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What Is QA Testing?
Quality assurance testing (QA) tests gameplay from a technical standpoint. The video game QA team will play through a title multiple times, writing up detailed bug reports and making note of 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 size of the studio and the content.
What Is Playtesting?
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.
Playtesters provide valuable, honest feedback on any problems or issues they experience, giving game designers a better idea of where to focus their improvements. There are different types of playtesting that come at various stages of game development:
- Kleenex test: The Kleenex test is a one-off testing option in which a pair of players is tasked with testing a game so developers can see the initial reaction to the gameplay. These testers only play the game once.
- Focus group testing: Focus group testing is an open discussion with a sampling of players in the demographic you are trying to reach about their experience playing your game.
- Beta test: When a game is near the end of production, it is sent out to beta testers who test the game to find any last-minute glitches or software errors before its launch.
What Is the Difference Between QA Testing and Playtesting?
Quality assurance testers ensure 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 usually do not provide feedback on the overall enjoyment or personal experience of playing the game, and mainly focus on software testing—discovering bugs, errors, or crashes.
Playtesting sessions are more about testing the gameplay for player experience. The playtest is your first chance to get inside the player’s mind and gain a sense of how a general audience will experience your product. While playtesters will also find bugs and report on any game failings, 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.
4 Tips for Finding a Video Game Testing Job
Video game testing is a dream job for many, and obtaining a position in this field can be difficult—but not impossible. With plenty of people applying for these positions in the gaming industry, it is important to make yourself stand out:
- Know the basics. To become a video game tester, you should be a fan of gaming but you should also have an understanding of the role. Learn what the basic responsibilities are, some video game 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, and work ethic, as well as 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 any and 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 long you have been immersed in the industry, why they are important to you, and what skills you have that 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 who is hiring. 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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