Destiny had multiple Alpha and Beta tests. World of Warcraft‘s expansions always have lengthy testing cycles. Even SimCity had a stress test, though it didn’t do EA’s servers much good. Do you know what game didn’t have any kind of test to simulate post-launch stress? Driveclub.
Talking with IGN, Shawn Layden, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, had the following to say regarding Driveclub‘s development:
In the development cycle, we try to do all things. In the development cycle, we try to test against every possibility. We have a [Quality Assurance] team, we have a QA plan. You do a beta test, you scope against that. But now, in a connected world, you can’t effectively test in your house or in your beta group what it means to have 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 users hit your service. And the guys [at the studio] are struggling with that. It’s throwing up things they had not anticipated.
If its impossible to “effectively test” a game with 200,000 users, why are so many other developers doing it? It’s called a stress test. You invite a huge number of people into the beta, say “hey we’d really like if you all hit the service at the same time,” and watch the game break.
Recently Evolve had an alpha test. It went, well, pretty poorly. But that’s perfectly okay because it’s an alpha test. Developer Turtle Rock now knows what to needs to be fixed before next year’s release. If only they did the same with Driveclub, they could go back and fix the game’s connectivity issues.
Maybe they could also fix the gameplay.