Once the game is complete, it enters the postproduction phase. This phase includes extensive testing, review, marketing and finally, distribution.
The job of the testers is to play the game repeatedly to find all the mistakes, or "bugs." Problems are prioritized in many ways, from "fatal" bugs which must be resolved immediately, to minor issues which may or may not affect the game's release. When a problem is discovered, a detailed report is sent back to the developers and the error is corrected.
The first version sent to testers is called the "alpha" version, and it is tested to detect any major flaws in the game while they are still relatively easy to fix. Once all of the major flaws are addressed, a "beta" version is released, often to a larger group of testers that sometimes includes the public. The beta version is exhaustively tested, fixed and re-released until the developers are satisfied that the game is ready for primetime.
Usually during this testing phase, a copy of the game is sent to the Entertainment Software Rating Board to be given a rating. These ratings are intended to give consumers an idea of the content of the game and its appropriateness for different age groups.