In September 2019, a new division appeared at G-Core Labs—the QA Center. This was the first game testing center in the Ural region. Its opening gave rise to a new direction of the company’s business—Quality Assurance. Within the last year, the division has become an independent department with unique market competencies.
Today, we’re talking with the QA Center Head, Roman Zhikharev, about the specifics of their work, their first achievements, and professional goals.
— What is the purpose of the G-Core Labs QA Center?
— We perform manual testing of World of Tanks builds (a build is a versioned assembly of software). The bigger part of the team is engaged in regression testing of the build and development tools. Part of the team tests new features. We also have a dedicated department with a unique competence that reviews 3D models, maps, and editors. Few companies on the market offer such services.
— Who needs the services of the QA Center the most, and when do game publishers need the help of external contractors?
— Each game studio has a need to conduct general testing of game builds before releases. There are two major types of cases when it’s very difficult to do without a professional team of external testers. For example, a month before release, you need to check everything—from authorization and new game scenarios to the correct operation of the store. Such checks can take up to 1,000–2,000 staff-hours. If this happens once in a few months, it makes no sense to hire staff for such tasks specifically, because new people will sit out of work most of the time. At the same time, the verification stage is always very limited in time, so you cannot hire just ten people to test for two months. And secondly, the in-house developers don’t always have the necessary competencies for a quality check. In such cases, the G-Core Labs QA Center comes to the rescue. Our team of professionals can do a lot of complex work in a short time.
— Do large world-renowned game studios also need external testing?
— Of course. In large gaming companies, the overhead per employee can be twice as much as the salary itself due to workplace equipment in a prestigious office space and other various bonuses that go towards maintaining the company’s public image. It’s not cost-efficient for such studios to hire people en masse. To ensure the high quality of the game, they choose trusted testing centers with teams of professionals that already know their product. For instance, our World of Tanks testers had played the game for many years before starting to work for us as employees.
— What are the advantages of the G-Core Labs QA Center over your competitors?
— First of all, it’s the high professional level of the team. I believe that we’ve built an effective system for recruiting, encouraging, and developing personnel. Each employee knows what they need to learn to get promoted, and how they can learn it. Secondly, we have unique competencies—for example, testing 3D models of objects and terrain maps. Also, by the end of this year, we plan to open our own game testing lab, where there will be 560 unique components (280 unique video cards and 280 unique CPUs). Such a lab will be unmatched in the CIS countries.
— What new opportunities will your own lab give you?
— Game developers with a multi-million audience need to be sure that they won’t lose 5–10 thousand active players with the release of the next patch just because the game has stopped running for them. The lab will allow us to detect such defects for the vast majority of hardware that users have. I think that such a service will be in demand not only in the CIS, but in other countries as well.