New gaming software must undergo a series of tests before its general release. The objective of these tests is to ensure that the simulation is appropriate for its intended audience, plays well, possesses the requisite level of fidelity to the system being modeled, and is free from programming errors. This article first catalogs the design parameters associated with a good beta test. It then compares this ideal against the beta test created for a first-generation online business game released by a major online game publisher. It then examines the actual behaviors and results produced by the study’s beta testers to determine the degree the publisher and authors could be confident that the game met the criteria of targeted audience propriety, playability, model fidelity, and algorithmic accuracy. In this instance, this well-designed beta test could not guarantee the release of error-free software, and the likely reasons for this outcome are identified.
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Gold, Steven and Joseph Wolfe. "The Validity and effectiveness of a business game beta test," Simulation and Gaming (2011). Web.
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