Take a Peek in Video Game Tester Career
For individuals with the right set of skills, experience and abilities, a video game tester career can be rewarding, exciting and, depending on the status and reputation one builds, quite lucrative. Here is a look at this promising career:
What is a Beta Game Tester?
A video game tester is an individual whose work involves about testing and playing video games and related functions in order to find bugs, errors and other glitches in a game. He or she may be hired to test a video game under development. The manufacturer or designer of the game often hires testers to help identify areas or levels in a game that may result to errors and problems when launched and played. This is done in order to avoid complaints from players after the game hits the market. When games are untested and bugs and errors remain in a game after they are sold to gamers, the manufacturers of the game will face negative reviews and risk losing their customers. There is also the possibility of facing costly recalls and time-consuming redesigns of the game. When games are played and reviewed by beta game testers, there is less probability that errors will make it through upon release.
Must-Have Qualities of a Video Game Tester
A video game tester career is a good option for someone who is analytical, methodical, has strong logical and reasoning skills and has excellent attention to details. He or she must also have laser-sharp focus, excellent eye-hand coordination, a lot of patience and is capable of critical thinking. Since beta game testers often work with programmers, game designers and other testers, it is also important that they are team players who can get along with other workers.
There is very little that video game manufacturers demand from video game testers in terms of qualifications. However, it is important that the game tester has a strong interest in playing games. In some cases, having a background or experience playing video games can be an advantage, especially for testers who wish to find a job with some of the industry’s biggest and most popular video game producers. Game testers who wish to work with programmers and provide input beyond reviewing the games may also consider taking a course in computer science, fine arts or animation. Some understanding of computer software and hardware will also come in handy, especially for testing complicated games and higher levels.
Video Game Tester Salary: How Much Can You Make?
Newbies typically do not earn a lot during the first few years testing games, pulling in a minimum of about $18000 a year at most. Over time and with experience, they can earn as much as $80000 a year. Some individuals may be hired as contractual employees, earning as little as $350 a week or $1000 a month with regular work. This could go up to $2000 a week or $8500 a month, depending on his or her skills and experience. Benefits-wise, contractual employees rarely receive anything beyond their salary. If they become regular employees, however, they can enjoy a number of benefits, such as paid vacation and/or sick leaves, medical, etc.
Video Game Tester Job Search
Manufacturers often put out beta game testers wanted ads in industry publications or job sites. Very often, however, testers are hired off the streets or gaming events. Some gamers who have built a reputation may even be approached for a job. Video game tester job openings are highly in demand and quite competitive, especially if the advertiser is a big name in the industry and the video game in question is highly anticipated.
What to Expect
Many individuals make the mistake of thinking that a beta game tester career is easy. In a sense, it can be, considering that one will generally spend his or her workday playing games. However, as a tester, you will be required to play games for hours at a time and a certain amount of expectation is set by the manufacturers. A tester, after all, is there in order to observe and make a diagnosis of the game.
At entry level, a video game tester usually starts out with hardware testing and downloading responsibilities, so it can be menial for many. Many of the games that testers will play are alpha versions, so they may not appear polished. In a lot of cases, a tester will be asked to play a single level again and again to test it for any bugs. The type of job a tester will do at this stage will be paid accordingly, so expect to earn a salary that’s around the current minimum wage. However, for those who stay in the industry, a beta game tester career can lead to more responsibilities. Today’s top testers are paid a premium for their skills, with many of them making about $100 an hour or even more.
Some manufacturers prefer testers to work at their offices. Others, however, may allow gamers to test their products remotely. In this regard, playing and testing games may be a good work from home career option. Someone looking for a promising Microsoft career, EA Games career or Activision career may consider becoming a tester as an entry-level position. To avoid piracy and copyright issues, manufacturers will also require testers to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect their products.
Expanding Your Career Options
Just like Xbox 360 beta testers most gamers see a video game tester career as a stepping stone to another career, so many of them eventually become programmers, producers and game designers. As a skilled and experienced beta game tester, you can expect to have access to a number of well-paying jobs career wise. However, for those who wish to expand their career options and maximize their computer and programming skills, taking courses in computer science, computer programming, fine arts and/or animation will be helpful for getting a start in a video game designer career.