Video Game Testing Positions
Over 40% of homes in the United States own video game consoles. Games like Super Mario Brothers, Halo, Wii Fit, Final Fantasy, Metroid, SSX, Grand Theft Auto, Shrek Forever After, and 1000s of others are being played for enjoyment and competition across the country. It takes a long time for these games to be designed, created, and debugged. No video game would ever make it to the store's shelf it wasn't for a video game tester.
Video game testers work with pre-released video games to find, report, and fix flaws, bugs, and errors in the game.
Every single video game is tested. Quality assurance is part of creating great games. Without testing, video games will have annoying flaws and bugs that will create unhappy customers. Testers focus on categories like compliance, functionality, compatibility, localization, soak, beta, regression load, or multiplayer to find flaws that crash gaming consoles, loop dialogue, freeze games, erase progress, or skew visuals. It is the video game testers job to play the game and find these loopholes, flaws, glitches, bugs, secrets, and problems.
During testing, the video game tester's trained eye looks for problems that gamers will face. After a tester identifies a glitch, the problem must be written up and submitted to game designers to fix. This process can be challenging and it may mean replaying the same game of 2010 FIFA World Cup for 6 to 12 hours a day in a comfortable office. Repetition is the most exhausting part of video game testing.
The hardest part of this job is that most video game testers don't get to pick the game they are testing. If you are a diehard Guitar Hero fan, it may be challenging to test for controller problems in the newest Hannah Montana game. Every tester must remember that video game testing is a job and even after long hours and sore eyes, you are still getting paid to play video games. And sometimes you live the dream, when you are paid for "testing" Mario Kart or beating Ninja Gaiden.
Most video game testers learn the trade by playing video games on iPhone, Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox, or computers. Testers must stay up to date with the newest technology to remain competitive. Earning a degree in computer science is helpful, but officially there are no formal educational requirements.
Jobs are available with video game producers like Sega, Namco, EA Sports, Playstation, Konami, Capcom, Sony, and even Apple. See the Nintendo Jobs page for an overview of their employment opportunities.
Testers are needed for every game on every gaming console so there are plenty of jobs.
Most video game testing jobs are contract based for one game. If you can repeatedly find and fix flaws you may be able to find a full-time position.
The ultimate goal is to create a flawless video game. It's harder than it sounds and it takes a professional video game tester to get it done. Check out Playstation Network's reality TV show, The Tester, to get a taste of what it takes to test.
Game Tester Pay
Testers can earn anywhere from $10 to $100 per hour or $18,000 to $80,000 per year with $49,000 as the average. For some video game testers, the best reward is seeing their name in the video game's credits.
Quick Facts About Game Testing Work
Job Title: Video Game Tester
Office: Comfortable Office
Description: Test and report flaws, bugs, errors in pre-released video games
Certifications/Education: No Formal Education Required, Degree in Computer Science Recommended
Necessary Skills: Video Game and Console Experience
Potential Employers: Video Game Development or Console Companies (Nintendo, EA Sports, Capcom, Sony)
Pay: $10 to $100 per hour, Ranges between $18,000 and $80,000 per year