Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Quality Conundrum

This post is a goodbye to my latest addiction of the week: Pokemon Go. Like so many others, I've played it and enjoyed it.

I've had three typical scenarios of use to keep me engaged in the game.

  1. Connection errors on all devices 
  2. Crash on opening on iPhone 4s
  3. Restarting the game with every sight of a pokemon and after every catch of a pokemon in iPad2
The first two days, I tried connecting every now and then, and never made it into the game. But the game was still interesting, and I kept coming back to it. And at some point, it actually allowed me to log in. 

My joy of it working was premature though, as I was naturally thinking I'd like to play it on my phone. It just seems it does not agree with my phone, and with every opening, first click in the actual game and it closes with a crash. 

In the last five days, I've been able to level up to 11, but all of this comes with a great cost. A minute of gameplay means at least a minute of wait time.

Thinking about this has lead me to understand that there is a quality conundrum. Clearly it hasn't mattered much to me that the game is completely of half unavailable. The only thing I recognize the problems had done to me is that it postponed my commitment to the game, as in paying real money for something. And now, bringing out the rational side of the that deletes the game as a time-waster. 

The game apparently has loads of users regardless of its problems. Released with problems, it has made its creators millions (missing a reference) that it wouldn't have yet made, if it was kept on development without releasing. People are clearly enjoying it. The millions they might be losing in addition to the millions they are already making seem irrelevant. 

My time did not cost them anything. It did not cost me enough to consider it relevant for the first week. But multiplied with the number of players, the cost has been high, yet distributed to come out of many pockets in small streams. 

I can only hope that acceptance of this level of "it works" has not come here to stay. But I fear that changing is already too late. We accept problems without compensation. Our lost time is not out of the creators pockets. And in some contexts like this, the lost revenue does not matter in relation to the revenue that is already flowing in. 

Contexts have never been as clearly different to me as they are today. And I worry about this becoming the best practice that starts defining the quality of my life. 



2 comments:

  1. I do have a question for you - Given the issues you are aware of, and the business case you've stated (and clearly works), would your tester self recommend release of the current version?

    For me, the line between recognizing the fact that there are a lot of contexts and starting with the new best-practice of "it's all about the context" lies with the ability to recognize a bad piece of software, and knowing that there might be a great business case to release a shoddy product
    , but as a tester I'm not here to decide what should be the release criteria, I should be telling everyone who needs it that the software is in a poor condition. I might add that "even so, I think there is value in releasing despite the evident problems. Knowing (and noticing) that the quality of the product is not "good enough" but rather "bad, but enough for the time being it would be preferable to having \ doing nothing.

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    1. I would, after having the discussion on gaining a million yet losing another. Money in the pocket is powerful, and there's many aspects of timing in play.

      I believe though I could have helped the project actually fix / never to have these issues. But knowing where things ended by this schedule, I can't see it a clear no on releasing.

      They took a risk and it was worth it in hindsight.

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