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What Is a Video Game Tester?
A video game tester is in charge of playing all levels of a video game throughout the development process to find errors and any issues with the overall user experience. There are two types of testing in video games: quality assurance testing and playtesting. Quality assurance testers focus on technical issues, while playtesters focus on playability and the user experience. The feedback from game testers helps the production team improve the game before it goes on sale to the public.
What’s the Difference Between Playtesting and Quality Assurance Testing?
There are two types of testing jobs in the gaming industry: Quality assurance testing and playtesting.
- Quality assurance testers (QA) are in charge of testing gameplay from a technical standpoint. Before gaming companies release a new game, the QA team will play through the title multiple times, write up detailed bug reports, and note any crashes they experience. This testing process can occur during the early stages of a game and last well into post-production, depending on the studio’s size and the content.
- Playtesters provide valuable, honest feedback on any problems or issues they experience, giving game designers a better idea of where to focus their improvements. Playtesting is a process in which game developers observe players testing games and the user experience in real-time to gauge their commercial viability. With playtest sessions, you can see where your tester gets stuck, what they learn quickly, and where they choose to spend their time.
What Does a Video Game Tester Do?
Game testing ensures gamers do not encounter any glitches or issues in the game design, which may negatively affect the game or inhibit a seamless playing experience. QA testers mainly focus on the software testing experience—discovering bugs, errors, or crashes.
Playtesters are in charge of testing gameplay for player experience. The main purpose of a playtest is to see if the video game is experienced as intended—if the controls are intuitive, the mechanics work as designed, the player can understand the purpose of the game, or if it is even fun to play.
How to Become a Video Game Tester
Scoring an entry-level playtesting position can be a dream job for many. However, like many other gaming industry positions, it is a highly competitive field, which can make obtaining a game-testing job difficult (but not impossible). If you want to get a job testing games, check out the following steps:
- Know the basics. To become a video game tester, you should be a fan of gaming, but you should also understand the role. Learn the basic responsibilities, quality assurance terminology, and familiarize yourself with the various game studios and genres of video games available to help your odds of getting hired.
- Hone your skills. Video game tester jobs involve long hours, the ability to meet deadlines, strong communication skills, work ethic, and consistent, meticulous attention to detail. You will have to demonstrate that you have the right tools necessary to test games.
- Write a resume. When drafting your resume, outline all of your video gaming experience. If you do not have any, focus on a cover letter that outlines your relationship with video games and how the amount of time you have been immersed in the industry, why they are important to you, and what skills you can contribute to the field.
- Search for positions. Some video game companies are more generous with job postings than others, so always be on the lookout for studios hiring for both part-time and full-time positions. Recruiters are also useful, as certain places will use them to reach out to or discover qualified candidates. Create a website or create a profile on job sites to advertise your skills and availability.
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