Where to find good playtesters

You want people to playtest your game. But where do you find the right testers?

1. Friends and Family

The most obvious choice is to show your game to friends or family members. This is great to get a first impression of how your game resonates with people outside of your development team. Friends and family are easy to get in touch with and are very likely to say yes to sacrificing a few minutes to give you their feedback.

Be careful however not to value too highly what they say about your game: their personal relationship to you will cause most of them to sugarcoat their feedback. Instead pay close attention to how they’re playing your game. At which points do they seem confused? What part seems boring to them? This is the most honest feedback you can get.

2. Local Meetups

If you visit local game development meetups, just bring a build of your game with you - either on your laptop or whatever mobile device it is on. Show it around and watch people as they play. Don’t take anything that is said about your game (especially positive feedback) too seriously.

Take into account that people who visit game development meetups might have a very different taste in games than the general public. For instance you will usually have a hard time finding the kind of people who would play a casual game at indie game developer meetups. One benefit of getting the opinion of game designers is that they can give you constructive feedback and might have suggestions about how to fix problems of your game.

You can find local game developer meetups at Meetup.com.

3. Online Forums and Communities

Online gaming forums offer you a chance to get feedback from players as well as developers. Just open a thread in the forums and ask people if they want to test your game. There are a few challenges that you don’t have if you ask people in person:

You need to generate interest: By default, most people won’t be interested in trying out your game. Be sure to add a few screenshots to your submission and invest some time in writing an intriguing description of your game. Too see what works, check out the highest rated submissions in old reddit feedback friday threads.

How can players run your game? When testing your game online you have to think about how players can run your game on their devices. Build a standalone .exe file for Windows games, just hand out a link for HTML5 and Unity Web Player games. On Android you can just upload your APK to your Dropbox and share the public link. For iOS games distribution, HockeyApp and TestFlight are good solutions.

Marvin Killing

Co-Founder of PlaytestCloud. Currently playing MGS V.

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