There is a lot of mis-information out there on the web about the job role of a games tester, and how to become a games tester. After doing the job for 2 years, I have learnt a lot, so thought I would write a post about some of the major myths that I have heard and experienced along the way.
Myth: “Playing video games for leisure, and playing video games as a tester are the same thing”
Fact: Many people think that the life of a game tester is just about chilling out in front of the TV playing your favourite game. You will not be playing the game in the same way when testing it, as you would when playing for leisure at home. Instead of going through the game naturally, you will have to repetitively play certain areas of the game for many hours. You will also have to be taking notes, and regularly filling out reports.
Myth: “Publishers will send me the latest games before they are released, so I can play them at home”
Fact: Piracy is a growing problem in the video games industry. You will rarely be allowed valuable copies of games in case you leaked them. Only QA testing supervisors can sign out games. In many cases, to be a video game tester, you will still have to go into the office to carry out your work. It’s unusual to work from home – although you can pick up gigs where this happens. If you are serious about entering the industry, then be prepared to work in the office.
Myth: “Anyone can be a video game tester, it doesn’t require any skill”
Fact: To become a video game tester you will need to have a particular set of skills, including good levels of concentration, an analytical mind, a good eye for details, and good report writing skills. You will need to be able to communicate with others, and conduct yourself professionally. You do not need any formal qualifications, but you do need to have a passion for games and the ability to motivate yourself and apply yourself.
Myth: “You can earn thousands of dollars per week as a video game tester”
Fact: Unfortunately, as a lowly QA tester, you will be on a relatively mediocre wage, perhaps in the $15 per hour region depending on experience and the employer. To earn more, you will have to work your way up. When you get to my level (2 years experience) you can comman around $30 per hour.
Myth: “Being a video game tester is boring”
Fact: I have tried to give a clear and unbiased guide on the job, but I still have to say that it’s the most enjoyable job I have ever had. If you really do have a passion for gaming, then you will not regret pursuing a career as a video game tester.
Myth: “Being a video game tester is a dead end job”
Fact: Couldn’t be further from the truth the games industry is growing each year, meaning that opportunities are growing with it. Becoming a video games tester is a great way to get a foot in the door. You could move on to more senior QA testing roles, or move to a completely different department such as games design, or marketing.
Hope you found that helpful guys, comment if you can think of any others!