Setting up your first playtest

How to set up your first playtest – from start to finish

Christian Ress avatar
Written by Christian Ress
Updated this week

PlaytestCloud makes it easy to get videos of people playing your game, thinking out loud while they do – and getting started with your first playtest is easier than you might think.

This article is the complete guide to getting your first playtest up and running, no prior experience necessary.

Note: You must create an account to access Playtestcloud.


Once you’re logged into PlaytestCloud, simply click on New Playtest on the top menu bar and you’ll be presented with the below options.

Click on the Playtest option to begin.

Which game are you testing?

Enter the name of the game you will be testing. If you have tested the game before, you can select it from the dropdown. If it is your first time testing this game, you can click on Add new. You also have the option here to give your playtest a name, which is handy if you plan on playtesting the same game more than once.

If this is your very first playtest, you’ll only have the possibility to test a New Game.

Note: No modifications to the game are necessary. Screen recording and security features are added to the game automatically by PlaytestCloud.

If you are testing a newer version, select the name of the game you’d like to test and give your updated game a unique playtest name that will help you to recognize the test quickly.

Sharing your game with PlaytestCloud

Here is where you upload your game to PlaytestCloud. You can test all mobile games, including native iOS and Android games but also games that run in a mobile web browser.

For Android, we can process both APK and AAB files. Have your files stored locally on your computer, then click on the text Select file from computer and choose your game's APK/AAB file. You can also share a link to the game on Google Play.

If you're playtesting a native iOS game, you'll need to provide the build through Apple TestFlight or via the App Store.

In case you’re testing a game that runs in a mobile web browser, all you need to do is paste a link in the open field.

Once your build is shared or uploaded, click on Submit.

Configure your playtest

In this next section, you can configure how many players should participate in your playtest and how long they should play for.

You can choose how many players you would like to run the test with by adjusting the slider – the default minimum is one player, with a maximum of thirty players. 

For playtime, there are three options to choose from, beginning with the minimum guaranteed playtime of at least 5+ minutes.

PlaytestCloud doesn't place an upper limit on how long a player can play your game. You may end up with videos of 30 minutes or more – even if you only opt 5+ minutes of guaranteed playtime.

Picking your specific target audience

With PlaytestCloud you can select the demographic you are most interested in testing.

In this section, you can choose your specific target audience. If you want to run a test with only women, you can do that. If you want to run a test with only people in a certain age range – such as 20-35 – you can do that too. You also have the option to pick all players if you prefer, though it is more common to specify a target group.

Our playtesters come mainly from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. You can specify if you would like players from only the US or Canada or only the US. On our higher plans you also get the option to playtest in other countries outside the US, UK and Canada.

Note: When selecting a specific gender it's important to pay careful attention to which way you move the slider. The small graphic beneath the slider indicates in real-time how many of each gender you have selected: Left to increase the number of women, right to increase the number of men.

The second half of this section is about identifying the type of player who will test your game. You can select from three player categorizations: Casual players, Midcore players, and Hardcore players.

  • Casual players typically prefer games that are quick to access, both due to the type of device they prefer to play on and the type of games they like to play; for example – Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Temple Run.

  • Midcore players are harder to categorize. The players who fall into this category usually have prior gaming experience, with both casual and more complex games; for example – Hearthstone, MARVEL Future Fight, Clash of Clans.

  • Hardcore players are the players who prefer more complex games. These players mostly play on dedicated game consoles (PS4, Xbox One) or PCs and play games such as FIFA, Vainglory, Overwatch, and The Elder Scrolls series.

You may also choose to narrow down further by selecting examples of genres and games that players are already familiar with. The example in the above screenshot shows that players who enjoy games OR Hearthstone: Heros of Warcraft are preferred.

If your game is an iOS game, you can select whether it should be tested on iPad or iPhone.

Survey and custom briefing (optional)

PlaytestCloud allows you to survey your customers directly within the game. You can also prompt players with custom briefings and notes. Keep reading for more information these options.

Surveys in PlaytestCloud

A survey is a good way to learn that little extra about the player's experience with your game. 

You'll learn the most about the usability and the playability of your game from watching the player's direct interaction with your game – but a survey is a good method for catching those experiences or afterthoughts that cannot be expressed during the playtest.

Surveys only appear after the playtest. You can add up to ten questions of the following type:

  • Free text allows the player to write whatever they want in a dialogue box.

  • Multiple choice allows you to offer various answers for the player to select from. You can add as many different possible answers as you would like and can even add images instead of text-based answers if you're curious about a particular graphical element of your game.

  • Checkboxes are identical in setup to "multiple choice" but allow the player to select more than one answer.

  • Rating 1-10 allows you to ask a question on a scale of 1 to 10. For example: How likely are you to recommend GAME NAME to your friends? (1-10, 10 being the most likely).

Custom briefing

You can add a custom briefing for the player to read before they begin the playtest or use the default briefing provided by PlaytestCloud.

You may add your custom briefing to instruct or inform players, but note that it might be ignored, so it's not recommended to rely on this feature to communicate play critical or "game-breaking" information.

In-game tasks & custom playtest requirements (optional)

The best choice for almost all playtests is to let players explore your game naturally. The reason is straightforward: You will see the most unedited and unbiased player experience, which will more accurately mirror the real world experience your potential players will have once it's out in the wild.

If you have no special requests that require our attention, then leave these two fields with their defaults of Natural gameplay and Yes, start the test right away selected.

If you want to request a step-by-step playtest or a playtest with other special requests, then select "Step-by-step request" or "No, I have a special request" and fill in the corresponding dialogue box with a note. 

We will respond to your request as soon as possible, during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9 am – 7 pm Central European Time).

Note: Your test will not begin immediately when using either of these two options.

The playtest set-up is now complete. Now all that's left before you can place your order is to enter your payment information.

Note: Special requests are handled as soon as possible. We will respond to your request during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9 am – 7 pm Central European Time). Please reach out to us at any time if you have questions.

Payment and order confirmation

Check the order summary – which includes the costs, the number of players, and how long they should play for – and click on order now to proceed to the payment information screen. Enter your payment details and click Order Playtest.

Now all that's left for you to do is to wait for the results to come in.

Next steps

Questions? Reach out to us by opening the chat bubble in the lower right corner of your screen.

Happy playtesting!

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