Q Blog

Testing the Metaverse

What is the Metaverse?

While there are numerous definitions out there, I define it as a virtual immersive world where large numbers of people can gather to play, work, or socialize. It’s also the next enabler of the 3D Internet or Web 3.0. The Metaverse will be a place where people can access this environment through an inflection point of 5G and Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality devices.

Opportunity knocks on the metaverse.

Businesses are investing and expanding their services in the metaverse because it is the next platform to capture audiences and look to monetize through those mixed reality experiences. According to Mckinsey & Company, there is the potential of generating over $5 Trillion in value by 2030 across consumers and enterprise audiences. These opportunities would live within social, entertainment, gaming, travel, and shopping for consumers, and training, marketing, retail, corporate engagement, and events for the enterprise market.   This is too large of an opportunity to ignore.

What makes up the metaverse?

The metaverse is vast and has much to explore, but we can simplify the system into 4 components:   Platform, Content, Hardware, and Professional Services. Let’s start by breaking down what these components are and how they make up the main points of the metaverse:

Content 

Platform 

Hardware 

Services 


 


Content & Experiences

  • These are the rich experiences that users will interact with in the metaverse.   Content creators from development communities will build out rich applications for users to interact with each other.
  • The applications tied to the metaverse will range across a wide range of industries such as social, work, gaming, transactional, and financial.
  • Many assorted virtual and augmented environments will enable users to interact and create these experiences with each other, supporting real or virtual identities as fit.

Platforms

  • Users will navigate the metaverse through different platforms to access their content and experiences.  These would be through in-app experiences, browsers, gaming virtual worlds, and decentralized NFT environments.  Having created virtual identities, one can enter these worlds and navigate through hundreds of mediums to settle on the experience they choose to socialize in.
  • Creators of these platforms will have access to metaverse tools to build deep 3D experiences, AI services, complex game engines, and share creator tools with each other.   There will be a mix of closed and open-source platforms, with the need of APIs and interoperability with other platforms to bring a full enriching experience across activities.

Infrastructure

  • Entry to the metaverse will rely on proper support for devices, components, peripherals, and OS layers.   These currently are supported with AR and VR technologies, which continue to receive more system support on these devices and components
  • The underlying infrastructure will be made up of cloud technologies, semiconductors, and mobile networks.    The metaverse will rely heavily on 5G and edge computing to support large data packets and minimal latency between user interactions.

Services

  • Users in a virtual environment will need heavy support from security, privacy, and identity enablers.   Data governance will require heavy content moderation on these platforms.
  • Identity will live in the form of digital identities, avatars, and social graphs
  • Commerce will live on new payment and monetization platforms, with tools enabling economic transactions through cryptocurrency, NFTs, and other digital wallet technologies.

Testing the metaverse

Despite the complexity of the upcoming metaverse society, approaching testing and quality assurance will not differ too heavily from today’s mobile and web technologies approach. And users don’t look at the metaverse as individual components, but as an entirety. We will concentrate on 3 key areas of user experiences and apply the agile testing methodologies to the system. These 3 key areas are:
1. Hardware diversity
2. Platform interoperability
3. Interactive and immersive Experiences

Hardware diversity

Testers must first identify the compatible hardware that supports applications in the metaverse. At the time of this writing, the world is supporting computer-vision supported VR headsets, early generation AR glasses with overlays, and mobile phones and tablets all equipped with sensors. In order to enter the metaverse, users must use some type of peripheral or device like these to interact with the metaverse community. Testers will build a test matrix of compatible devices and identify the supported features that these devices would be able to access. Not all devices have the same capabilities as others, so the test plan would clearly describe the functional requirements that are supported or not supported. There may be test cases that require interoperable communication between 2 different devices (ie: 3D conference call between a VR headset and a 2D mobile display). Challenges of functional device coverage include a sea of variable hardware, different versions of firmware and software, limited functionality specific to the type of devices. Testers must check that components of the hardware are responding correctly to the use cases of the Device under Test (DuT). For example, if the DuT has inside-out cameras, then the tester must run testcases for that DuT to ensure the various camera tracking testcases are detecting the peripherals as expected.   Similarly, testers must check other hardware components like Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi, haptic feedback, battery management, remote controls, screen orientation changes, etc. The goal here is to verify all hardware related functionality, compatibility, and performance is functioning correctly to requirements.

Platform interoperability

APIs are a critical piece to the makeup of the metaverse. The metaverse will be designed to overlap different platforms, tools, and user experiences across endless creative entry points of interaction. To achieve that level of interoperability, these platforms will rely heavily on API interaction and modular interfaces from development. The specifications for APIs continue to grow exponentially as more and more scenarios are thought out and implemented in the growing metaverse. This increases complexity so the need for system and regression testing needs support to validate and scale cross-platform activity. APIs need to be tested to identify problems and understand how the software is being used by the features, and where the support is necessary to support different levels of interoperability, flexibility and decentralization required by metaverse experiences. Therefore, developers must build classes and module support for these APIs, and testers must create automated test cases that will extensively test these 3rd party modules to validate expected output when mock inputs are added. Just like the device traceability matrix for hardware testing, creating unit tests tracing through every new API added is important to ensure the overall system and integration testing for the growing levels of platform support in the metaverse.

Interactive and immersive Experiences

At the end of the day, real-world users will represent the main core of testing the incoming metaverse experiences. Applications in every field (social, transactional, financial, etc.), will be the driving force for users to spend their time in the metaverse. The test approach will follow the elements of the Software Test Life Cycle (STLC), where common test approaches will be heavily followed and measured for progress. Testers will build testcases that test the main functionality defined in each of the applications functionality, execute these user scenarios, and file bug defects as expected results fail to pass. Testers will build out test environments to support the metaverse scenarios, which could range from recreating living-room space to generating thousands of large-load users. From testing mock data to real-world cryptocurrency test purchases, the degree of interactive and immersive application testing is endless. But all processes follow critical feature signoff, a bug burndown chart, and production level deployments carefully regulated and managed by release management teams.

Conclusion

Testing the metaverse is complex, multi-dimensional, and has an endless supply of device entry points.   Test teams must take both a functional and non-functional approach to all applications and experiences. They need to also account for test strategies that involve both hardware and software requirements.   Thankfully, the metaverse development process is like the internet and mobile development methodologies, so many of those ideas and approaches can be reused and improved upon.   (ie: Agile development, cloud services deployments). Forming a test team that has prior web and mobile experience is the first step in stepping into the metaverse, but the need to increase creativity and imagination is what will solidify the quality of remaining in it.

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