Examining a Beta Test


  • Joseph Wolfe
  • Steven C. Gold
  • Cordelia Norris


It has been strongly recommended that new gaming software undergo a series of tests before its general release. The objective of these tests is to ensure the simulation is appropriate for its intended audience, plays well, possesses the requisite level of fidelity to the system being modeled, and is free from programming errors. This paper first catalogued the design parameters associated with a good beta test. It then compared this ideal against the beta test created for a first-generation online business game released by a major online game publisher. It then examined the actual behaviors and results produced by the study’s beta testers to determine the degree the publisher could be confident the game met the criteria of targeted audience propriety, playability, model fidelity and algorithmic accuracy. In this instance, this well-designed beta test could not guarantee the release of error free software.