Engine

Beta Testing Experiences

Developers on the Roblox platform have a strong culture of conducting beta tests in order to get feedback from the community and to begin collecting analytics about their user base. There's several ways to collect user feedback, starting with closed betas and then moving to open betas after the initial feedback has been addressed.

Testing Options

There are different methods for beta testing an experience depending on the project's current playability and testing goals. While the table below provides a quick summary, each of the following methods will be discussed in-depth.

MethodIdeal For
Closed AccessIdeal for studios interested in testing specific features or unpolished builds to get initial player reactions. Can often follow up with, or prepare for an open access beta.
Open Paid AccessSimilar to open access beta but testers are users paying to play. This often results in a smaller volume of users, but more motivated in providing feedback.
Limited Time TestProvides benefits of an open access beta but requires less of the commitment and investment needed to run an open access beta. Experiences can be playable but have minimal, or focused content.
Open Access BetaFor experiences that are relatively polished and playable, but may lack content. Best for studios interested in testing at scale to gain the largest amount of user data and impressions.

In general, a developer is recommended to launch a beta program whenever the experience meets the following criteria:

  • A playable experience where the user can go through the entire game loop, even if there's only one area, or content is limited.
  • The experience is performant on all target platforms, such as mobile or desktop.
  • Resources are dedicated to supporting a community or accepting feedback.

Closed Access Beta

Closed access programs are best for studios interested in testing experiences that may be unpolished or not fully ready for a large audience. In this program, users from a trusted group are granted access to the Roblox group where the experience is published from. Trusted members can often be from pre-existing communities or friends and family.

To launch the closed access beta, users are given invites to, or request to join, a Roblox group. Once in, they are granted a role that permits them to access an experience published by that group. Note that the group and whitelisting must be managed and set up by the developer.

BenefitsConsiderations
  • Users tend to be more engaged and active, often submitting tickets for requests, finding issues, and providing feedback.
  • Minimal impact on search and discovery and marketing as the experience is generally "hidden".
  • Because user scale is smaller, developers may not understand trends in their userbase.
  • Studios will need to source testers, such as friends and family, or members of a Discord community.

Open Paid Access

Similar to open access betas, these experiences should be playable, mostly bug free, but can be missing content. Here, users pay an upfront Robux fee to access the experience (see Paid Access). This limits the amount of users, often providing a more motivated testing audience before opening it to a wider audience.

BenefitsConsiderations
  • Offers the ability to interact with the Roblox population like an open beta, but at a smaller and more manageable scale.
  • Ability to interact with the general Roblox population.
  • Because these are motivated users, data collected here may not reflect performance with a general Roblox audience.
  • Some minor financial costs in on-Roblox advertising is recommended to build a user base.

Limited Time Test

Running an open beta takes time and energy away from development as developers must respond to feedback and interact with their community. A lower-impact alternative is the limited time test. In this method, developers plan for an open access beta test during a specific time frame, such as a key weekend or week. An experience is opened and closed based off the time. Similar to the open access beta, the experience should be playable, generally bug-free, but can lack content.

To launch the limited time test, we advise developers to advertise the event. Developers can use experience announcements, group, and social media to communicate when the experience will be temporarily opened.

BenefitsConsiderations
  • Developers can acquire short term data, such as D1 retention, playtime, session lengths over a weekend, rather than having to run a month long beta program.
  • For a successful limited time test, it's recommended to prepare with marketing and advertising. Options include boosting an event on your social media or community spaces (e.g. Discord). Additionally, developers can spend money (~ $100-250 USD) to buy ad space on Roblox to generate traffic.

Open Access Beta

If developers are confident their experience is playable by the general public, but may be lacking content, polish, and quality of life features, an open access beta is feasible. To launch an open beta, the experience is set to public, allowing any Roblox user to play. This program is then conducted for one to two months before launch.

Some recommendations for running an open access beta are below.

  • Encourage users to join a Roblox group connected to the experience, or social community such as Discord. This provides users an avenue to leave feedback.
  • Inform users that the experience is in a beta state. This can be done by adding the tag Beta to the experience title and using in-experience pop-ups to set expectations as to the occasional bug or unfinished feature.
Picture of Roblox game with beta tag
Example game page showing a beta
BenefitsConsiderations
  • Larger user base allows developers to collect analytics regarding common devices, retention, and demographics.
  • Developers can see trends in gameplay and use it to adjust for launch. For instance, in the beta you may notice many 18 + users playing, when the educational content is best suited for ages 12-15.
  • If the experience is too incomplete, has too many bugs, or simply isn't appealing to users, the overall rating is likely to drop. This may impact search and discovery results.
  • Open access betas have the highest planning needs. It's recommended to have people on staff to address community feedback.

Getting Community Feedback

Regardless of how a beta is implemented, some means for recording user feedback should always be implemented. Two methods for obtaining direct user feedback are in-experience feedback forms and Discord.

In-Experience Feedback

Feedback systems can be built directly into the experience with UI pop-ups at key moments. Two examples can be seen in the experiences Stranger Things and Alo Sanctuary.

BenefitsConsiderations
  • Easy to obtain a large amount of data that can be quantified from the general audience.
  • These systems can also be ideal for asking questions to see if users understand the intended learning objectives of the experience.
  • Leading questions or poor survey design can make data gathering inaccurate. Survey design is very important.
  • Someone will need to clean data before it's used. More users lead to a higher volume of spam.
  • One way communication makes it difficult to followup with users, or get context and reproduction steps.

Discord Communities

Many developers choose to create Discord communities for their experiences. To setup communities, we recommend that you investigate large experiences on Roblox, such as Adopt Me. Seeing how other communities are structured can inform your own decisions, such as what channels users will expect to see, and how users may engage with your community.

BenefitsConsiderations
  • Two-way communication - you can start a live conversation about an issue or feedback and get additional details.
  • People will naturally talk amongst themselves. Developers can observe what people are talking about unprompted.
  • Feedback may be biased. For instance, fans or dedicated users may be more likely to be on Discord than users who did not enjoy the experience.
  • Data is often qualitative and not quantitative. Unless surveys are provided in Discord, studios may not notice specific trends due to lack of data.

Think-Aloud Feedback

A think-aloud is a method of studying the mental processes people use in a task. Participants communicate their thoughts during gameplay, often in stream of conscious, as a way of understanding different goals, such as the clarify of an educational objective. For developers interested in doing a think-aloud, it's recommended they find participants in their target age demographic, either through family and friends, or a social community.

BenefitsConsiderations
  • Arguably one of the best feedback mechanisms for understanding if an experience is meeting educational objectives. A think aloud can identify gaps of knowledge that might be hard to discover through other methods.
  • High effort task. Doing a think-aloud often requires setting up a script as to not bias the participant, in addition to the actual time in interviewing someone.

Analytics

Analytics gathered during a beta program are often used to gauge if a launch experience will be on track to meeting it's goals. For instance, many common Roblox experiences have specific goals for retention, monetization, and session time.

Tracking Analytics

Roblox provides a variety of built-in analytics using the Analytics Dashboard.

Roblox Provided Analytics
  • Demographics - commonly used devices, ages
  • Retention and Engagement - Metrics such as D1, D7 retention, average session time, drop-off, etc.
Common Custom Analytics
  • Progress - If users are getting it past the tutorial, are users exploring different areas of the world, etc.
  • User Behavior - What users click, interact, or engage with in the world.

Measuring Success

Measuring success is often determined by the analytics important during a beta. To help determine what analytics are important during a beta, consider these questions.

  • How much content is in the experience and what level of retention and engagement should be aimed for? For instance, a one-time guided classroom experience will focus more on average session length than retention.
  • What is the intended target age for users? What was the age range of users during the beta, and was there any discrepancy?

For all experiences, consult its analytics to determine:

  • Onboarding and tutorial completion.
  • Metrics related to educational learning objectives. These differ between experiences.
  • Player drop off points. For instance, if users are not exploring specific areas, or using game features.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should an experience spend in beta before launching?

Every experience is different, but a general time frame would be 7 to 30 days. This is specifically based off getting enough data to determine D1 and D30 retention metrics.

Do developers engage live in-game with users during a beta?

This is optional, but many developers enjoy entering their experience to converse with users. There is also a culture in Roblox to reward this. For instance, some experiences reward badges for meeting a developer.

When should we start building a community?

It's recommend to build a community before beta testing. This community can be started on networks such as Discord or Twitter. As long as you have content, such as screenshots, videos, or even livestreams, you can start a community without a playable experience. Starting a community can help find sourcing testers for the beta much easier.