isn't what people often think it is. A lot of time it's "Here is a wall.. Spend 8 hours running into it to make sure you can't glitch through it."
 
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Taleweaver

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Just remember... play testing isn't what people often think it is. A lot of time it's "Here is a wall.. Spend 8 hours running into it to make sure you can't glitch through it."
Erm...I'm not a play tester myself, but I think this is a bit too exaggerated in the opposite direction. But it's good to keep this sort of thing in mind, as public beta testing is pretty much the later stages of the actual development. I'm not sure if actually PLAYING was ever a large part of a professional beta tester to begin with. Searching, documenting and analysing game breaking bugs or inconsistencies seems more likely to be the daily task of a tester.
 

Tigran

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Erm...I'm not a play tester myself, but I think this is a bit too exaggerated in the opposite direction. But it's good to keep this sort of thing in mind, as public beta testing is pretty much the later stages of the actual development. I'm not sure if actually PLAYING was ever a large part of a professional beta tester to begin with. Searching, documenting and analysing game breaking bugs or inconsistencies seems more likely to be the daily task of a tester.

It may be slight hyper-boil, but I did know a professional game tester.. and they said it was honestly a -very- boring job until very close to the end when they could actually play a level instead of testing the very basic things.
 

Thelonewolf88

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I used to be a QA Lead Tester for a high profiled company for 7 years. Great job at the time, yet not anymore due numerous things like out sourcing to foreign countries for one.

I worked on numerous AAA titles and 3rd party and seen some stuff, which the public never saw, due to different builds, etc. Also, got to keep some beta versions of games and debug hardware.
 

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With the amount of games released broken then patched in the upcoming days, I think it's obvious that they have no time to afford for beta testing.
"Let the players find the bugs, we fix the game afterwards."
This sort of ideology is kind of why I'm no longer hyped to get a game day one, because I know something will be broken.
 
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Kioku_Dreams

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I used to be a QA Lead Tester for a high profiled company for 7 years. Great job at the time, yet not anymore due numerous things like out sourcing to foreign countries for one.

I worked on numerous AAA titles and 3rd party and seen some stuff, which the public never saw, due to different builds, etc. Also, got to keep some beta versions of games and debug hardware.
The outsourcing explains why there's still a ton of game breaking bugs in most games.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

With the amount of games released broken then patched in the upcoming days, I think it's obvious that they have no time to afford for beta testing.
"Let the players find the bugs, we fix the game afterwards."
This sort of ideology is kind of why I'm no longer hyped to get a game day one, because I know something will be broken.
I don't mind broken games. I like exploits and exploring otherwise unreachable areas. I don't like them in multiplayer games though. Like getting under specific maps in call of duty ;|
 
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Nope, playtesting is going nowhere as a job. It's very important. Let's start by saying that most "betas" today aren't true betas. You can't have a beta just a few weeks before launch, because that's not enough time to fix everything. A game doesn't jump from beta to finished product in the span of a few weeks. Nowadays, "betas" are more and more being used as a teaser or glorified advertisement for the actual game, or as a demo. Their only real purpose is to stress test the servers and see what problems crop up when real players play the game. Meanwhile, you need playtesters from the moment you hit the ground running. Your original prototypes need to be playtested, each iteration on the game design needs to be playtested, and every stage of development requires playtesting to ensure that the game is enjoyable and to check for bugs. Open/closed beta testing will likely have next to zero impact on game testing as a job.
 

Devin

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I've been a paid play tester a couple of times and it for the most part was just playing the game. (I'm sure there are different types of play/stress testers.)

1. Join your designated group in game. (They send out the names of the people you'll be adding on whatever client the game is on a few hours before play testing starts.)
2. Play for increments of 30 minutes.
3. Answer questions in a survey that is sent out to everyone. (Did you experience lag? Did voice communication work properly? Were you able to spawn in correctly? Did you experience any glitches?)
4. Rinse and repeat for 2 hours.

Closed/Open betas I've always thought were for stress testing a game's server before launch (As well as building hype for the game.) and not really for fixing bugs as they couldn't be fixed in such a small time span. I can't imagine a profession that does exactly what the general public will do for free. (In addition to the public option being free advertisement. "Man did you play that Halo 45 beta? It was sick, so hyped for the release".)
 

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With the amount of games released broken then patched in the upcoming days, I think it's obvious that they have no time to afford for beta testing.
"Let the players find the bugs, we fix the game afterwards."
This sort of ideology is kind of why I'm no longer hyped to get a game day one, because I know something will be broken.
...except that that ideology doesn't exist. It's just perceived that way because the problem exist. And unfortunately, that's actually worse: if it was an ideology, all gamers had to do was delay or cancel buying games long enough 'til the point the managers who think that way were fired.
However, in reality, large games are incredibly complex with thousands of things that can go wrong. At the start of the project, a time table has to be set. And at that point, guessing how much will need to be fixed is an estimated guess at best for everyone. Outsourcing testing to foreign countries is a terrible idea*, but it's easy to say that if it's not your responsibility that the game needs to break even at some point.

Combined with @Thelonewolf88 's comment, it puts things in a not-so-nice perspective: it's a thankless job (even if you rapport 100 bugs and 99 get fixed, the internet will blow up that one remaining bug and slant your work as being lazy). It involves criticizing programmers in a way that they know what's wrong and have to fix it, and it apparently also involves communicating with others over the internet (which is more prone to miscommunication than face-to-face). And you're constantly pressed for time.
EDIT: I forgot frustration. At least once I read about a badly received game (I thought it was simcity, but I'm not sure) where the internal testers were fully aware of the state. But because the deadline was set and most bugs required far more time and effort to actually fix, the team's findings were mostly ignored.


*in our office, I often find myself being the "tester" of a certain product of which we're pretty much the largest users. Nonetheless, whenever I find and document even a crucial error in their program, I often have to mail, call and even escalate things before someone actually fixes things (which usually consists of lazy patchwork at best). That process in another country, perhaps with other timezones and languages, will make things even worse for everyone involved
 
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Thelonewolf88

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*in our office, I often find myself being the "tester" of a certain product of which we're pretty much the largest users. Nonetheless, whenever I find and document even a crucial error in their program, I often have to mail, call and even escalate things before someone actually fixes things (which usually consists of lazy patchwork at best). That process in another country, perhaps with other timezones and languages, will make things even worse for everyone involved

^^Yes, totally agree with that and fully aware of the negative impact it has.
 

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