GameSpot have an interesting article on the Science of Playtesting, focusing on three companies, namely Valve, Bungie, and Epic Games. It’s a long read, and explains how and why playtesting computer games has become a vital part of a game’s development process. Using psychological tests, biometrics, and surveys, developers can find out which part of the game testers are enjoying, which parts they don’t like, what they’d change, and how they react to different situations, among other things. All the data they collect then gets used to improve the game.
Having gone from barely testing games in the old days, to spending a huge amount of time and resources testing them now, games playtesting has become a vital and integral part of a game’s development, which no sane developer would ignore. Onwards!