E3 2012 – Trends of the Video Game Trade

While many call the San Diego Comic-Con the industry’s “Nerd Prom”, E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) in LA is also known as the video game industry’s “Gaming Christmas”. Each year E3 not only begins with a series of announcements from all the major game companies, but also with a ton of high expectations from gamers themselves. E3 has always been mainly about consoles, and ten years ago, consoles were only about gaming. Hardcore gamers or “core gamers” as they are frequently called, were the most desired audience and everything catered to them.

Then the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles ventured online, set up online networks and everything changed. Some things for the better, some for the worse. Nintendo went out and dragged an all new audience of “casual” console gamers into the spotlight, and the video game  industry was altered forever.

The “core games” segment of the market, while still huge, has become somewhat of a niche market when it comes to “news-making announcements” and PR.  If you are loading up an E3 presentation this week in your browser and expecting a feast of core-gaming news, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. While serious gaming veterans may turn their nose at the mention of streaming video services, premium content, mainstream franchises, and celebrity endorsed games all they like – these are all elements of the modern video gaming business now. Love it or hate it, that is the current state of the industry.

Fortunately for every soul-crushing Usher performance there’s an amazing Watch Dogs video. Gaming caters to everybody and that still includes core gamers. So don’t throw your controllers out the window every time a publisher unveils a dance game or licence that you’re not interested in.

The other trend that is prevalent at this year’s E3 is of course, the iPad though it might always be mentioned by name. Tablets are part of every developer/platform/publisher’s strategy, and there’s no argument that the iPad is the elephant in the room when it comes to gaming on a tablet. Microsoft is introducing “SmartGlass” to move its gaming initiative beyond the Xbox 360 and onto Windows 8 tablets. Nintendo has a more closed eco-system approach with the Wii U gamepads becoming eerily similar to tablets themselves. While Sony is using a different approach and is hedging its bets by integrating it’s Playstation 3 with its portable Playstation Vita and the Playstation Mobile network on Android tablets.

With so many different strategies companies are taking to make consoles offer more than just gaming in the living room and taking on the tablet market, gamers still have a lot to look forward to. For software testers, this means an unbelievable variety in apps and platforms to test. There is no slowing down in the mobile app testing market, and this week, the video game industry just poured gasoline on the bonfire.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Romney App Gaffe Goes VIARL

The Importance of testing your mobile appWhen Barack Obama won the Presidency in 2008, he was buoyed in part by his successful utilization of web 2.0. While John McCain took pride in being an internet “illiterate” who had to “rely on (his) wife” for help online, Obama took to social media to communicate with and mobilize his supporters, especially those falling into the “Gen Y” and “Millennium” demographics.

This lesson has apparently not been lost on the GOP, which has seen increased activity among its membership to the point where Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are now reported to be more effective on social media than their Democrat counterparts. While which side is more effective will likely always be open to debate, one thing is now certain – both sides of the aisle understand how important it now is to successfully engage constituents online, especially via Twitter and Facebook. Which is why what happened to the Romney campaign on Tuesday night is so embarrassing, as Sam Laird of Mashable reports

Mitt Romney launched an official iPhone app Tuesday night — only to find that it came with one glaring, humiliating oversight for his campaign.

Here’s how the free app works: You take a photo, then are able to lay one of 14 “I’m With Mitt” banners over the image. The banners shout slogans such as “I’m a Mom for Mitt.” Then you can post the photo directly to Facebook or Twitter, or email it to a friend. The friend then receives a message reading: “I’m with Mitt Romney in 2012. And here’s a photo showing my support. Check it out!”

The problem? One of the 14 options reads, in fact, “A Better Amercia.” Yes, Amercia. A-M-E-R-C-I-A.

Not exactly the attention to detail one expects from a candidate for President. Especially one with a reputation (deserved or not) for being extremely calculated in everything he does.

The lesson to be learned? Never run for President if you don’t understand spell check. Test your mobile app. Then test it again. And then run regression testing on it. If you don’t, you might release an app that goes viral and gives millions of your opponent’s supporters a legitimate reason to make fun of you. On the internet. For the world to see.

Read the full Mashable article>>>

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Site Crash Could Cost You $10,000+

DDoS attacks will cost you businessIt’s Memorial Day – that means it’s time for sales, travel and activities. It’s also one of the worst possible times for your site to go down – something that is the express goal of a DDoS attack.

Unfortunately, the number of businesses being targeted for cyber attacks is growing, according to a recent survey by Internet-analytics company Neustar. According to the study, more than 300 businesses (across industries such as travel, finance and retail) have experienced an cyberattack. From Mashable:

Ted Swearingen, director of information security operations at Neustar, says the number of cyberattacks and the variety of industries affected have increased dramatically.

“We’ve seen a game change in last two years,” Swearingen told Mashable. “It’s significant. The damage that comes with one of these attacks — the thought of being down for a day, not being able to sell goods or services online is just amazing in terms of monetary cost.”

The costs can indeed be high. 65% of businesses said a site outage would cost them up to $10,000 an hour, 21% said it would run them $50,000 an hour, and 13% of businesses would lose $100,000 every hour if their site went down. …

35% of Neustar’s respondants said they’ve experienced an attack which lasted longer than a day, while 11% said they’ve seen an attack continue for more than a week.

Read the full Mashable article >>>

If your business relies on customers’ expectation of security (such as e-tail or financial sites) or if you face a lot of competition (like in the e-tail and travel industries) you can’t afford to have your site taken down from a monetary or a customer experience/loyalty standpoint.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that any business – no matter how big or small – is a potential target for hackers. Be proactive. Security test your website and apps and be sure you have backup server plans in place so you’re not stuck if your business is targeted. When you’re in the middle of an attack is not the time to start thinking about security.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

uTest Launches AppGrader for Android

There’s only a few things that can happen when a user downloads your mobile app. Unfortunately, most of them are bad. Here are a few common outcomes:

  • The app crashes
  • The app hangs
  • The app stalls
  • The app works exactly as expected

The point is this: Without proper testing, you’ll never really know how users are experiencing your mobile app. This is particularly true of the Android operating system, with its seemingly countless permutations of devices.

So to help make the mobile app testing process a little less complex, uTest is pleased to launch a new tool that we hope will help you catch some of these problems before your users do. We call it AppGrader, and today we’re launching it as a way to quickly test your Android apps.

What is AppGrader?
AppGrader is a free online tool that can be used to quickly test your mobile application on a variety of common devices. With AppGrader, you can load your application on several devices and get basic reporting about bugs associated with installing, loading and running your application.

Why Does It Matter?
As a proponent of in-the-wild testing, we believe that an application is only properly tested once it has been evaluated by real users, with real devices, in a wide number of locations. AppGrader is a way to provide a taste of in-the-wild testing, by accessing the real devices component (albiet in an automated fashion).

Those who are interested in what AppGrader has to offer will likely appreciate uTest’s full suite of testing services.

What Do You Get?
With AppGrader, you can get a custom score for your application. You’ll also receive a comparison of how well your app works compared to dozens of other popular apps on the same devices. If your app should crash on the device, you can quickly download a crash log to get a deeper look at the problem.

What Devices Does it Cover?
At this point in time, AppGrader is just for Android devices (and yes, we do have plans to launch this service for other mobile operating systems). Devices tested include:

  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
  • Google Nexus S
  • LG Nitro HD
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • HTC Thunderbolt
  • Sony Ericson Xperia
  • Motorola Droid X2
  • T-Mobile My Touch

AppGrader will also evaluate your application on devices across several popular carriers, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

What Does It Cost?
Only your soul. Just kidding. It’s free.

How Do I Get Started?
To get started, simply fill out a brief form and upload your Android APK. Once your results are ready, you’ll be notified by email within minutes.

So what are you waiting for?

Try AppGrader Today >>>

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Why Testing Your Business App is Important

Make sure your app makes senseAs the age of mobile tightens its grip on the world, companies are working double-time to figure out exactly how the use of smartphones and tablets fit into their working world. While some companies have navigated this new terrain fairly easily, many companies are struggling to find the right balance when it comes to mobile programs. Their biggest downfalls are trying to completely recreate a desktop program into a clunky, over-stuffed mobile app and not understanding the tenets mobile design.

In fact, this is such an issue that it’s poised to cost US and UK based companies a pretty penny in the next year and a half. Here’s some research from Antenna Software that highlights the problem (from Computer Business Review):

U.K. and U.S business are planning to spend an estimated £285k on mobile software tools for their employees in the next year and a half, but much of that money will be wasted.

According to research released by Antenna Software, only 25% of IT and business decision makers said their employees had embraced their mobile initiatives. …

According to the Mobile Business Forecast 2012 report, many companies are failing to engage their employees on mobile projects because of poorly designed applications that lack business logic and usability.

“More businesses than ever are now building mobile apps to help employees work more effectively, but it’s clear that a good deal of time and money is going to waste through poor design,” said Ken Parmelee, Senior Director of Product Management at Antenna. “Companies need to pay more attention to the end user and how and when they are going to use the app.”

The important lesson here is that just because your app is free and has a built-in market doesn’t mean you can lower your standards or ignore what end users like. It isn’t enough to take a program employees use on a computer and make it “more accessible” by translating it into an app. You need to fully understand how the program can be useful on-the-go and focus solely on the features that would be handy and increase productivity in a mobile, untethered setting.

Continue Reading

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing