Concept

Playtest

Summary
A playtest is the process by which a game designer tests a new game for bugs and design flaws before releasing it to market. Playtests can be run "open", "closed", "beta", or otherwise, and are very common with board games, collectible card games, puzzle hunts, role-playing games, and video games, for which they have become an established part of the quality control process. An individual involved in testing a game is referred to as a playtester. An open playtest could be considered open to anyone who wishes to join, or it may refer to game designers recruiting testers from outside the design group. Prospective testers usually must complete a survey or provide their contact information in order to be considered for participation. A closed playtest is an internal testing process not available to the public. Beta testing normally refers to the final stages of testing just before going to market with a product, and is often run semi-open with a limited form of the game in order to find any last-minute problems. With all forms of playtesting it is not unusual for participants to be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, in order to protect the game designer's copyrights. The word 'playtest' is also commonly used in unofficial situations where a game is being tested by a group of players for their own private use, or to denote a situation where a new strategy or game mechanic is being tested. Playtesting is a part of usability test in the process of game development. In the video game industry, playtesting refers specifically to the process of exposing a game in development (or some specific parts of it) to its intended audience, to identify potential design flaws and gather feedback. Playtests are also used to help ensure that a product will be commercially viable upon release, by providing a way for consumers to play the game and provide their opinions. Playtesting should not be confused with quality assurance (QA) testing, in which professional testers look for and report specific software bugs to be fixed by the development team.
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