Electronic Arts Patent Focuses on Refining Quality Assurance

By HUNTER MASS

Gamers are no strangers to bugs and glitches in games, which can often be funny or incredibly frustrating. Game developers and publishers, like Electronic Arts, employ quality assurance teams to help make sure games play smoothly before launch. Based on a recently approved US patent, it seems that EA is looking to improve the process for quality assurance testing.

Quality assurance has become an integral part of the game development process. QA testers need to have attention to detail and the ability to record and notate problems in a fast-paced environment. Quality assurance teams are expected to find bugs that can range from the game-crashing kind, like a recent game-crashing bug in Apex Legends, to ones that are very small and don’t impact the overall experience.

EA's new test case selection model is machine learning-based, and it will constantly improve its efficiency based on the outcome of previous cases it has pulled. Since games have become more complex, there can be enormous amounts of test cases that QA teams are required to test. These teams are often led by QA managers who end up focusing on certain test cases over others for various reasons. Another aspect of this patented selection system is that it will end up comparing test cases presented by a QA manager and ones presented by the selection system to see if there is a noticeable difference in the amount of bugs either reports.

Since many developers and publishers have different methodologies for the quality assurance process, some might be more effective at catching issues than others. Thankfully for the QA teams at EA, this patent should help streamline the process. Not all bugs are as hilarious as t-posing while driving in Cyberpunk 2077, as some can cause serious issues for players. If this model proves to be more effective at catching software defects before a game launches, EA gaming fans will certainly see the results.

QA testing is often seen as a great way to get into the video game industry, but many have stated that the career isn’t as rewarding as it could be. Since it looks like EA wants to create a better workplace, finding ways to make the QA testing process more efficient will further that mission and help the workload on those already overworked teams.

Quality assurance has become even more necessary as games get more complex, and the teams rarely get the recognition they deserve. Not everyone gets an in-game nod like the QA team for Doom Eternal. At the very least, EA is looking to move toward a more efficient process for its QA teams, which in turn will help produce better games for fans to enjoy.