If you want to get paid to test games you need to know where to look, how to apply, and what you do as a video game tester.
First let’s clear the air: Like anything else, testing video games is a job. You can earn good money, but your job is to test games and fill out reports. THERE IS ACTUAL WORK INVOLVED.
If you are good with that, we can move on.
How much will I get paid to test games?
A seasoned video game tester can earn up to $120 an hour. Since you are just starting out, expect to start at $10-$15 an hour. Still not bad considering your job is testing video games!
If you really want to get paid to test games and make a living from it you need to get out there. You won’t start at the top, but you can start—today! You are about to learn a way to find these game tester jobs and you can start looking today.
Why on earth would a game developer pay me $10 (let alone $120) an hour to play their video game?
Because you save them millions of dollars. The gaming industry is huge. It is currently worth $50 billion dollars. Games are serious business, and to release a glitch filled game is costly. If a game is released that is unplayable it will cost millions of dollars to recall, fix, and re-distribute the game. Paying you a few thousand dollars to test their game is pennies compared to the cost of a recall.
O.K. I’m convinced, where can I find these jobs?
The simplest place to start looking is on the actual websites of game developers (like Microsoft, EA, 2k Sports etc.). What you should do is make a list of every game developer you can find, bookmark their websites and check them every few days for a job opening. It may not be pretty, but it works.
One of the keys in this business is building relationships. You want to know people on the inside who can hook you up with jobs before they are posted; in fact some jobs are done in-house, meaning hiring only game testers known to the company already.
I found a job, how can I increase my chances of getting hired?
First, apply right away. The sooner you apply the better your chances of your application being reviewed.
Second, find out who is in charge of hiring. Get to know this person on a first name basis. You should email and call this person regularly. You are not harassing them, you are building a relationship. As such, when you call this person (or email them) you want to keep selling them on your skills as a game tester. Find new ways to show your talent and express your determination as a tester.
NOTE: Game developers do not care how good you are at gaming, they care about what you can do for them. They need you find bugs and test functionality. You need to sell them on your ability to do just that; do not try to sell them on your Halo 3 skills.
I still want more help getting hired!
If you are that serious about becoming a video game tester, offer to work your first job for free. Sure its great to get paid to test games, but if you have no experience what-so-ever, taking your first job for free will help you. If you offer to work for free your chances drastically improve because they know you are serious. Plus, you get a nice update for your gaming resume and you will have a good chance getting paid to test games the next time that developer needs testing.
I got hired, what am I looking for?
You are testing for 5 things:
1. Compliance: any ESRP inappropriate content?
2. Functionality: any glitches or bugs?
3. Soaking: does the game freeze when you leave it running in different modes (like running)?
4. Localization: does the game story flow logically, is the script spelling/grammar correct?
5. Compatibility: for PC games, how does different hardware affect the game?
Now you know where to look, how to apply, and what you are testing. Now get out there and get paid to test games! Start looking today.
P.S. No education is required, the only requirement is that you are over 18 (and not always).