Video Game Tester: Fun for some but not for all
There aren’t too terribly many people out there (at least knows that absolutely love video games) that wouldn’t leap at the opportunity to get paid to do nothing more than test out their favorite videogame titles before they are released to the general public!
This is the life of a professional game tester, and while it seems like an absolute dream job to those outside of the industry (as well as those that have just gotten started), it can become a nightmare for those that don’t enter into this position with both eyes open.
So before you jump headfirst into this kind of career without knowing exactly what is going on (like Mario would have with those funny little green tubes), take a little bit of time to check out this breakdown of a professional game tester below!
Uncover the truth about becoming a professional video game tester
Every single major (and most of the minor) videogame development companies out there employs armies of professional game testers.
These experts are literally paid to sit around and play the world’s greatest video games (from start to finish), specifically looking for ways to break the game – which is going to require a lot of testing. Their job is to find any and all bugs or issues that need to be worked out of the gain before it goes live, while also providing real feedback to the development team so that they can streamline and improve the overall gaming experience.
We know – it sounds like the greatest thing that ever happened to someone looking for employment. However, there’s also a bit of a dark side to the life of a game tester.
You see, game testers are going to be under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure to not only discover absolutely EVERYTHING that’s wrong with a particular title before launch, but also to come up with proactive ideas and solutions for the development team to put into play to solve those same problems.
It definitely isn’t all sunshine and roses – but it’s not exactly digging ditches, either.
First and foremost, you are going to get paid to play video games! For most people in the gaming world, that is more than enough of a benefit to deal with any negatives that might be saddled with this career.
However, there are a number of other benefits that you are going to be able to enjoy, including (but definitely not limited to):
- The fact that you won’t require any specialized skills, education, aptitude, or ability outside of being a pretty passionate gamer.
- That you get the chance to play AAA titles well before the rest of the world (sometimes as much as a couple of years in advance)…
… And you get to see them change, adapt, and grow throughout the development cycle – letting you in on content that was left on the “cutting room floor”
Really gives you the chance to see “how the sausage is made” as far as video games are concerned, giving you an inside fast track to a career on the other side of the development fence if you want to pursue it
And so much more!
Just getting the chance to meet the developers behind all of your favorite videogame titles, to kick back, relax, and play video games all day without someone telling you to get a job (after all, this IS your job), and then helping to make the games that you are testing even better is enough of a reward for most people to jump on board immediately.
On top of that, you’re going to be able to develop real-world skills in the videogame development arena that could transform your financial future forever – especially if you one day decide to become a developer yourself!
Unfortunately, becoming a game tester definitely involves a couple of “strings” that are very much attached.
For one, you’re going to have to play the exact same videogame over and over and over AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again – sometimes hundreds and hundreds of times through. Obviously, the first couple of times you play even your most favorite feel game things are still pretty exciting, but around the 50th or 60th time that you keep bumping into the same challenges, the same obstacles, and the same mission layout you’ll begin to notice that it isn’t quite as fun as you remember.
Also, the pay isn’t exactly the greatest thing in the world. After all, most employers recognize that the most passionate and highly productive game testers are those that are fully a murder stand involved in the videogame community and would receive a paycheck for next to nothing just to get a crack at this opportunity. At $10 per hour, it is nothing much to shout about.
You’re also going to have to deal with sleep deprivation issues, crushing deadlines, and a responsibility to your development team that you may or may not be 100% comfortable with.
Most video game testers are also hired on a project to project basis (without any real job security), which makes you little more than a glorified contractor.
Not exactly the position that everyone wants to find themselves in.
At the end of the day, you’re going to really need to decide whether or not becoming a video game tester is right for you – or if it is a bit of a pipe dream career that you know you are better off walking away from.
Obviously, only you will be able to make this kind of decision, but it’s not something that you can afford to take lightly. Don’t let your love and passion for video games (or to the allure of playing video games all day while getting paid for it) to blind you from the very real drawbacks and downsides to this position.
However, at the exact same time, don’t let those negatives or drawbacks keep you from following your passion if this is really it. You’ll probably have a good idea as to whether or not you are supposed to be a game tester, and you’ll probably know for sure your first day on the job! If it doesn’t work out for you, selling and trading virtual items are a norm these days.
See also: Make serious money playing video games