What is it?
So, you saw the movie Grandma’s Boy and thought, “Can I really play computer/console games, and get paid for it?”. Or maybe you didn’t see the movie, but still think this might be a cool idea. Many of us play games every day, either on our computer, or on some form of console. This is regarded as a hobby, but some people are able to do it for a living.
>> Become a Game Tester Today! << (affiliate link)
Why would someone pay money for this?
The process of creating a new big game is long and complicated. A lot of different factors need to add up, and it’s almost impossible to get everything right on the first try. The amount of code and effort that’s required is huge. This means that mistakes are a part of the process, and they need to be fixed. The game might run as intended for the most part, but these small errors can show up as tiny bugs or glitches somewhere. Because the developers can’t be aware of all these issues, they need someone to find it for them, so it can be sorted. This is where game testers come in. Their job is to make sure that every aspect of the game works as intended, by finding unwanted glitches and bugs.
If it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?
We already discussed how complicated the process of bringing a new game into existence can be. Part of having beta testing jobs, might be to repeatedly go through a small portion of the game. Some perceive this as tiresome, because it can take some time to find what’s needed. Another challenge of this job, is having to play for many hours straight in some cases. For example, if the developer team needs certain information to complete a deadline. Oftentimes, the initial compensation isn’t very great, but increases over time.
What are the different tasks performed as a tester?
There are various positions in this department, and it also depends on several other factors, like current state of the product, or how far the development has progressed. But some of the typical assignments might look like this:
– Making certain the interface is user friendly and easy to interact with
– Checking to see that the available actions are relevant and logical
– Verifying that mechanics and gameplay is working as intended
– Attempting to run software with different controllers and software settings
– Confirming that no decided guidelines or rules are broken
– Leaving the game running in different stages without interaction, to measure certain defects
What happens when a bug is detected?
The problem needs to be examined thoroughly, and a report is written. This text is important for developers, in order for them to identify and resolve it. The report should contain information about how to recreate the bug and how it shows up in the first place. Maybe now you can imagine how this could take a lot of time to accomplish. But there are certain software-tools used to help in this process, called “Defect Tracking System” or “Bug Tracking System”. This is then sent to the developer team for further analysis. If they decide something needs to be done about the problem, and it is resolved, the tester might once again get to assess the issue, to make certain it has been cleared up.
What are the requirements to work in this field?
This depends on the desired position, among other factors. Certain situations requires a deeper technical knowledge about how the software operates. In these cases, the employer might need someone with a higher education, such as computer science. But this is not in any way a prerequisite for beta testing jobs. In fact, often times the only thing required, is successful completion of high school. If, after some time pursuing this career, one wishes to move on, it is possible to use this experience as a reference for employment and qualification, in application of other positions in the gaming industry. It is generally beneficial to have previous experience of gaming. This is because every part of the product needs to be examined, which requires a varying degree of skill from the player. In order to analyze the more difficult levels, a higher level of skill might be needed to complete the task.
Who is this work suitable for?
Like all other endeavors, it has a great deal to do with personal interests. We all have different opinions and values, so individuals who dislike playing computer/console games, might prefer an occupation that is more in line with their own passions. However, for those who are enthusiastic about this subject, it can be an opportunity to earn money from a task that is similar to what they do for fun in their free time. Oftentimes, the game that needs testing has not yet been released to the public, which is like a nice bonus, to try it out before everyone else, and get paid for it. Another great thing, is the possibility to work from home, without having to rush through breakfast and run to the bus, just to make it in time. Instead, one can just sit down in the couch/chair and start up the computer. Some companies do require the work to be performed in their own locales though. Many assignments in this business are part-time, which could be beneficial for students, or someone who just wants to add a bit extra to their income. There are several other ways to get money from playing games as well.
Altogether, if this is something you’re interested in, it might be worth giving it a shot. Beta testing jobs can also be a great way to access other jobs within the industry, as a means to an end. Or maybe you just want some extra cash from the comfort of your own home. Whatever the reason, it is only we ourselves who can decide how to spend our time, and what we like doing. Working with something we enjoy, can make a great difference.
If you are interested, or want to know more:
Betalize is a site where projects are submitted, and testers compete for prizes
crowdsourcedtesting is another great place to find freelance work in this field
Gaming Jobs Online (affiliate link) I have not tried this out myself, but looks like a great resource