Video Game Testers are a highly sought after job for many people interested in video games, computers and the internet. From first person gun shooter games to virtual reality games, game testers are a necessity. Many people see the job as getting paid for something they do for fun. While video game testing can be fun, it is a job and generally far from what people expect.
If you, a friend or family member has been thinking about getting into video game testing, this article will dispel some rumors and explain the truth behind your life and opportunities as a video game tester.
1. Game Testers Do Not Get To Play Video Games All Day.
The primary tenant of video game testing is that the core tasks of the job are extremely different from playing a video game for fun. Throughout the game testing cycle, the game tester executes monotonous and similar tasks on a set schedule to check for bugs. For example, on a test day, a tester might use his character to speak to every non-player character (NPC) on the screen and record the responses. Another task may be to count the number of swear words throughout game play or plug in and unplug the controllers at different stages throughout the game play.
The tester's project lead will plan out the daily tasks and follow them closely, hardly ever allowing the individual tester to have any say or influence on his / her tasks. The tester must acutely focus on the game play in order to properly research and document any bugs or glitches.
Testers also rarely get to select the type of games to work on. Therefore, if you are a fan of strategy games like Warcraft and Starcraft, you might spend all your time working on sports games or games for babies.
Whatever assignment and game the tester is given, he or she will most likely play the same levels and situations over and over for long hours where the task of playing a game quickly becomes a job.
2. Video Game Testing Can Be A Great Way To Break Into The Industry
Video game testing can be a great career choice for an enthusiastic and hardworking future game designer, artist or coder. Testers, however rarely get to speak to or interact in any business setting with the production team, however an outgoing personality can meet and network with the appropriate people. As in any entry level job with tremendous upside, time will be limited and it will be very difficult to job hunt or get any additional exposure.
Testing remains one of the greatest entry level experiences into gaming as a profession. You will learn the development process and meet the right people to succeed. With the eager Tester, the learning curve comes fast and after a few short weeks many production and development aspects will be understood. Hard work and diligence on a title could also earn the tester a highly coveted position in the credits of the title, which is always an exceptional resume builder.
Working hard as a tester can open many doors for you in the field of management, training and testing. If you seek the production and development side of things, then it will also give you many solid contacts to pursue.
3. Most Testers Do Not Make A Lot Of Money, However Some Do
Generally speaking, game testers are paid extremely low wages frequently ranging from 9-12 dollars an hour. Additionally, the hours on some projects can extremely long totally upwards of 60-80 hours per week. Often, this translates to payments of overtime and double overtime. In combination with the low pay and the hours, many testers are also hired on a per project, temporary basis, which will significantly limit their earning potential. This means that despite their performance, game testers may spend many weeks off between jobs.
It should be noted, that it is possible to make a decent amount of money as a Video Game Tester, however you must understand that there will be long hours and may be months between assignments and pay.
4. Hardcore Gamers Do Not Make The Best Testers
The core job of a game tester will be to find and re-create specific types of bugs and a familiarity with a wide variety of game genres will assist the tester in this. Some of the best testers have never even played a video game.
Often, beginning gamers see things differently than experienced games or designers and find new bugs that a true gamer would never find. Additionally, hardcore gamers often do not focus on the little bugs, but rather the performance of the game or their expectations that the game perform a particular way. Ideal traits of a game tester are a strong work ethic, a great social ability with others, clear spoken and written communication skills, patience and a meticulous attention to detail. As a gamer should you embark on game testing you may begin to see bugs in all the games you play!
5. Most Video Game Testers Are Very Social and Easy To Work With
Most gamers are not your stereotypical gaming nerd with disheveled clothing, no personality and whatever liquid stimulant they can find piled on their computer desk.
As in any profession, however some video game testers do fit the stereotype, however they do not last in the profession for long. This is because the success of a tester depends on solid communication skills with your team. Many bugs in the profession are very difficult for one person to solve, therefore, the tester must discuss it with his teammates and discover the bug. Additionally it will be necessary to speak with the other members in order to effectively test plans to solve the bugs.
Then there are the long hours working in very small areas where your testing team becomes your friends and family. Day in and day out working 13 to 14 hour shifts are bound to elicit communication. As a result of your long hours, testers often loose touch with friends who don't understand the commitment, however gain many on the testing floor.
6. Video Game Testing Is A Lot Of Fun
Testing like most highly sought after jobs falls way short of most people's expectations because it is a job. However testing is a job that is a lot of fun for the right person. Sure there are long hours, but the environment is casual and you are surrounded by people with common interests. What better way to spend a break then by playing the newest 8 player game, or having tournaments with some title that is never released or just enjoying your new friends.
As discussed throughout, the testing job can also be a very valuable and rewarding experience for those who take pleasure in the investigation and the breakdown of video games in order to determine how they function. If you love video games, enjoy solving puzzles, can work long hours and prefer the casual environment, video game testing may be a great entry level profession for you.