Welcome, aspiring game testers! If you’re reading this, chances are you have a passion for gaming and a desire to turn that passion into a career. Well, you’ve come to the right place because in this ultimate guide, I’m going to give you all the tips, tricks, and insider knowledge you need to break into the game testing industry.
Ah, the game testing industry! Where else can you get paid to play video games all day? Well, okay, maybe it’s not quite as glamorous as it sounds. But the fact remains that game testing is a vital part of the gaming industry, and one that’s constantly evolving.
Back in the day, I was just like you – a wide-eyed gamer with dreams of making it big in the industry. I spent countless hours playing games, analyzing every detail, and imagining what it would be like to work on a development team. I did my due research and looked for ways to make a good buck while doing what I love!
In this post, I will provide a complete overview of everything you need to know about becoming a game tester, including industry trends, job opportunities, required skills, and job responsibilities. So, let’s take a deep dive into the world of game testing and see what’s up.
Game Testing Industry Overview:
Game testing is a crucial part of the game development process. It involves the identification and reporting of bugs, glitches, and other issues that may arise during gameplay. As the gaming industry continues to grow, so does the need for qualified game testers. However, many people are not familiar with what game testing entails or how to get started in the industry.
First off, what exactly is game testing? Essentially, it’s the process of playing a game before it’s released to the public in order to find and report any bugs, glitches, or other issues that could impact the player experience. Game testers are responsible for meticulously playing through the game multiple times, trying different scenarios and looking for anything that seems off.
It might seem like an easy job – after all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to test games? – but it’s actually quite demanding. While game testers do test games for money, but they need to have a keen eye for detail and a lot of patience, since they’ll often be playing the same sections of the game over and over again in order to reproduce a particular bug. And, of course, they need to be able to communicate effectively with the rest of the development team in order to report their findings.
All in all, the game testing industry is a fascinating and constantly evolving field. It might not be quite as glamorous as some might think, but it’s an important part of the gaming industry and one that shows no signs of slowing down.
So, the next time you’re playing your favorite game and everything seems to be running smoothly, just remember that there’s probably a team of dedicated testers behind the scenes making sure everything is working as it should be. And who knows – maybe one day you’ll be one of them!
Who hires game testers?
Generally speaking, it’s the game developers themselves who will have an in-house team of testers. However, there are also plenty of third-party game testing companies out there who will work with developers to provide testing services. These companies might have a team of testers who work on-site at the developer’s studio, or they might be able to provide remote testing services.
As for the state of the game testing industry as a whole, it’s actually quite healthy. With the gaming industry continuing to grow year over year, there’s plenty of demand for skilled game testers. In fact, the global game testing market is expected to reach nearly $10 billion by 2026 (Source). That’s a lot of bug reports!
Of course, like any industry, there are always new trends and developments to keep an eye on. One trend that’s been gaining traction in recent years is the use of automated testing tools. These tools are designed to simulate player behavior and automatically identify any issues that arise. While they can’t replace the human element of game testing entirely, they can certainly speed up the process and help catch more issues.
Another trend is the use of “crowdsourced” testing. This involves recruiting a large group of people – often fans of the game – to play through various sections and report any bugs or issues they encounter. While this approach can be less structured than traditional game testing, it can also be more efficient and cost-effective.
And of course, there’s always the ongoing debate around whether game testers should be paid more. While the job can be demanding and require specialized skills, many testers are still paid relatively low wages. Some argue that this is unfair given the importance of their role in ensuring a game’s success, while others point out that game testing is still an entry-level position in many cases.
Why Do Games Have Glitches If Game Testers Test Them?
Have you ever played a game and thought? Did they even bother hiring a game tester? Or tested their own product before launching? Or even glanced at the gameplay? (I’m looking at you Cyberpunk 2077).
Even with the best efforts of game testers, it’s impossible to catch every single bug and glitch that may occur in a game. Here are a few reasons why games can still have glitches even if there are game testers involved in the development process:
- Time Constraints: Game testers are often working under tight deadlines, and it’s not always possible to test every aspect of the game thoroughly. As a result, some bugs may slip through the cracks.
- Complex Interactions: Games are becoming increasingly complex, with many systems interacting with each other in ways that can be difficult to predict. Even with careful testing, it’s possible for unexpected issues to arise.
- Hardware and Software Variations: Games are played on a wide variety of hardware and software configurations, and it’s impossible for game testers to test every possible combination. As a result, some issues may only occur on certain systems.
- Limited Resources: Game testing can be a costly and time-consuming process, and not all developers have the resources to conduct extensive testing. In some cases, bugs may only be discovered after the game has been released.
- Human Error: Game testers, like everyone else, are prone to making mistakes. They may miss a bug, misunderstand a feature, or fail to identify an issue’s root cause, leading to the bug being left in the game.
Glitches and bugs can still occur even with a dedicated team of testers working on the game. The key is to continue improving testing processes and procedures to minimize the number and severity of bugs that make it into the final product.
Types of Game Testers:
There are various types of game testers, including functional testers, compatibility testers, performance testers, and user acceptance testers. Each of these roles has its specific responsibilities and required skills.
Game testing companies offer several job opportunities to aspiring game testers, including entry-level positions and senior roles. The gaming industry is highly competitive, and companies are always on the lookout for talented individuals who can help them create high-quality games.
How Can I Start My Career As A Game Tester?
Skills Required for Game Testing:
To succeed in the game testing industry, you need to possess several skills, including attention to detail, strong communication skills, analytical and critical thinking, patience and persistence, flexibility and adaptability, and gaming knowledge and experience. These skills are crucial to ensuring that games meet industry standards and regulations and are free from bugs and glitches.
If you’d like to know more about the skills you’ll need to become a game tester, then I’ve written a cracking little article that details all the skills you’ll need to succeed.
Getting Started as a Game Tester:
To get started as a video game tester, you need to understand the game development process, research game testing companies, build a strong resume and cover letter, attend gaming events and network, and apply for game tester positions. It is also essential to have a solid understanding of the gaming industry and the trends that are driving its growth.
Getting Your First Job As A Game Tester
To get a job as a video game tester, you need to find game testing job listings, craft a winning resume and cover letter, prepare for the game tester interview, and navigate the hiring process. You can find job listings on online job boards and game development company websites, staffing agencies and recruiting firms, and social media and professional networking sites.
Crafting a winning resume and cover letter involves tailoring your resume to highlight relevant skills and experience and creating a compelling cover letter that showcases your passion for gaming. Preparing for the video game tester interview involves researching the company and its games, preparing for common game tester interview questions, and bringing examples of your work and relevant experience to the interview.
Navigating the hiring process involves following up after the interview, negotiating salary and benefits, and accepting or declining the job offer.
Job Responsibilities of a Game Tester:
The primary responsibilities of a play tester include testing game functionality and usability, identifying and reporting bugs and glitches, providing feedback to the development team, and ensuring the game meets industry standards and regulations. These responsibilities require a high degree of attention to detail, strong communication skills, and gaming knowledge and experience. Here are some of the main duties of a game tester:
- Playtest and evaluate games in various stages of development
- Identify and report bugs and glitches using bug-tracking software
- Provide feedback on gameplay mechanics, level design, and overall game balance
- Test games on different platforms and hardware configurations
- Follow testing protocols and procedures to ensure consistency and accuracy
- Collaborate with game developers, designers, and other team members to identify and address issues
- Participate in testing planning and strategy sessions
- Create and maintain testing documentation and reports
- Stay up-to-date with industry trends and advancements in game testing methodologies
- Provide input on potential improvements to testing processes and procedures.
Game Testing Techniques:
There are several game testing techniques that game testers use, including functional testing, performance testing, compatibility testing, regression testing, and user acceptance testing. Each of these techniques has its specific focus and required skills. Functional testing involves testing game functionality and usability, while performance testing involves testing the game’s performance under different conditions.
Compatibility testing involves testing the game on different platforms and devices, and regression testing involves retesting the game after changes have been made. User acceptance testing involves testing the game with actual users to identify any issues that may arise during gameplay.
Tools and Software Used for Game Testing:
Game testers use several tools and software to perform their job, including bug tracking software, automated testing tools, gaming consoles and devices, and virtual reality devices. These tools and software help game testers to identify and report bugs and glitches quickly, as well as to test games under different conditions. Here are some of the tools and software commonly used by game testers:
- Bug Tracking Software: Jira, Bugzilla, Mantis, and Trello are some popular bug tracking software used to track and manage bugs found during game testing.
- Automated Testing Software: Automated testing software like Selenium, Appium, and TestComplete can be used to automate repetitive testing tasks, such as UI testing and regression testing.
- Version Control Software: Version control software like Git, Subversion, and Perforce can be used to manage and keep track of changes made to game code and assets.
- Performance Testing Tools: Tools like JMeter, LoadRunner, and Gatling can be used to measure the performance of the game, such as frame rate and load times.
- Screen Capture Software: Screen capture software like OBS, Camtasia, and Fraps can be used to capture and analyze gameplay footage and create bug reproduction steps.
- Game Controllers and Peripherals: Game testers may use a variety of game controllers and peripherals, such as keyboards, mice, and gamepads, to test game functionality across different input methods.
- Virtual Machines: Virtual machines like VirtualBox and VMWare can be used to test games on different operating systems and hardware configurations.
- Debugging Tools: Debugging tools like Visual Studio, Unity Debugger, and Xcode can be used to identify and fix code-related issues in games.
- Localization Tools: Localization tools like SDL Passolo and MemoQ can be used to test and manage game translations for different languages.
- Cloud-based Testing Tools: Cloud-based testing tools like Sauce Labs and BrowserStack can be used to test games on a wide range of devices and platforms without requiring physical hardware.
How Do I Get Started as a Game Tester?
Understanding the game development process
Before starting a career in game testing, it’s crucial to understand the game development process. You’ll need to know the different stages of game development, from concept to release, and what role game testing plays in each stage. This knowledge will help you understand what you’re testing and why you’re testing it.
Game development typically involves several stages, including concept development, pre-production, production, and post-production. During each stage, different professionals work together to create a final product. Game testers play a vital role in the final stage, which is post-production, also known as the testing phase.
Researching game testing companies
To increase your chances of getting a job as a game tester, it’s essential to research the game testing companies that interest you. Look for companies that have worked on games that you enjoy and are familiar with. You can also research the company’s culture, mission, and values to ensure they align with your own.
Building a strong resume and cover letter
Your resume and cover letter are the first impression you’ll make on potential employers. You want to make sure they stand out and showcase your skills and experience. Your resume should include any relevant education, experience, and skills that you have, such as programming knowledge, gaming experience, or experience in quality assurance. Your cover letter should be tailored to the company you’re applying for and show your passion for gaming and game testing.
Networking and attending gaming events
Networking is an essential aspect of any job search, and game testing is no exception. Attend gaming events, such as conferences, trade shows, and game launches, to meet professionals in the industry. You can also join online gaming communities and forums to connect with like-minded individuals. Networking can help you learn about job opportunities and connect with industry professionals who can vouch for your skills and experience.
Applying for game tester positions
Once you’ve researched game testing companies and built a strong resume and cover letter, it’s time to start applying for game tester positions. Look for job openings on online job boards, game development company websites, and social media and professional networking sites. You can also reach out to staffing agencies and recruiting firms that specialize in the gaming industry. Here are some places where you can get employed as a game tester:
- Game Development Companies: Game development companies, such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Activision Blizzard, are always in need of game testers to ensure the quality of their games before release. These companies often have dedicated game testing departments, so check their websites for job openings.
- Quality Assurance Firms: Quality assurance firms specialize in testing software, including games. Companies such as VMC Consulting and Pole to Win International offer game testing services to game developers and publishers.
- Independent Testing Companies: Independent testing companies, such as Testronic and Keywords Studios, provide game testing services to a variety of clients in the gaming industry. These companies often have multiple locations around the world, so check for job openings in your area.
- Localization Companies: Localization companies, such as SDL and Lionbridge, specialize in translating games and ensuring they are culturally appropriate for different markets. Game testers are often needed to ensure the quality of localized versions of games.
- Freelance Platforms: Freelance platforms, such as Upwork and Freelancer, often have game testing job openings posted by game developers and publishers looking for independent contractors. While freelance work can be less stable than full-time employment, it can be a good way to gain experience and build your portfolio.
What Are Some Must-Know Game Testing Techniques?
Game testing involves a variety of testing techniques to ensure the game is functioning properly and meets industry standards. Each type of testing serves a specific purpose and requires different skills and tools.
A. Functional testing: This is the most basic type of testing and involves ensuring that all aspects of the game work as intended. This includes testing gameplay mechanics, game menus, and user interfaces.
B. Performance testing: This type of testing is focused on the performance of the game. Testers must ensure that the game runs smoothly and doesn’t lag or crash during gameplay. They will also test the loading times and frame rates of the game.
C. Compatibility testing: Compatibility testing involves testing the game on different platforms and devices to ensure that it works as intended. Testers will test the game on different consoles, operating systems, and mobile devices.
D. Regression testing: This type of testing is done when changes are made to the game to ensure that the changes haven’t introduced any new bugs or issues. Regression testing is an ongoing process throughout the development of the game.
E. User acceptance testing: User acceptance testing is performed to ensure that the game meets the expectations of the end-users. Testers will test the game from a user’s perspective and ensure that it’s intuitive and easy to use.
How Do I Advance My Career in Game Testing?
Game testing is an essential aspect of game development that ensures the quality of a game before its release. A career in game testing can be rewarding and exciting, but it can also be challenging.
The Importance of Game Testing
Before diving into the tips and advice, it’s essential to understand the importance of game testing. Game testing ensures that the game is free of bugs and glitches and that it’s functioning as it should be. Game testers are responsible for finding and reporting any issues with the game, including game mechanics, graphics, sound, and more. Without game testing, games could be released with severe issues that could negatively impact the player’s experience.
Game Testing Qualifications
Game testing requires specific skills and qualifications. It’s important to have a passion for video games and a keen eye for detail. Game testers should also be familiar with different game genres and platforms, including PC, console, and mobile devices. Additionally, game testers should have strong analytical skills to identify issues and provide feedback to the development team.
To advance your career in game testing, it’s essential to have a background in computer science, game development, or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field can give you a competitive advantage when applying for game testing positions. However, it’s not the only requirement. Practical experience in game testing is also critical. Participating in game testing projects, volunteering for game testing positions, and taking courses in game testing can all help to build your experience and expertise.
Tips for Advancing Your Career in Game Testing
Advancing your career in game testing is an important aspect of growing as a professional in the industry. The more experience and knowledge you acquire, the more likely you are to progress to higher levels of responsibility and recognition. Here are some helpful tips to advance your career as a game tester.
Build Your Game Testing Skills
To advance your career in game testing, it’s important to build your game testing skills. This can be achieved through participating in game testing projects, volunteering for game testing positions, and taking courses in game testing. Building your skills will give you a competitive edge when applying for game testing positions and can help you stand out from other candidates.
Network with Game Developers
Networking with game developers can help you advance your career in game testing. Attending industry events, such as game development conferences and job fairs, can provide opportunities to meet and connect with game developers. Building relationships with game developers can lead to job opportunities and help you gain a better understanding of the game development industry.
Stay Up-to-Date with Industry Trends
Staying up-to-date with industry trends is essential in any field, including game testing. The gaming industry is constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay informed about new technologies, trends, and developments. Reading industry blogs, following industry leaders on social media, and attending industry events can all help you stay up-to-date with industry trends.
Improve Your Communication Skills
Effective communication skills are essential in game testing. As a game tester, you’ll be responsible for providing feedback to the development team. It’s important to be clear and concise in your feedback and to communicate any issues or concerns effectively. Improving your communication skills can help you stand out from other game testers and can lead to career advancement opportunities.
Be Flexible and Adaptable
Game testing can be unpredictable, and it’s essential to be flexible and adaptable. Game testers may be required to work long hours or be available for testing during non-traditional hours. Being flexible and adaptable can help you succeed in the game testing industry and can lead to career advancement opportunities.
Build Your Portfolio
Building a portfolio of your game testing work can help you advance your career in game testing. A portfolio showcases your experience, skills, and expertise to potential employers. You can include screenshots, bug reports, and other documentation that demonstrates your ability to identify and report issues with games. Having a strong portfolio can help you stand out from other candidates and can increase your chances of landing a job in game testing.
Take on Additional Responsibilities
Taking on additional responsibilities can help you advance your career in game testing. This could include mentoring new game testers, leading testing projects, or taking on a leadership role within the game testing team. Demonstrating your ability to take on additional responsibilities can show your dedication to the job and can lead to career advancement opportunities.
Develop Specialized Skills
Developing specialized skills in a specific area of game testing can help you advance your career. For example, you could specialize in mobile game testing or focus on multiplayer testing. Developing specialized skills can make you a valuable asset to the development team and can lead to career advancement opportunities.
Be Proactive and Self-Motivated
Being proactive and self-motivated is essential in game testing. As a game tester, you’ll be responsible for identifying and reporting issues with the game. It’s important to be proactive in finding issues and self-motivated to complete tasks and meet deadlines. Being proactive and self-motivated can help you stand out from other game testers and can lead to career advancement opportunities.
Have a Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude can go a long way in advancing your career in game testing. Game testing can be challenging, and it’s important to approach each task with a positive attitude. A positive attitude can help you build relationships with the development team and can make you a valuable asset to the game testing team.
Learning additional skills and techniques
One effective way to advance your career in game testing is to continuously learn additional skills and techniques. The field of game testing is constantly evolving, with new trends and technologies emerging all the time. Staying up-to-date with the latest developments can help you stand out in the industry and make you a valuable asset to any company. Consider attending industry conferences, taking courses, or joining online forums to stay current with the latest developments.
Game testing is constantly evolving, and new techniques and technologies are introduced regularly. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and learning new skills will help you stand out in the industry.
Pursuing industry certifications
Industry certifications can demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the field. Pursuing industry certifications is another effective way to advance your career in game testing. Certifications such as the ISTQB Certified Tester can demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the field. These certifications can help you stand out when applying for job opportunities and can lead to higher salaries and increased job responsibilities.
Seeking out leadership positions:
Seeking out leadership positions is another way to advance your career in game testing. As you gain more experience, you may have the opportunity to take on leadership roles such as managing a team of testers or leading a specific project. These roles require strong communication, organizational, and leadership skills, which can help you develop a broader skill set and advance your career in game testing.
Transitioning to other roles in game development:
Game testing can be a great way to gain experience and knowledge of the game development process, which can lead to opportunities in other roles such as game design, production, or project management. By demonstrating your expertise in game testing, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to any game development team, and potentially transition to other roles within the industry.
Advancing your career in game testing requires dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous learning. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry, pursuing certifications, seeking out leadership positions, and leveraging your experience to transition to other roles, you can build a fulfilling and rewarding career in game testing.