COVID struck and affected many people and industries. The game industry seemed to be well placed to weather the pandemic initially. But in fact, COVID is a double-edged sword, as it creates both opportunities and challenges for game developers at the same time.
Game Developers' Challenges During COVID
With the policies of quarantine in many countries and the rise of streaming services, there was a massive increase in-game engagement during COVID. In 2020, the total game sales were 175 billion US dollars, a 20% increase from 2019.
However, the market is highly fragmented and competitive. According to Statista, there was a 24.4% increase in the number of games available in the Google Play Store from 2019 to 2020. Many games are struggling to acquire new players and maintain loyal users and can find themselves being easily replaced. Therefore, even in this expanding gaming market, Mobile games still need to confront the intense competition to win more users. Also, it would not be easy to retain COVID gamers in 2021 after the lockdown is over. According to Newzoo, there is expected to be a 1.1% decline in 2021’s global games revenue.
Moreover, many game companies face a lack of capability and key resources as game developers had to work from home and game releases were massively delayed.
Technology also becomes an issue. As much as many game developers don’t want to lose this unprecedented opportunity to boost their games, it is much harder to maintain good server quality and supporting services during COVID, as hardware limitations and network constraints create difficulties for companies to test games remotely.
Thus, although the sales were up in 2020, the production and quality of games were down.
These challenges make effective quality assurance strategies more valuable than ever, not only during COVID but also after COVID.
Despite all these challenges and issues, many games still succeeded in 2020. Why?
The answer is: Excellent Game Quality.
While the budgets are limited, some game developers allocate more resources to boost gameplay innovation while sacrificing overall quality during the chain from R&D to operations. Ultimately, revenue and user experiences are often far below expectations.
The right way to boost revenue and reduce costs is to wisely conduct quality assurance throughout the entire game development and distribution process. And we provide some guidelines below:
During the Research and Development phase, quality contents and stable game performance should be given top priority. Start testing your game as early as possible, and automate testing wisely would save much cost of bug-fixing, because errors are identified and fixed at an early stage. Finding good supplier management tools would also make it easier to quickly identify performance problems.
During Game Operation, we need to monitor real-time game performance and conduct testing repeatedly in order to identify and resolve crashes faster.
These tips help improve the efficiency of game testing and ensure a stable gaming experience for players over time.