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August 30, 2021

Testing Mobile Games: Considerations & Recommendations for Gaming Apps

Mobile Application Development

Mobile gaming is a thriving industry and today, there are a lot more games to play than just Candy Crush. In order to stay competitive, your apps will need to be thoroughly tested. Mobile game testing ensures your apps are not only secure and reliable but also user-friendly and playable.

In this blog, we will go over what it takes to test mobile games, how it differs from general app testing, common use cases, and some recommendations for testing.  

Game On: The Market Growth of Mobile Games 

The mobile gaming industry will be valued at $272 billion by 2030, up from $98 billion in 2020, according to GlobalData's 2021 thematic study, "Thematic Research: Mobile Gaming." The industry is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 11% over the next ten years.

Most gamers will embrace mobile gaming in the next several years, thanks to the rising maturity of streaming (assisted by 5G), mobile esports, cloud gaming services, and the fact that mobile apps are catching up to PCs and consoles. Developers are pushing the capabilities of mobile devices to their limits, and some of the world's largest franchises are succeeding on mobile platforms.

Any project's success relies heavily on testing. However, when it comes to mobile app development, testing is even more important because of its growing popularity.  

Testing, Testing: Special Considerations for Testing Mobile Games 

Though there are similarities between testing mobile game apps and mobile apps in general, the complexity in mobile game testing is high. In comparison to testing web or other mobile apps, designing, producing, and testing mobile games is a unique process. 

Mobile devices are available in a wide range of operating systems and screen sizes. As a result, it is critical to test your mobile game's responsive design in addition to its features: How well does your user interface transfer from a Galaxy S to an iPhone 12? What happens when a user switches their screen from portrait to landscape? 

A mobile game's quality, robustness, and device compatibility are all important elements in its success. By testing all these features during development, you are far more likely to produce a successful game.  

Related Reading >> Game Development Process: How Game Development Works

Types of Testing for Mobile Games  

Mobile game testers use similar methods to traditional mobile app testers when building and testing games. They use Agile methodologies, DevOps tools, and continuous integration, and source code repositories. Below are some types of testing commonly used in mobile game testing and examples of each.  

Automated Testing 

Mobile test automation is an advanced method of simultaneous, automatic testing of mobile games based on specific test scenarios provided by the developer or user. 

Game developers use mobile test automation to incorporate testing into their Agile development process. This increases the speed with which implementations are evaluated, resulting in early releases with fewer problems. 

Performance Testing  

Performance testing examines a software application’s speed, stability, reliability, scalability, and resource usage under a specified workload.  Slow and broken games can undermine an otherwise good mobile game app. That is where performance testing comes in. It shows the metrics that your app requires to function properly. Make a list of your game's performance requirements, such as average load time, battery usage, internet connection requirements, and local database requirements.

It is important to test on newer, older, and lower-end devices as well to ensure the games work on all devices, including 2G. 

Localization Testing  

Localization testing checks that a website or app supports full functionality and usability in a particular location.  

Developers should change an app into the language of local gamers to target new markets. Localization is not only about language but also local time, date, format, currency, and more. Some markets require further customization, such as compatibility with a complete keyboard in Asian countries or right-to-left text support in Arabic countries. 

Functional Testing  

Functional testing checks an application, website, or system to ensure it is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing.  

Functional testing means playing the games to find bugs and can be automated. You can set up test automation frameworks if you understand the code of your mobile app. Automated functional testing goes through the game flow and checks colors and backgrounds, menu structure, screen orientation, loading time, and more.  

Load Testing  

Load testing is a non-functional software testing process that determines how the software application behaves while being accessed by multiple users simultaneously.  

What is the maximum number of players that can play on a server? Is your app able to communicate with your server? How much memory does the software use? Load testing checks your app against all of these scenarios. Load testing can be automated with test scripts and original content from the backend servers.

Regression Testing  

Regression testing is a type of functional testing that runs test cases against older devices, browsers, and OS versions. 

Most mobile games have a server-client interaction that requires a login, a user data transfer, and then a server data download (such as data and images). You run the risk of breaking your code when you build these services.

Related Reading >> Different Types of Testing in Software: The Complete Guide 

5 Common Mobile Game Use Cases 

The most crucial step in the game production process is game testing. This is the last step in determining whether or not your gaming app is ready to go live. Such services provide a critical eye to the development process, focusing on inconsistencies, mistakes, coherence and completeness, and other issues. Here are five of the most common mobile game uses cases.  

UI/Functionality  

UI and the overall functionality of your app directly impact how successful your mobile game app will be. These two factors, along with aesthetic appeal and gameplay, are the most important to get right in a mobile game.  

  • UI layouts and elements: Anytime the UI layout changes; regression testing should be performed.  

  • Screen resolution: There are many different screen resolutions available, especially on Android. Testing your game across these multiple resolutions is suggested to verify that the graphics do not stretch. 

  • Menu structure and functions: Test automation frameworks may be used to automate menu layout, functionality, and correct behavior. 

  • Screen orientation: What happens if the game's screen orientation changes throughout the game? Is it possible to play the game in both landscape and portrait mode?

UX/Usability  

Testing usability, navigation flow, and ultimately what user experience your game provides to gamers is impossible on emulators. So, instead of using emulators, only utilize genuine devices for testing. Here are two essential elements to consider while evaluating user experience.  

  • User interaction and responsiveness: It is important to test the game's performance, which can result in a positive or negative user experience. Performance lags, for example, are easy to detect using real-world devices.  

  • Background events: Interruptions, battery consumption, and charging all have a significant impact on user experience. 

Social Media Integrations 

Integration with social media is a critical aspect of your game. Many games allow users to share their scores with their social network in public or private feeds. To ensure full functionality and ease of use, this integration should be tested on Android and iOS devices, with various OS versions and device combinations.  

The wildly successful game, Angry Birds, used social integration to keep their players hooked to the game. Players were prompted to link their Facebook accounts and invite their friends to play the game. Players received in-app rewards for recommending friends, which they could use to purchase in-game items.

Security and Liabilities 

Third parties, such as advertisements and payment gateways, are present in many mobile games. Because of third-party integration, these can be easy points of entry for attackers, and testers must check this thoroughly. Third-party tools can also cause crashes and problems; therefore, functional testing is required.  

Graphics Performance  

Your game's performance must be consistent across a variety of devices. So, test on as many real devices as possible. You should consider doing tests that last for a longer length of time to examine how your game responds to varying levels of usage and situations.  

Do not underestimate the power of graphics. Call of Duty, the world’s most popular first-person franchise, was an instant success in part to its stunning graphics. The game’s features and realistic graphics gathered a passionate fanbase that has lasted for two decades.  

Mobile testing demo on Perfecto.

Bottom Line 

Mobile gaming is all about high-quality performance. Testing is critical to ensure that your app gives users the performance they expect. All of it can be done as part of an Agile development process, with every component of the game being tested during development and production. Many aspects of design, look-and-feel, and other key foundations for user experience, can be tested during pre-production with automated testing.  

Testing With Perfecto  

If you are looking for a way to get started with real device testing, Perfecto provides support for frameworks, critical tools, and materials on how to get started with mobile app testing.  

Try Perfecto