Making money testing video games

It’s the dream job for anyone who likes playing video games: being paid to play. There are people out there, a lot of people in fact, who’s sole job is to play and test video games for a living. In fact, every company that produces games must have testers to find out bugs before the game gets released. The large companies, like EA or Ubisoft, employ thousands of game testers. If you’re a gamer, it’s a dream that could become reality if you keep a couple of important things in mind, and know where to look.

First, it’s important to mention that being a game tester, or a Quality Assurance Technician, as it’s more often called in the industry, is not all fun and games. It’s a real job, requiring you to do real work. Playing a game once is fun, but a tester has to play the same game for months, often going over the same level thousands of times, trying to find every little bug they can spot. Also, gaming jobs are notorious for their long hours. Typically, a gaming company will have rush periods every year, which is often before the Holidays, where workers are expected to work many hours, sometimes weekends, over many months. Then, during other periods, there’s very little to do, and you may work fewer hours. Finally, while a tester is paid more than the minimum salary, they still aren’t paid that much. You aren’t a developer when you test games, and as such you aren’t paid as much.

That said, it is a very fun thing to do. You spend most of your time in front of a game console, with a controller in your hands. To become a game tester, you really don’t need much background. You often don’t even need a college diploma. What you do need is a passion for games, and a good attention span. When you test, you need to spot anything that shouldn’t be there. This can include animations that don’t look right, textures not applied correctly, crashes if the user does something unexpected, and so on. Often, the job also includes other connected duties, such as using debugging tools to help developers pin point problems, and a word processor to type in reports and summaries of things that were found. Many companies also have specialized testers who handle certification processes with the console makers and publishers, and as such you may need to be in contact with other people constantly.

Overall, being a game tester is a lot of fun, and it’s an easy way to earn money, especially if you like games. While there are caveats, most game testers love their jobs. If that’s something for you, then the best way to get in as a game tester is to know game developers at a company, and ask whether you can apply. Otherwise, you can look at postings on company web sites, but it’s a lot easier to get in through someone you know.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply