Has embedded itself as one of the most important cycles in video game design, and for good reason. The video game community can be very volatile and just a few game breaking bugs or even a single one can tarnish the tittles reputation and could potentially make it a financial failure. Nowadays many customers turn to review outlets before making a purchase to see if their money is well spent.
Information and reviews have become more readily available thanks to the growing industry and the internet, There is also more choices which translate to more competition for the publishers/devs side. As consumers our expectation for a smooth quality playing experience from double to triple-A titles over the years has increased, one can easily see the problems game breaking bugs can cause and how video game testing is more important than ever and is no longer optional.
Whats It Like to be a Video Game Tester?
The Primary roles of game testers is to basically brake the game in anyway possible, how do they do this? Testing, testing, and months of eye straining, stiff thumb inducing testing… The typical game testing cycle would involve playing through the game not in a traditional way a gamer would, but with a mindset of trying to break the game. Example: They would run into every wall from every possible angle, Jump over obstacles from every possible angle, run into enemies from every angle possible. This would have to be repeated in every room, environment and object in the game dozens of times over, one can get a general idea from this.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are various types of testers, some are more involved with the developers so their tasks and responsibilities vary. For simplicities sake I’ll divide them into two groups: The first group are the testers hired by the development team and the others by the publishers. The ones hired by the devs usually work on site with the rest of the team together and aren’t contracted or seasonal testers. The testers hired on the publishers side through third party agencies or their own adverts are the ones doing their tasks at home, which may be out of state or a different country.
A Day in The Life of a Video Game Tester
- show up to work on time or wake up if you’re at home, check email since most of the communication is done this way
- Check for any new instructions from the QA lead or bug data base to see which bugs have been fixed or if a new build is ready for testing
- follow QA Lead instructions or newly assigned tasks
- once in the testing phase, take note of any new bugs encounter and verify if past bugs have been fixed.
- Once instructions are completed and new ones aren’t assigned play the game like it’s meant to be played until the testing cycle is over or new instructions are given by lead
It’s important to have very good written and oral communication skills since reports will have to be written and submitted regularly, tagging the severity of bugs is one example, suggestion improvements and feedback to the dev team is also important. Generic is bad be specific.
Video Game Tester Average Pay/Salary
This discipline is one of the lowest paying in the industry and offers little to no benefits depending on the type of tester. it’s really a shame since they are such a vital part of the development cycle. The workload and payout is the reason why there’s such a high turn over rate and it’s usually used as a stepping stone into more lucrative disciplines in this industry.
A testing cycle can last between three to six months and 40-50 hour work week on crunch (close to deadline) time this can extend up to 70 hours a week, the pay for entry level testers is 9-11 dollars an hour. More experienced testers earn more.
Video game testing is by far the easiest way to enter this industry. Quite a few game designers, artist, programmers and a slew of others started this way, one can start with only a high school diploma and if they can stand the repetitiveness and close to minimum wage-pay of this job they’ll be in high demand by publishers and devs. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and a great stepping-stone career path.
We all love to play games but do you know how much effort it takes to make one? Check out our other articles on video game design, game programming and video game tester.