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Communications of the ACM


Automated QA Testing at Electronic Arts

Michael Donat, Jafar Husain, and Terry Coatta

Clockwise from top left: Michael Donat of Electronic Arts; Jafar Husain of Netflix; and Terry Coatta of Marine Learning Systems.

Photo treatments by Alicia Kubista / Andrij Borys Associates

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To millions of game geeks, the position of quality assurance (QA) tester at Electronic Arts must seem like a dream job. But from the company's perspective, the overhead associated with QA can look downright frightening, particularly in an era of massively multiplayer games.

Hence the appeal of automated QA testing, which has the potential to be faster, more cost-effective, more efficient and more scalable than manual testing. While automation cannot mimic everything human testers can do, it can be very useful for many types of basic testing. Still, it turns out the transition to automated testing is not nearly as straightforward as it might at first appear. Some of the thorniest challenges are considered here.


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