A Postmortem on Playtesting: Exploring the Impact of Playtesting on the Critical Reception of Video Games

Pejman Mirza-Babaei, Samantha Stahlke, Günter Wallner, Atiya Nova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Game studios aim to develop titles that deliver a fun and engaging experience for players. Playtesting promises to help identify opportunities to improve player experience and assist developers in achieving their design intent. However, a lack of research on the added value of playtesting means that many studios are still uncertain about its commercial viability and impact on product success. This gap in understanding is further complicated by the vague definition of "success" afforded by sales figures and review scores. In this paper, we assess reported feature quality of three commercial titles by analyzing playtesting reports and game reviews. By comparing themes and design issues expressed in game reviews to the results of pre-release playtesting for each game, we aim to highlight the value of playtesting and propose a set of guidelines for selecting playtest methods based on the needs of a given game evaluation. Through the real-world case studies presented, this paper contributes to the growing domain of games user research and highlights the value of playtesting in game development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020
Event2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020 - Honolulu, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020

Conference

Conference2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020
CountryUnited States
CityHonolulu
Period25/04/2030/04/20

Keywords

  • game reviews
  • games user research
  • playtesting

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