What is PlaytestCloud, and what does it do?

The instinct here is to say a lot. But rather than leaving you with that, we've put together this detailed article as an overview of everything PlaytestCloud does at a glance.

We put this article together because there's a lot to take in – there's a lot you can do with PlaytestCloud! So take a few minutes to read through (or skim through, command/control + F is your best friend) this complete list of everything you can do with PlaytestCloud – or at least, everything that's been dreamed up so far.

What PlaytestCloud does

PlaytestCloud is a platform for playtesting mobile and browser games during the concept phase, through prototyping, development, soft launch, and after release. Our service provides gameplay videos with a think-aloud audio commentary track and screen finger touches (or clicks) of real players playing your game.

What is playtesting? Playtesting is an important part of games user research, which itself is a subset of software user research. The benefits of playtesting are wide-ranging and vary from game-to-game. Typical benefits of utilizing playtesting in your game design process include improved first-time player experience, better player retention, and polished and enhanced game mechanics.

Don't take our word for it though: Check out the view from an esteemed software user researcher, and read about the experiences of a handful of game studios and game designers – all who have used PlaytestCloud.

Visit us on our blog or help center for even more about PlaytestCloud.

Questions right away? Please reach out to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse.

PlaytestCloud's playtest product list

Below are our core products along with a few quick summaries of what they do and how they work.

Single-Session Playtests

  • Single-session playtests show you at least 5+, 10+, 15+, 30+, or 60+ minutes of your game being playtested. This lets you see and hear how players interact with your game or prototype as they experience it for the first time. (We support prototyping with proto.io, Marvel, and InVision.)
  • Playtests are mostly used to improve the first time user experience and to allow game design decisions based on actual player behavior.
  • These playtests are also perfect if you only have a small amount of content you want to test because the game is still in development.
  • Customized playtest times are available: 20+ minutes, 35+ minutes or even longer than 60+ minutes.
  • Example: Standard (15+ mins) single session playtest.

Multi-Session Playtests

  • Multi-session playtests let you dive into the player experience of the first two to five gameplay sessions.
  • Multi-session playtests let you assess players' exposure to complex mechanics and game loops that might require more time to grasp.
  • Default playtest sessions are 15+ minutes. You can request different playtest lengths by reaching out to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse.

Longitudinal Studies

  • Longitudinal studies are a series of playtests that run for multiple days, simulating the experience new players have after downloading your game from the App Store or Google Play Store.
  • These studies are useful if your soft-launch or post-launch metrics raise some questions and you'd like more insight into why players behave the way they do.
  • Longitudinal studies help you to test and optimize your retention strategy, and their flexible setups can accommodate any game and test structure.
  • Default playtest sessions are 15+ minutes. You can request different playtest lengths by reaching out to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse.

Surveys (standalone)

  • Surveys can be run completely separate from a playtest and include up to twenty questions, allowing you to get insights on everything from icon choices to exploring new game concepts. (Note: You can ask more than twenty questions for a small additional fee).

Concept tests (beta)

  • Concept tests allow you to upload slides, photos, descriptions – and get real players opinions on them.
  • Example: Sci-fi-themed concept test.
  • A survey of up to five questions is included with each concept test.

Note: Single-session, multi-session, and longitudinal playtests all include the following options:

  • In-game tasks. It's possible to add instructions for players to follow during their playtest with the in-game tasks feature.
  • A survey is included with all playtests: up to five questions for 5+, 10+, 15+, and 30+ minute playtests, and up to ten questions for 60+ minute playtests. Multi-session and longitudinal playtests always include up to ten questions.
  • You can even ask players follow-up questions if you would like further clarification on comments they make during the playtest or in the survey.

Customize your playtest

Below is a long list of things you can do or try with the help of PlaytestCloud. Some of the items below require you to reach out directly to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse, and some are possible without any additional customization – we've included them just to help get the creative juices flowing.

  • Playtesting with children. Want to see how kids play your games? It's simple to set this up, as we have players with kids who also play games and are always eager to try out new games – with the consent of a parent, of course. Suggestion: Reach out to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse, to begin the process.
  • Synchronous multiplayer testing. Synchronous multiplayer testing is a fancy way of saying that players interact with each other in real-time. It's possible to test games with synchronous multiplayer through PlaytestCloud.
  • Asynchronous multiplayer testing. Asynchronous multiplayer is a fancy way of saying that players don’t have to play against each other in real-time. The most notable example of an asynchronous multiplayer game is Words With Friends. It's possible to test games with asynchronous multiplayer through PlaytestCloud.
  • A/B tests. Iterate with real player feedback. You can test two different builds, a tweaked game mechanic or a different art style, and get actionable results to help you optimize player experience.
  • Professional analysis. We work with well-known games user researchers who can help you set up and run your projects. Our experts can take your user research to the next level. Suggestion: Reach out to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse, to get started.
  • Platform agnostic playtesting. Want to test that early Unity/Unreal Engine/Defold or Flash build of your game? You can test an early version of your game or prototype, getting that critical early player feedback, no matter what game engine you plan to use later on. PlaytestCloud is game engine agnostic.
  • Art test. If you have artwork you want to test with a real audience, it's possible to get honest feedback from real players. Suggestion: Run a concept test with the artwork and ask players some open-ended questions. You'll need to contact our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse, while our concept testing product is still in beta.
  • Music test. Music is a crucial component of a game's experience. Compare two different soundtracks in the same game, or run quantitative music tests – whatever you need. Suggestion: Run a concept test with the music and ask players some open-ended questions. You'll need to contact our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse, while our concept testing product is still in beta.
  • Turn off audio recording. If you want to test a completely natural environment – while players are watching tv, on the subway, on the toilet – you can request to disable audio recording completely by reaching out to our Senior Account Manager, Dillon Whitehouse.
  • Augmented reality (AR). There's nothing special required to test an augmented reality game. Order your playtest just like you would any other.

Who are the players?

PlaytestCloud testers are typical mobile gamers. You can pick the kind of players you want to target and we'll show you how they play your game.

Get the whole story from our Who are the players? article.

Quick facts about PlaytestCloud players:

  • PlaytestCloud has its own player panel and doesn't use any external QA, “Survey,” or “Earn money online” panels.
  • Participants for playtests are selected randomly from the pool of players matching the target audience.
  • Players are from the US, UK, and Canada.
  • Players play at home on their own devices.
  • Every type of gamer, from casual to hardcore.

Technical details

  • Video recording. We developed a special software that wraps around your mobile game to equip it with screen and touch recording features. You don't need to modify your game for this to work.
  • Build distribution. Unsure about the types of games that can be tested with PlaytestCloud? Most browser and mobile games that aren't yet published to an app store can be tested – published apps can also be tested, though the process is slightly different.
  • Confidentiality & Security. Keeping your game safe, secure and a secret is essential for us to offer the service that we do. It's our top priority.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. It's important to us that you are 100% satisfied with the results you get. We manually review every player recording to make sure that you only get videos that are free of technical problems and have great audio quality.

Event-tracking for iOS, Android, and Unity

  • Event tracking allows you to mark interesting points in your PlaytestCloud videos to find them quicker during video playback.
  • Guide: How to implement event tracking

Teamwork and collaboration

PlaytestCloud is designed with team collaboration in mind. Read below about PlaytestCloud's core team collaboration features:

  • Share playtest videos with your team. You can share videos with your colleagues or team members by adding them to your account or by sending private links that restrict their access to viewing and annotating.
  • Manage colleague access to your account. It's possible to add or remove colleagues or team members as you require.
  • Annotations. Collaborate fully on your playtest with the annotations feature. Anyone with access to your video, either through a private link or as a member of your team, can add notes to specific points within a video. Share videos at specific moments to save time, and even send individual annotations as emails.
  • Summaries. Collaborate even better by using the summary text box on each playtest video to let your teammates know the most important takeaways.
  • Download videos. You can download videos and use them however you would like. One popular use case is to take the most interesting parts from multiple playtests and edit them together for a presentation.
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