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Key Difference Between Apps Testing and Mobile Game Testing

Naman Upadhyay
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Naman Upadhyay
  • May 1, 2024
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    7 min read
Key Difference Between Apps Testing and Mobile Game Testing
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The insanely fast-evolving field where more than 3.8 billion smartphone users globally depend on a wide range of applications for everyday operations. Maintaining an app's functioning, usability, and consistency across various platforms and devices is a difficult task. Research shows that 71% of apps are uninstalled by users within 30 days after downloading, mostly because of performance problems. For this reason, mobile app testing is an essential part of the app development process, protecting against the risk of losing users and revenue.

On the other side of the mobile spectrum comes mobile gaming, which is expected to generate more than $200 billion in revenue by 2025. Testing is essential for perfecting the game mechanics, plot, and engagement elements that can make or break a game's market performance since just 0.5% of mobile games attain breakthrough success. In this context, even the tiniest information discovered during testing can mean the difference between viral success and disappearance.

What is mobile app testing?

Mobile app testing is a precise verification procedure that confirms the mobile application fulfills the correct standards of quality before it is delivered to the end user.

Key aspects of mobile app testing

Before looking at key aspects for testing mobile  games, we will look at several key aspects specific to mobile applications that make them different from desktop applications:

  • Application state management
    Mobile apps often operate in varied states, like background, foreground, or suspended. Testing how the app manages state transitions is vital to prevent data loss or performance issues.
  • Network connectivity
    Mobile apps are subject to variations in network speeds and connection concerns. Testing should cover how the application handles data transmission across many network types (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and WiFi), as well as how it operates offline.
  • Battery usage
    Because mobile devices are battery-powered, it becomes really important to evaluate how the app affects battery life, particularly while operating in the background or using location services.
  • Memory management
    Mobile devices have limited memory; therefore, applications must be optimized for device hardware such as GPS, cameras, and sensors. These integrations should be thoroughly tested to make sure they function properly and do not interfere with the device's operation.
  • Push notifications
    A key aspect of mobile apps is the ability to receive and display push notifications. Testing should verify that notifications are received and displayed as expected, even when the app is not actively running.

Exploring mobile game testing

Mobile game testing is the process of evaluating a video game’s functionality, performance, and overall user experience to make the product ready for public release. The goal is to identify and resolve any issues that could prevent the game from running smoothly on various devices.

Key aspects of mobile game testing

When it comes to mobile game testing service, some aspects are similar to those of normal mobile apps, and several key aspects are crucial and specific for massive success in the mobile gaming market:

  • Gameplay mechanics
    Verifying that the core mechanics are fun, engaging, and work as intended. This includes character controls, game rules, and the reward system.
    • Purpose: Verify the game is enjoyable and the mechanics are intuitive.
    • Testing Focus: Test for expected character movement, consistent game rules, and a meaningful progress mechanism.
    • Challenges: Balancing difficulty levels and maintaining player interest over time.
  • Sound quality
    Testing the audio for clarity and impact, making sure sound effects and music contribute positively to the game environment.
    • Purpose: Create an immersive audio experience that complements the gameplay.
    • Testing Focus: Assess the clarity, timing, and emotional impact of sound effects and background music.
    • Challenges: Achieving high-quality audio without increasing the app size significantly.
  • Graphics and Animation
    Verifying that the visual elements are appealing and perform well across different devices, without causing slowdowns or glitches.
    • Purpose: Deliver visually stunning and smooth animations that enhance the gaming experience.
    • Testing Focus: Evaluate the detail, art style, and performance of graphics on various devices.
    • Challenges: Optimizing graphics for different screen sizes and hardware capabilities without loss of quality.
  • Multiplayer features
    If the game includes multiplayer elements, these need to be tested for connectivity, latency, and the ability to handle simultaneous players.
    • Purpose: Provide a seamless multiplayer experience that encourages social interaction.
    • Testing Focus: Test server stability, player matchmaking, and real-time interaction.
    • Challenges: Ensuring low latency and fair play in competitive environments.
  • Monetization strategies
    Testing in-app purchases and ads to ensure they are working correctly and do not disrupt the gaming experience.
    • Purpose: Monetize the game effectively while keeping the gameplay experience intact.
    • Testing Focus: Verify the functionality of in-app purchases, ad integration, and currency systems.
    • Challenges: Balancing profitability with user satisfaction and retention.

Distinguishing factors

The distinction between mobile app and mobile game testing often lies in the balance between technical precision and experiential elements. Mobile app testing tends to have a technical focus, making sure that the app meets functional requirements while also following industry standards.

  • Purpose
    • Application testing focuses on ensuring the functionality, usability, and performance of software applications across different platforms, such as web, desktop, and mobile.
    • Mobile game testing specifically targets the functionality, user experience, and performance of mobile games on various devices and operating systems.
  • Scope
    • Application testing encompasses a wide range of software types, including productivity apps, communication apps, e-commerce apps, etc.
    • Mobile game QA is dedicated to testing gaming applications, including different genres such as action, puzzle, strategy, and simulation games.
  • User Interaction
    • Applications focus on providing various functionalities and services to users, often involving interaction with databases, APIs, and external services.
    • Mobile games emphasize user engagement, immersive experiences, and entertainment value through gameplay mechanics, graphics, sound, and storyline.
  • Monetization Strategies
    • Applications may employ various monetization strategies, such as freemium models, in-app purchases, subscription services, or advertising revenue.
    • Mobile games commonly utilize monetization models like in-app purchases, in-game currency, ads, sponsorships, and downloadable content (DLC) to generate revenue.
  • User Expectations
    • Users expect applications to be intuitive, reliable, and efficient in performing their intended tasks, whether it's managing finances, communication, or productivity.
    • Users expect mobile games to be entertaining, visually appealing, and immersive, offering engaging gameplay experiences that keep them hooked and entertained.

Testing for ‘fun factor’ in games

Testing for the ‘fun factor’ is unique to game testing. It involves evaluating whether the game is enjoyable and compelling to play. This can be subjective, but certain metrics, like player progression curves and the balance between challenge and reward.

Here are some of the Fun Factors to consider for mobile games:

Fun factors to consider for mobile games

Engagement metrics

How long do players stay on a level or in the game? High engagement levels often indicate a game is fun to play.

Difficulty balancing

Is the game too easy or too hard? Games should offer a smooth difficulty curve that keeps players challenged but not frustrated.

Storytelling and Character development

Does the narrative engage players and make them care about the characters? A strong story can greatly enhance the fun factor.

Controls and Interface

Are the game's controls intuitive and responsive? Good controls are essential for an enjoyable game experience.

Art style

Do the visuals and art style contribute to an enjoyable gaming experience? Unique and appealing graphics can be a significant part of what makes your gamers go back to the game to enjoy the art style again.

Social interaction

For games with social components, how do players talk with each other? Talking with their gaming friends and making memories will make them remember the game for years to come.

Testing techniques for mobile apps

Mobile app Testing techniques are essential for mobile apps; without adequate testing techniques, there are chances of missing out on some critical bugs, and you might also have to increase the time it takes for testing.

  • Heuristic evaluation
    A technique where testers use a set of heuristics or rules of thumb to find usability problems in the interface of the mobile application.
  • Pair testing
    Two testers work together at one workstation to test the application, combining their skills and perspectives to decrease the time it takes to test and reduce the chances of missing out on bugs.
  • Monkey testing
    Randomly inputting data into the application to check how it handles unexpected user behavior.
  • Decision table
    Creating a table of rules as a reference to execute test cases based on combinations of inputs.
  • Pluralistic walkthrough
    Involves a group of stakeholders, including developers, users, and human factors experts, to step through a set of tasks and discuss issues together.
  • User environment design
    Focuses on how the app fits into the user’s environment, considering factors like context to use, distractions, and multitasking capabilities.

Testing techniques for mobile games

Just like testing normal mobile applications, mobile video games also require testers to follow adequate techniques. Testing is never satisfied in the video game industry, as the time is limited and the possibilities are limitless. In this case, a proficient tester will always follow a set of testing techniques for better testing outcomes. Here mentioned how to write test case for game testing

  • Heuristic Playtesting
    Using established usability principles to guide testers in identifying gameplay issues and areas for improvement.
  • Session recording
    Capturing player sessions to analyze user behavior, identify pain points, and understand user interactions with the mobile game.
  • Heatmaps
    Visual representations of where players touch the screen most often, helping to optimize UI layout and controls and also figure out from where users are exiting.
  • Crowdsource feedback
    Leveraging the enormous gaming community to obtain a wide range of input on game features and performance by including them in beta testing.
    Example: Activision hosts open and closed beta every year for their flagship game Call of Duty’s launch.
  • Biometric validation
    Measuring physiological responses such as heart rate and eye movement to gauge player engagement and emotional reactions.
  • Early update testing
    Always stay one step ahead of content updates, and ensure that gamers will receive flawless gameplay even after the addition of new content.

Mobile App vs Mobile Game Testing

Aspect Mobile App Testing Mobile Game Testing
Focus Technical functionality, performance, security, and compliance. Gameplay experience, graphics, sound, and the ‘fun factor’.
Testing Scope Often narrower, with a focus on specific functionalities and user tasks. Broader, considering the entire game environment and player interaction.
User Engagement Based on the utility and efficiency of task completion. Based on entertainment value and immersive experience.
Performance Metrics Load times, response times, and resource usage. Frame rates, game loading times, and memory usage during gameplay.
Intuitiveness Navigation, ease of completing tasks. Game controls and ease of learning game mechanics.
Tools Used Standard QA tools for functional and non-functional testing. QA tools plus game-specific tools for graphics, sound, and gameplay.

Conclusion

The distinction between an app and a game is not that big, but it's completely another story when it comes to testing both. A mobile application tester is driven by the need for expected functionality and usability across a wide array of devices, aiding the diverse needs of smartphone users worldwide.

On the other hand, mobile game testing is characterized by the pursuit of captivating gameplay experiences that a game tester resonates with in the ever-growing global gaming community and creates nostalgic experiences for years to come.

Despite their differences, both testing practices play indispensable roles in testing the quality and reliability of mobile software. Both their practices and strategies will have some degree of similarity, as the end goal for both products is to maintain their quality.

Any queries or concerns regarding what tools to use or how we approach app or game testing, without any hesitation, reach out to Alphabin and get complete answers to your questions. We hope you find this post useful and informative.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between app testing vs mobile game testing?
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The main difference lies in the focus areas. Mobile app testing is primarily concerned with functionality, performance, security, and compliance, while mobile game testing emphasizes the gameplay experience, graphics, sound, and the ‘fun factor’.

How does the testing process impact the final release of mobile apps and games?
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For Mobile Apps:

  • Enhanced stability: Testing identifies and resolves stability issues, leading to a more reliable app at launch.
  • User experience: It ensures that the app delivers the intended user experience, which is crucial for adoption and retention.
  • Market acceptance: A thoroughly tested app is more likely to be accepted by the market as it meets user expectations for quality and performance.

For Mobile Games:

  • Gameplay quality: Testing is critical to refining gameplay mechanics and ensuring that the game is enjoyable and free from bugs.
  • Great performance: It helps optimize the game’s performance across different devices, which is essential for player satisfaction.
  • Player retention: A well-tested game is more likely to retain players after release, as it provides a polished and engaging experience from the start.
What are some common challenges unique to mobile game testing?
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Mobile game testing often faces challenges such as ensuring consistent gameplay across a wide range of devices, dealing with more complex graphics and sound elements, and evaluating subjective aspects like player enjoyment and game balance.

How important is the role of a tester’s creativity in mobile testing?
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A tester’s creativity is crucial in mobile app or game testing, as it helps in imagining various user scenarios, understanding the player’s perspective, and providing feedback that can enhance the gaming experience.

About the author

Naman Upadhyay

Naman Upadhyay

Naman Upadhyay, a proficient QA Engineer at Alphabin, excels in Python and React, proficiently managing diverse projects.

Known for his precision-driven approach, he delivers high-quality software solutions.

More about the author

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