“Frequent builds always pose a problem. Typically build teams will solve that by hiring more people. It helps a bit, but it’s not as good as having good tools. HeadSpin gave us the tools to scale in an effective way.”

DAVE PROUT
Executive Producer, Kabam

About Kabam

Kabam's Austin office was embarking on an ambitious new project to produce their next blockbuster action-based, multiplayer mobile game, with the goal to deliver an exceptionally fast mobile game on par with the experiences users expect on consoles. This required them to build and scale a brand new tech stack and back end.

Kabam is a world leader in developing entertaining, immersive, and highly social multiplayer mobile games and has continually raised the benchmark in mobile gaming.

Since being founded in 2006, Kabam has created games, such as Marvel Contest of Champions and Transformers: Forged to Fight, that have generated hundreds of millions of downloads and received multiple awards.

Challenges

To support this goal, Dave Prout, Kabam’s Executive Producer for the new game, recognized the need for an intelligent device farm solution that would not only help his team be more efficient but could also provide in-depth insight into gameplay performance.

High performance is key

Mobile games are no strangers to high churn rates. Poor reviews and ratings can kill a game’s chances for success out of the gate. Kabam’s team knew that first impressions are key and wanted to ensure their app ran effortlessly from the start. With a diverse global audience, Kabam needed to ensure robust performance at scale across a wide range of devices and locations.

Commodity device farms are insufficient

Kabam needed dedicated access to test devices when they needed them, but they found commodity device farms, such as AWS, had higher maintenance and fewer options. It also wanted concentrated support in key territories such as South Korea, which is a key market for Kabam.

Testing throughout the dev lifecycle

To ensure a high-quality user experience, game performance was a high priority from the start of development. Builds are comprehensively tested daily and especially pre and post-release. Kabam needed a tool for automated testing that could be managed by a small team for daily tests (not just spot checks), and perform compatibility testing at scale.
Solution

HeadSpin provides Kabam the means to continuously test and improve their mobile game reliably and efficiently across a global testing infrastructure.

In-depth performance monitoring and optimization

Kabam is able to pinpoint and resolve factors impacting app performance at any given time by utilizing HeadSpin’s performance monitoring and optimization tools. HeadSpin automatically surfaces QoE issues across apps, networks, devices, and locations and offers AI-powered recommendations to improve performance. HeadSpin surfaces the context: how location and device-specific factors impact game performance, and provides insights that are crucial in helping Kabam identify areas of improvement early on.

Real app testing — anywhere in the world

With HeadSpin’s global device infrastructure, Kabam can test in multiple regions and on multiple devices to ensure optimal, localized experiences across locations, carriers, OSes, and devices. “With HeadSpin, we could look our investors in the eye and say: The app runs flawlessly. You can play it in South Korea, in the US, on an iPhone 7, or on an Android Galaxy S8 if you wanted to.”

Remote control for manual and automated testing

“HeadSpin allows Kabam to control devices remotely for both manual and automated testing. For the aspects of multiplayer gameplay that are harder to automate, the QA team is able to instantly access global devices via the Remote Control to manually test multiple logins, for example, and capture screenshots and video in real-time. “Those things are hard for us to automate, and that’s something that we’re able to do with Headspin’s devices. We get a lot more coverage than we’d normally be able to get without adding more staff,” says Dave.

The interface’s user-friendly design makes the process even
smoother. “The UI with Remote Control is easy to use, and being
able to go in and pull up a device and run the game on any device
felt kind of like magic.”

The more tests, the higher the quality

Using HeadSpin, Kabam is able to test their app continuously early on in the development lifecycle. Kabam runs functional, performance, and compatibility tests on a daily basis on a wide range of devices. Running automated smoke tests with HeadSpin supplies the dev team with a lot of valuable telemetry for easy performance analysis.
ReSUlTS

HeadSpin empowers app teams to assure optimal digital experiences throughout the development lifecycle with unprecedented visibility into mobile, web, audio, and video quality and performance.

In-depth performance insights

HeadSpin enables Kabam to proactively identify and quickly resolve issues and ensure a high performing game from day one.

Real-time, global testing

With HeadSpin, Kabam can test their apps on any device in key global markets, and their Certification QA team can run compliance tests on a wider range of devices.

Improved team efficiency

HeadSpin streamlines troubleshooting and automates the performance reporting process for compatibility testing on a
wider range of devices.