Testing, testing. 1,2,3!

No matter what IT project you might be working on, if you don’t get everything sorted out in the testing phase things will come up and bite you.

Video games are now a big part of the world and the UK’s IT industries, they generate billions of dollars of revenue every year and the biggest titles easily outstrip the top films in terms of sales. However, with these sort of numbers comes a large demand from an audience that knows what it wants.

This is something that Electronic Arts (EA) one of the biggest game developers and publisher has recently found out to its cost. It recently launched a new version of the popular city building game SimCity.

Unlike many games, even now in our always online times, SimCity requires that you always have a permanent internet connection. This is because it was designed to always be a multiplayer game, not something that people play on their own. Although this may appeal to many, what gamers and ultimately EA found out was that the game’s designers hadn’t factored in what would happen when so many people wanted to play the game at the same time. Simply, the servers couldn’t cope. Players were left waiting up to half an hour to even start a game and when they did get online they were subjected to all manner of glitches and problems.

EA’s excuse was that they hadn’t set up the servers properly and also, and most perplexing of all, was that players of the finished game didn’t play it in the same way that the beta testers did.

This has to be one of the lamest excuses in a long time and just goes to show that when it comes to any software, whether it be for banking or gaming, you need to do thorough audience testing and market research or you will be left rueing the consequences and people will vote with their feet and they will be hard to get back.