PlaytestCloud's Guide to Multiplayer Playtesting

Out of the thousands and thousands of games released for mobile, multiplayer games dominate the top of the charts. A great example of this is Supercell’s newest game Clash Royale; released only a few months ago, it immediately became one of the most downloaded and highest-grossing apps on the U.S. iOS App Store.

Playtesting your game as early as possible can help ensure your game has a great launch like Clash Royale. Many game studios working on a multiplayer game, however, put off playtesting because they think it’s expensive and difficult. PlaytestCloud’s multiplayer playtesting mode fixes that!

We’ll show you how we take all the stress and costs out of your hands to help you have a great launch.

Asynchronous and Synchronous

Multiplayer games can be divided into two categories: asynchronous multiplayer and synchronous multiplayer.

Asynchronous multiplayer

Players don’t necessarily have to play in real time. The best example of asynchronous multiplayer is Words With Friends. Although you are playing against someone else, you can literally go hours without playing.

How we test

Our approach at PlaytestCloud is to test the game in a natural setting. Typically, this involves having shorter sessions with longer breaks in between—this is modeled off of how people tend to interact with asynchronous multiplayer games.

We give players specific goals that they need to achieve. For example, one of the goals might be to play two ranked games. Based on the goal, we then decide the total duration of the test (e.g. 2 days), rather than set a minimum time limit of playtime like in our usual playtests.

We also make sure that enough videos of players reaching the goal in the time frame will be recorded. In these videos, you will be able to see how often, and at what times, people popped into the game to make their move, as well as how much time passed in-between. And, as in all of our tests, the players’ thoughts and opinions are recorded, so that you can analyze every aspect of their playing experience.

Playtesting for asynchronous multiplayer games is a great way to test how addicting your game is. In one of our tests, for example, we noticed that players would make a conscious decision to keep playing the game even though they already finished the goal because they were already hooked! And if you can detect this during the playtesting phase, your game is in great shape.

Synchronous multiplayer

A fancy way of saying that players interact with each other in real time.

How we test

Just like with our asynchronous testing, we have streamlined synchronous playtesting to make sure you get great data that can be immediately implemented in your game.

Synchronous playtesting can have any time frame, but 15-30 minutes is generally a good choice for a short test. After you tell us how long you want the test to last, we do the rest.

We then send the players alerts to remind them about the upcoming game. This helps to guarantee that they will play the game when you want them to play the game.

Multiplayer playtesting gives you insight into how your players interact with your game. PlaytestCloud’s playtests help to:

  • Measure the fun and stickiness of your PVP/multiplayer mechanics
  • Balance team battles
  • Identify players’ interactions with one another

As a game designer, you can then use this information to create a more addicting and immersive synchronous multiplayer game. Moreover, these insights gained during the playtesting phase make your game more likely to succeed on the competitive mobile market space.

Conclusion

By far and away, multiplayer games are the most popular and downloaded apps in the mobile marketplace. Playtesting your game early is pivotal and brings your game one step closer to a great release.

PlaytestCloud helps you accomplish this with our multiplayer playtesting mode by automating the process for you. Email us at team@playtestcloud.com and start your multiplayer playtest today!

Christian Ress

Co-Founder of PlaytestCloud. Currently playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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