Game tester vs beta tester
Despite being similar in name, “Game tester” (sometimes referred to as “quality assurance tester”) and “beta tester” actually are two completely different jobs. The main difference is that game testers are paid. Another difference is that beta testers apply for the games they are interested in and must be selected, but game testers are hired by the game company. Game testers also do not have a choice on which games they work. When a game is released as a beta, a small group of game testers have already spent thousands of collective hours testing the game to get it ready for the beta. It can be a thankless job.
Game tester job description
A game tester’s primary job is to find and record bugs in the programming. Game testers also act as the game’s first users and report on playability and recommend improvements.
As a game tester, other job responsibilities include:
• playing games in as many ways as possible
• testing different versions of a game at various stages of development
• ensure the game performs as the designer intended
• compare the game against competitors
• keep detailed notes on game problems and suggest improvements
• try to determine what is causing the problem
• try to recreate the problem and record the steps taken to recreate
• check accessibility options (ie. Colorblind, deaf, physical impairment)
• check for spelling/grammar mistakes
• enter bug reports into the quality management system
• adhere to strict deadlines.
• follow the direction of management without deviation
Game testers often work long hours at inconvenient times (such as evenings, weekends and holidays) to ensure they meet strict deadlines. This intensifies as a game’s release nears.
Game testers are paid at a hourly rate between $8-$20/hr, typically at the lower end of that spectrum. Game testers usually are not offered benefits at the same level of the salaried employees. The job is not glamorous. You really need to love games and want to be a part of the team to make it worth your while. The main benefit is that by becoming a game tester get your foot in the door of the video game industry, which tends to promote from within. The job gets you in front of every aspect of a game’s development cycle and offers a unique chance to see the various jobs in action. If you have the ambition and the skills, you very well could use game testing as a springboard to a much more “glamorous” position.