How Much Do Video Game Testers Make?

Welcome to the fascinating world of a game tester! Apart from the main attraction, i.e., playing games all day, another thing to love about this field is the money. The ability of turning your passion into a career is a golden opportunity not offered to many. 

Obviously, if you’ve ever thought about becoming a professional game tester then, you might be wondering how much money you can make. I wondered the same, so I went online and checked accurate stats, here’s what I found out.

How much do video game testers make? According to Glassdoor, a game tester makes an average of $56,369 per year. However, this may fluctuate on the basis of experience, location and many other factors. So, a professional game tester can expect anything between $30k – $70k per year, all the while still having the time of their lives, of course.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about game tester earnings, from entry-level to experienced pros. There are many factors that affect a game tester’s salary, such as working in big firms such as Ubisoft, Activision, CD Projekt Red (I hear they need game testers by the dozens), etc or a small indie firm. 

Moreover, your experience, skills, and position also influence your annual salary.

Without further ado, let’s begin! 

What Components Make Up A Game Tester’s Salary? 

A game tester’s total earnings can be broken down into various components that, when combined, make up a delightful and lucrative package. So, this means that on top of a base pay, there are some incentives as well.

What are these, and how do they affect a test gamer’s salary, let’s take a closer look:

Base Salary

The base salary is like the main dish of a hearty meal.

Wherever you decide to work, you’ll be offered a basic salary. This will be determined by various factors like your education, relevant experience, geographic location, employer size and reputation. 

All these can have a direct influence on how much cash you’ll be pocketing. So, make sure that you’re actively investing your time in these areas. 

Overtime Pay

Crunch time is no stranger to the gaming industry, and game testers often work extra hours to meet deadlines. Overtime pay can be a scrumptious dessert that sweetens your overall earnings, calculated based on your country and employment contract. And everyone has a special place for dessert, don’t they? 

Bonuses And Incentives

Whenever employees hear the word “bonus” a big, toothy smile spreads across their faces, doesn’t it? And rightfully so! Who doesn’t love a big boost every once in a while? 

There are different types of bonuses; performance-based bonuses, profit-sharing arrangements, and sign-on or retention bonuses. So, make sure that you choose a company that can offer you incentives and help you become a more dedicated expert game tester. 


While not actual cash, benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and professional development opportunities are essential ingredients in the recipe of a well-rounded compensation package.


Location matters! 

If you’re based in the US/UK, you’re bound to get more opportunities than in a third-world nation. Even though the internet has made remote-working possible, regional salary differences can have a significant impact on your earnings as a game tester.

What Are The Salaries For Entry-Level Game Testers? 

New to the game-testing scene? Fear not, as entry-level positions are where most testers begin their journey, learning the ins and outs of detecting pesky bugs and glitches. 

Factors Influencing Starting Salaries

Your initial earnings will depend on factors like your education, certifications, internships or work experience, the type and size of your employer. 

Typical Entry-Level Salary Ranges

On average, entry-level game testers can expect to earn between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. But remember, this range can vary based on the factors we mentioned earlier.

Job Search Strategies For Entry-Level Game Testers

As an aspiring game tester, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the gaming industry’s job market, identify popular job boards, and tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills and experiences.

How Much Does An Experienced Game Tester Earn? 

As you accumulate experience and level up in the game-testing realm, your salary will likely follow suit. But how much can you expect to earn as a battle-hardened pro?

Factors Influencing Salary Growth

It’s normal to expect a salary raise after working with any company for at least a year.

However, salary growth depends on factors like years of experience, skill development, specialization, and how big of a player your employer is in the gaming industry. 

Typical Salary Ranges For Experienced Game Testers

With experience under your belt, you can expect to earn anywhere from $45,000 to $70,000 per year, depending on your expertise and the factors that are discussed above. 

Strategies For Career Advancement And Salary Growth

Developing a long-term career plan, setting goals, and seeking mentorship from seasoned professionals can help you advance your career. It’s good to be ambitious if you want to boost your earnings as an experienced game tester.

Can You Work As A Freelance Game Tester? 

If you’re a fan of flexibility and variety, freelance game testing might be right up your alley. This path allows you to work on multiple projects and set your schedule. So, you don’t have to work in a specific time slot, you’re your own boss! 

Factors Influencing Freelance Earnings

Your earnings as a freelance game tester will depend on multiple elements. 

For instance, your project rates and negotiations play an important role in landing you a potential client. Moreover, your client base and ratings also help in this process. So, if you’ve a good reputation, you can expect better job proposals. 

Lastly, your networking and marketing efforts are incredibly important in the freelancing business. If you’re unable to sell yourself, there’s no way you’ll be noticed by renowned gaming industries. 

Typical Hourly Rates Or Project Fees For Freelance Game Testers

Typically, freelance game testers can generally charge between $15 and $30 per hour, or negotiate a project fee based on the scope and duration of the work.

How To Build A Successful Freelance Game Testing Career?

To succeed as a freelance game tester, you’ll need to work harder. Why? Because you’re doing everything here! You’ve to market yourself, prove your worth, and keep your skill set updated to receive back-to-back proposals. 

So, develop strong communication and time-management skills. While time flexibility is the charm in freelancing business, it also feeds procrastination. If you’re unable to keep up with the deadlines, then it’d be a problem. 

The internet is incredibly saturated so you need to announce your presence constantly. For this, it’s crucial to create a professional online presence, and maintain a steady flow of projects by actively seeking new clients and opportunities.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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