Earning cash by playing games? Count me in!
A career in video game testing may seem something of a fantasy realm. Just think about it. You are getting paid for playing all the newest games. Sounds lovely. But is mere playing enough? Are there no particular skills required? False and false again. The job is about hard work, way less fun than expected, patience and determination. Are you still looking for such a career? Here’s how to start and to be great with it.
Lets deal with the ‘what is it’ of game testing. Video game testing is an important part of any game development life cycle. You are to begin with your job while the game is still being developed (no fun killing mobs when all is done just for the sake of it). We are talking about the ‘alpha’ versions or even earlier ones. And after you’ve been through every single level for like a dozen times you are to make a last walkthrough when the game is ready. Some times more than one last walkthrough. You have the game under test to find its bugs, mistakes, defects, experiences that may seem turning off to end users.
The job is quite hard and involves quite a lot of planning, sometimes coding, it is to be treated seriously regardless of the word ‘game’ in it. You are to be able of thinking outside the box, attentive, critical to all the amazing stuff you are seeing and to remain focused on what’s on the screen rather than enjoying it all.
How to start and be the best?
- Skills in both computers and gaming are curtail. You are to master those and keep self-educating until the very day you retire. You are to be into programming as well as understanding both software and hardware elements to be the best. Plus there are gaming skills. You are to be interested and to constantly learn about new games and all variations of new ones.
- Pay attention. Attention to details is what makes a game tester really great at what he does. If a game bores you after a few hours of game play or you are simply becoming unfocused and are losing attention then game testing is not a job for you to do. Get trained. There are dozens of ‘beta’ releases studios are launching to get user feedback. They are often using outsourcing services for such goals as well as actual users. Try mastering your skills with them.
- No bug shall dare escaping your sight. Just finding a bug is not enough. You are to find it in an appropriate way. In a place easy to track, with appropriate reporting. Remember the ‘beta’ you were practicing with? Make a good bug report, send it to the developing studio, and get employed after a while.
- Make them understand you. Soft skills are a major part of this profession. You are to be great with both speaking and writing. The report you are making has to be easily understood and tracked down.
Remember, there are no such magical places where you are getting paid just for playing games. This will be a hard job with very few of both financial as well as emotional rewards. Thus be prepared to overcome difficulties in order to become a member of the team, which created the new Assassins Creed or Far Cry.