The world of a video games tester is different than most people think. Most testers do not sit at home on their couch and get paid to play video games. This is a real job, and like most other jobs you are required to report to the job location, work your scheduled shift, and produce results. There are however some unique duties and obligations that make these testing jobs different than most people imagine them to be.
It is important to clarify that tester jobs are very important. No gaming company in their right mind would attempt to market a game knowing it was full of problems or “bugs”. It would ruin them financially as well tarnishing their reputation for product quality in the very competitive gaming marketplace. As a video games tester, your primary job is to find and report on gaming “bugs” so that they can be fixed before the game is released to the public consumers.
Now you would think that given this responsibility of ensuring the quality of games before they are released to the public would mean game testers would be highly paid. Unfortunately they are not, however the low starting pay does not mean there is no variety in the types of game testers jobs.
Being a tester does imply that you do get paid to play video games, however often not in the way you might imagine. Most of us get confused by terms “game beta testing” and actual “game testers jobs”. It is very important to realize that beta testing of games is generally done by volunteers, playing the full version of the game just prior to its release to the customer, sometimes playing at home, and for free. Notice the words “for free” and “volunteers”, in other words you are not being paid to test out the game. This is a totally different set of job conditions as those experienced by most paid video game testers.
If you are actually interested the side of the gaming industry where you get paid to play video games, and not the beta testing, then the kinds of duties and responsibilities you would perform as a new games tester may include:
- repetitive tasks such as turning the gaming device on and off multiple times to ensure it works after extend periods of use
- playing and replaying the same level in the game numerous times to check for any glitches, freezes or other “bugs” in the game level
- testing out the controller pads for durability and ease of operation -checking out in-game communications such as instant messaging features
- looking for missing graphics in the game animation, character flaws, etc.
- providing detailed reports on any problems that you find during your testing
- not sharing information about your testing with anyone outside your workplace under the penalty of instant firing and possible criminal charges.
Depending on your level of testing expertise, you may never get to test out the full version of the game and sometimes get stuck having to test out the early versions, minus any graphics or video clips. Nothing is said that you will even get to game test the types of games you happen to enjoy playing.
As with any job, once you become more experienced and demonstrate good skills as a video games tester, the odds will increase that you will be given more demanding and interesting game testers jobs. At this point you may also be given some choice in the types of games that you wish to test depending on the company product line. So you must be willing to “pay your dues” to get the type of testing jobs you want.
Clearly there appears to be many misconceptions out there about what a games tester actually does, the amount they get paid, and even the types of personal qualities you need to be a successful game tester. Hopefully this article has helped to clarify some of the misinformation about video game tester jobs.