Video game testers look for "bugs" and test each and every aspect of a
game to make sure it's functioning as it should. Testers have to master the
game from beginning to end, play it all the way through several times and
record everything they find.
The video game industry is almost always in flux -- new games and new technology
keep driving it to new heights. The revenue of the gaming industry is actually
three times higher than the entire Hollywood movie industry, says France Cusson,
a video game industry expert and owner of a video game specialty company.
"Larger companies continue to gobble up the smaller developers and publishers,"
says Mark Robichek, president of a video game company.
Software testers working on new products not ready for public release are
sometimes known as "beta" testers. The programs -- such as a hot new video
game -- go through beta testing before being finalized and marketed.
In many cases, taking a job as a video game tester can be a stepping-stone
to other positions in the industry -- product manager, assistant producer
"It's a great way to get your feet wet in the games industry without being
a programmer or an artist. It's an ideal job if you're still in college and
working on a computer science degree and hope to work in the games industry
later," says tester Matt Schneider.
The most important requirement for being a tester is to be an avid game
player. Testers should also possess:
Being a video game tester is fun, but it's also hard work. Sometimes testers
work on a game well over eight hours a day for three to four months or even
longer. They often don't get to choose the games they test.
Games in their beta or test version often crash, have choppy soundtracks
and are full of bugs.
Because testers work on video games for months at a time, sometimes they
lose their ability to enjoy just playing a game. They're always in "test"
mode -- analyzing the game for problems. And working eight to 12 hours a day
for months on end is tough.
Find the flaws in the fun and games