Video games have become far more than just a hobby. Beyond the big gaming companies and their niche rivals, there are many profitable businesses that thrive in the gaming market while gaining a foothold in other markets.
Collaboration is a big deal when it comes to online gaming, and it’s an amazing test of usability for the rest of the world. Gaming populations have a healthy mix of tech-savvy users, people who are willing to learn, and people who refuse to learn while demanding a better experience.
Exposure to these audiences can help many software developers and project managers understand the use case of their software with a more flexible, easier to advertise form of beta testing: gaming collaboration.
How Does Collaboration Work in Gaming?
Although single player, offline games still exist, gaming has become a powerhouse of online collaboration. Whether it’s a multiplayer game with 2-10 players or a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game with thousands–or even millions–of players across many servers and in many groups, there are a lot of people who need to communicate.
In First Person Shooter (FPS) games, many players need to use in-game communications to call out with their teams. For games with random players, the in-game tools are fine, but the audio is low quality and may have some delay.
For adventure or role playing games–or any games that have extended gameplay beyond quick matches–there are game elements that need longer, drawn out, and more references communications. Games like World of Warcraft, Everquest, Rift, and Wildstar have content called raids that involve 10-40 players depending on the game, and the difficulty level often involves groups called guilds or organized Pick-Up Groups (PUGs) to use another form of communication
Many gamers eventually become part of a guild, clan, linkshell (about Final Fantasy XIV/14) or other type of guild group with a leadership structure. In recent years, even solo players have found ways to at least loosely affiliate with guilds without being required to join, and these groups need tech collaboration.
Collaboration Methods on The Market
For gamers, collaboration means using a mixture of chat and voice.
When you’re playing a game, you don’t often have time to type out instructions. Especially in the heat of battle or when reaction time matters, it’s easier to be able to talk quickly and be understood with good voice quality. Some games have alert systems that call out special events, and there are games where guilds need to call out emergencies like members of The Monitoring Association when an enemy guild attacks their territory.
That doesn’t mean voice is king. There are many times where a group needs voice for fast-paced content, but people with anxiety, social aversion, or just situations where noise isn’t an option will need to communicate.
The most common options for gamers outside of in-game communications are Voice Over IP applications such as Teamspeak, Ventrilo, Mumble, and Discord. Many of these options include both voice and chat but have different ways of deploying. Test at https://www.apicasystems.com/load-testing/.
Discord is the newest option that has taken gaming by storm, and benefits from a lot of features well-known in the business collaboration app Slack. It allows multiple text-only chat creation, voice channel creation, and other features such as showing pictures when linked in chat and giving details about links such as videos.
These communication apps are far from the end of the collaboration battle, and there’s still a lot of market at stake as players make suggestions and yearn for more features. If you want to enter the collaboration space and lack an audience, be sure to consider new games and gaming groups looking for something new to try.
As you find clientele and expand operations, be sure to test your systems for handling an influx of new users. Testing at places such as Apica Systems is a good way to drive up future business, but many great games–and great apps–have failed to gain ground due to critical disappointment.
Balance your servers, test your web apps thoroughly, and gain confidence in your system performance.