For years we developers had it drummed into our heads to never allow public scrutiny of a game until it was ready for prime time. The (warranted) fear is that negative previews can haunt a game long after it launches, no matter how good it becomes.
Livestreaming has a similar dictum – if you want to build an audience, play the best games, not buggy piles of cow flop. Most game livestreamers are fans of the products we develop. They want to livestream because they enjoy playing these games and want to share the fun with their friends. Why would anyone want to livestream an unfinished game, much less one that might be horribly broken?
We should want this thankless role. By we, I mean the ones making the game – the developers and testers who have to hunt down all those wonderful bugs about which people like to make snarky YouTube videos. After fans began livestreaming their games, developers followed suit, finding this an excellent way to build a community and spread the word. We also began finding other advantages to livestreaming.
One of the newest, and still least recognized, plusses to livestreaming is the role it can have in quality assurance. For those of you who don’t know, quality assurance is the fancy term for hunting down and squashing software bugs. Most developers and playtesters work in quiet environments, focusing on gameplay, creating hypotheses of what should and shouldn’t work, testing these hypotheses, and screaming in frustration when the game refuses to cooperate. Okay, we only rarely scream then. More often, we scramble to pick up pad and pen, jot down some notes, and begin detailing the bugs in our spiffy bug database.
- Ease in Recreating and Communicating Bugs