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A Career as Video Game Tester: Is it for Fun or for Money?

Feel like you are ready for a career as a video game tester? You have been playing video games, both console and online, for several years now. You even own a high-end gaming rig with all the bells and whistles thrown in. What adds sweetness to the deal is you get paid $150 an hour to test video games. Imagine! You get to play your favorite video games at home and earn a lot of cash, too, right? Not necessarily. Before you go hopping around like Super Mario, let’s get the facts straight.

First, analyze the phrase “video game tester.” The word “player” is not there. Your job as a video game tester is to test the manufacturer’s product. You will not have the luxury and fun of playing video games at home like you used to. You will get paid, of course, and you may derive a “little” fun out of it, but it is way far from the fun and entertainment you are thinking of. The game manufacturers are not expecting you to be entertained. They’re expecting you to work.

Most game manufacturers emphasize only the fun and profit aspect of the job in their advertisements. What they seldom mention is the work involved; the detailed job description and responsibility that every video game tester must know. It is understood that you will get paid to play video games but the term “play” is nowhere near the kind of work you will be involved in.

Your work is to find bugs and other discrepancies in the game and report them to the game manufacturer. In this way, they can fix the bugs and repair the flaws on time before the game’s release date. The work isn’t really grueling and laborious, but it can be rather boring. You will be assigned to a certain area of a video game and play it over and over again to look for glitches and bugs.

Apart from that, video game testers are required to make detailed reports about the bugs, flaws and other problems they come across with while playing. They are then to submit these reports to the game manufacturers so their programmers can address the problems before its release date. This means video game testers should be able to meet deadlines and submit comprehensible reports. Reports that are hard to decipher can only lead to missed deadlines which will make the developers unhappy.

Video game testers, contrary to what they are made to believe, don’t really make $150 an hour. However, if they work 5 days a week for 8 to 10 hours per day, they can take in anywhere from $500 to $1000 a week. It’s not exactly movie star pay but it’s a rather comfortable weekly salary just for playing games at home.

Before you scratch video game testing from your careers list, remember that all jobs have some kind of work involved. While most jobs require a college degree, video game testing does not. You can be a college or even a high school undergrad and still work as a beta game tester. All you need is a lot of gaming experience and the right work attitude.

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