How Game Testing Increases User Engagement: Secrets from QA Program Manager

How Game Testing Increases User Engagement: Secrets from QA Program Manager
June 16 10:02 2020  

User engagement defines a successful game. To explain how to increase this issue, we held a webinar on June 11 hosted by Ivan Kovalchuk, Program Manager, and QA engineer with more than 5 years of experience in game testing in QATestLab. While you can watch the full record of the webinar on our YouTube channel, here are extracted tips and tricks of it. This information will be especially useful for product owners, QA engineers, and just curious minds that want to know all the secrets behind successful game testing. 

Tips to Boost Game testing from QA Program Manager

The solid foundation of your game success is security testing

“Living in today’s data-driven world, security issues like data privacy are paramount things absolutely for all products, not only for games. If you are offering totally secure products with high data protection features, the number of your users will be huge, without mentioning the fact how much money you can save having security on a high level.” – highlighted Ivan.

How to ensure the highest security during testing game products? Ivan shared several points for achieving that:

1. All critical system local directories and files should be encrypted. Moreover, they need to be hidden or unavailable at all. 

Ivan: “In this case, we’re checking local directories on the physical device by file explorer. The easiest way for Android devices – opening way /android/data/%android_application_id%/cache/… and find the required files/folders. In edge cases, we need to use root access and special software/hardware tools for receiving extra access to some hidden folders.” 

2. Checking abusing coins/gems by simply changing specific files in local game saves.

To escape the possibilities of abusing coins/gems, and other hackers-like manipulations, the QA team should analyze the perfectly savings model and local storage options by Android SDK, iFunbox, iTools, and other tools. Scanning and thoroughly checking all available local folders/files by external tools would be also useful. Another issue to check is the sharing savings of high-level accounts (Coins, XP, resources, rank) into other devices with beginner accounts.

“…knowing that the game is operating with the same rules to absolutely everyone, that every player is equal, is a great motivation to play such a game” – added host of the webinar Olga.

3. Testing the possibility of changing options for the time/date setting for receiving rewards and special offers/events.

Such issues can be detected by testing games on different platforms for all time zones with custom and automatic time settings. Another approach is to change server time by using special hardware/software tools. Finally, we need to ensure that changing the time/date setting for receiving rewards and special offers/events will not work. And gaming experience will be clear and fair to any user.

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4. Checking the external access to the user’s personal data.

There’s no need to explain, but the issue is not just about the direct defend, it’s rather about using social network accounts in game and getting access to them by Game’s API. Such kind of vulnerability is not so popular by hackers but sometimes it occurs.

For detecting such holes would be good to create a pool of different social network test accounts from different countries (by VPN) and use a multi attempt approach for users’ critical data access. For more detailed API checking I’d recommend using tools with get/post access features (for example, Swagger, Postman, etc.). They might help to check the most popular vulnerabilities in a very short period of time.

5. Check whether client-server transactions/requests are editable by the user.

Abusing of InGame currency, cheating levels, receiving new skins, changing purchased items quantity, and much more critical things occur on plenty of games. Some of such issues are deeply hidden, but the great majority could be fully detected and analyzed. Ignoring such kinds of vulnerabilities might cause extremely low ARPU levels and real users outflow.

“We can use such popular traffic logging tools as Fiddler or Charles for catching/monitoring between devices and the server/Internet. This includes requests, responses, etc. (can contain the cookies and cache info). Moreover, we need to test behavior after editing such requests for abusing resources or reaching/cheating levels.” – said Ivan.

In-App Purchases Testing: Critical Checks for Game Testing

game

In-app purchases testing is the second paramount thing in game testing that affects user engagement and success of the game to the greatest extent. Here are the secrets shared by Ivan Kovalchuk on the recent webinar on game testing: 

1. All the items in the Game Store should be available.

To properly solve this issue, for the QA team, it is mandatory to conduct manual tapping/clicking all available items in-store and checking redirections into the game store from all required places in game. 

“We prefer not just test purchases by sandbox features, we’d rather do such checkings for the real money for priority countries according to customer needs.” – emphasized Ivan.

2. Every item in the Game Store should appear with proper currency according to the user’s country of origin.

To ensure this, it is mandatory to conduct thoroughly checking all items in game store by using accounts of required countries according to developers’ needs. By the way, most accounts need to be created via VPN services for covering all needed territories. The number of purchased items in inventory must be the same as they were described in the Game Store.

3. Spent costs for purchased items should match the price in the Game Store.

“In this case, we use different combinations of store items vs quantities and make purchases with sandbox features, gift cards, as well as purchases for the real money. As usual, we check all popular combinations or required items/offers according to the needs of the developer.” – commented Ivan.

4. Funds can not be withdrawn from the account when the purchasing process wasn’t finished or finished unsuccessfully (without gaining any item from in Game Store).

“…we can use a detailed interruptions checklist in this case as well as VPN-checkings or even mix them for more stressful testing. Also, it would be good to check different types of credit/debit cards with edge payment restrictions and different balances on the cards. Everything depends on the requirements and priorities of developers.” – that’s what Ivan recommended for solving this in-app purchase issue.

More information on these issues as well as other questions on game testing can be found on the full record of our webinar. 

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If your products are requiring testing, we are ready to hedge your team and ensure high quality. We are participating in the life of the product, and do our work with a passion for your success. Let’s make great products together.

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Kate Libbie
Kate Libbie

has more than 2-year experience in blogging and copywriting, copyediting and proofreading of web content.

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