In the past, I have shared a list of websites that pay you to play games online, but today I am going to talk about making money as a video game tester.
Considering the popularity they enjoy, you are very likely to have some video games at home, and may even be addicted to playing one of the most popular games like Halo, Final Fantasy, Wii Fit, Grand Theft Auto, SSX, and Metroid. (by the way, if you have too many of them and are wanting to sell them, read best places to sell video games for cash).
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There are thousands of video games available in today’s market, and it is estimated that more than forty percent of the households in the US have video consoles.
Designing and production of video games is a long process, and no new game gets released in the market before it has been tested thoroughly to eliminate all errors and bugs. This is almost like market research and those paid surveys where you get paid to share your opinion about products before they are released to the market.
The people who test video games before they are launched are known as video game testers. It is the responsibility of the tester to ensure that consumers are provided with a product precisely conforming to the standards established by game developers.
If you like the idea of making money as a video game tester, here are some things you should know.
What’s the job of a Game Tester?
The job of a video game tester is to find if there are any flaws in the video game before it is released commercially. They get paid for reporting the flaws to the manufacturer within a specified period of time that is usually seventy hours for one game. So, anyone addicted to video games will love working as a game tester.
From the manufacturers’ point of view, it is critical to ensure the quality of their products, and the only sure way of doing that is to thoroughly test any new game before its launch.
It is easy to understand that video game with any kind of error will irritate customers and thus bring a bad name to the manufacturer, affecting their business adversely.
Some of the features that testers need to inspect are:
- localization and beta
- regression load
- locating faults that may cause crashing of console, freezing of games, erasing of programs or distort visuals.
The tester has to play the game to identify flaws and shortcomings.
The process of testing is not fun as many may expect it to be. Once a tester has identified a problem, the same must be brought to the notice of the designer of the game in writing for fixing it up.
Before submitting report to the designer, the tester may need to keep playing the same game or same part of the game for 8-10 hours a day. You’ll agree repetition is the most grueling part of any job.
What takes the fun out of this testing of games is that often you are not likely to get a game of your liking for testing. For example, you may be a fan of Guitar Hero but may be asked to test problems occurring in the latest edition of a Hannah Montana game.
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As a tester of video games, you must remember that you are at work that allows you to play video games and get paid for it. Getting tired due to monotony of your job and having sore eyes is an essential part of this job. Although, at times you may be lucky and get paid for testing one of your favorite games like Ninja Gaiden or Mario Kart!
The testers are not required to have any formal education in any specific field, though formal education in computer science helps. However, it is important that the testers be aware of the latest technology for being competitive. It is not surprising that majority of video game testers gain experience by playing video games on computer, Playstation, iPhone and other portable devices that are popular these days.
How do you become a Video Game Tester?
Manufacturers of video game like Namco, EA Sports, Sega, Playstation, Capcom, Sony, Konami, and Apple too have jobs for video games testers.
Since testers are required for each game on every gaming console, there are plenty of jobs available. However, the tester needs to have the ability of handling controllers and playing games with the intent of finding flaws and point out flaws in writing. Many prefer going to video games testing school to be proficient in their job.
Most testers are employed on contract basis. If you can frequently point out and fix flaws, you may get a full time job.
Here are a few companies offering video game testing jobs:
Volt, an industry leader in video game testing, is often looking for enthusiastic gamers who can find the flaws in their forthcoming new games ready for release.
They may ask you to test a few games every month.
On working as a game tester with Nintendo, you get an opportunity of testing software, identifying programming problems, assessing the product for providing guidelines and recording of quality assurance tests.
The company hires games testers as temporary workers and only from the Southern California area as they need to work from the company’s headquarters in Irvine, California.
How much money can you make?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average wages of a full-time video game tester in the region of $50,000/year, though the wages of a fresh entrant are quite low.
The earnings of a game tester may vary from just $10 /hour and go up to $100 per hour or $18,000 to $80,000/annum. The average earning comes to about $49,000 per annum.
For many game testers the most valued part is to see their name appearing in the credits of the game.
A few tips
Here are a few tips to help you get that dream job.
If you are keen to work as a game tester, it is imperative for you to be in cities that have games manufacturer. Reports from Houston Chronicle suggest that major cities like Los Angeles, New York and Seattle offer maximum opportunities for working as a game tester.
Generally, manufacturers do not allow testers to work from home. That’s why one needs to be living in close proximity to the manufacturer of games.
Learn to speak the language
When looking to work as a game tester, you need to sharpen your skills as a video game player.
Game developers look for people who are passionate and talented about games.
You should get familiar with gaming terminology and trends. You may even want to start a blog on this topic or join a social media network focused on gaming.
If you are already an expert of certain types of games, try some new games.
It will be helpful for you to learn how to write a test report, be aware of the ongoing trends of video games, and accept to work as an interne at one of the gaming companies. Including all such things and experiences in your resume helps in getting a better job.
Get practical training
Generally, employers do not insist the game testers to have a degree for entry level jobs. Yet, it helps qualifying for a degree in software development, computer programming or graphic design.
On gaining some experience, game testers with degree in a related field can expect getting promoted and having a career in this industry.
Have you ever been paid for testing video games? Do you work in the industry? Would you do it if you were offered a job?
Share your comments and feedback about video game testing as a job, by leaving a comment below.