Can You Really Make Money Being a Game Tester?
It almost seems too good to be true, but yes, you can earn money game testing video games. Since gaming is growing faster than even the movie industry, game testers have ever-increasing opportunities to make money.
Some positions you can do from your home. You can play at 11 in the morning or 11 at night, in between college classes, or even unwinding after taking a stressful exam. Although you do have a boss, he or she isn’t there looking over your shoulder while you work. You can blast music, burp out loud, and eat or drink whatever you like while on the job.
One of the biggest perks of being a game tester is that usually you’re allowed to keep the game after you complete testing it. This can save thousands of dollars that can go to college costs. Another great perk is that sometimes you will receive cheat codes and shortcuts that only beta testers are privy to.
It’s also convenient for college students because you can spend you day, or your Friday night, doing what you love and getting paid for it. It can serve as a healthy way to blow off stress and frustration. For some, worries and stresses dissipate when they sink their mind into an action-packed game.
One of the biggest challenges about being a game tester is that you don’t always get to play games that you’d normally play. Sometimes you end up testing a very boring game. With most of these positions, health benefits aren’t offered, but if you’re still covered on your parents’ policy then this won’t be an issue.
Not all game testing positions are telecommute. Some may require that you be near a large gaming studio. The good news is that many large gaming studios are located near college campuses.
Although you don’t need a college degree to be a game tester, there are a few requirements.
It’s very important that you have the self-discipline to concentrate for long periods of time, even if the game is boring. The developers are relying on you to go through the game and be able to spot bugs and glitches.
Also being able to write neatly and with clear, concise words so that the developers know exactly what you’re talking about.
Teamwork is a skill that’s developed over time. When you’re working in a team, like game testers do, you need to be flexible, listen carefully, have a good attitude and be willing to work hard and stay motivated on your own.
Your focus must change. You are no longer playing video games for fun. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, but your focus has to shift. You have to play the video games with the sole purpose of finding small bugs and glitches within the game.
The first thing you want to do is get into the right mindset. You’re no longer a ‘gamer.’ You’re a ‘game tester.’ This is your job. You no longer play video games; rather, you test them. You will adhere to deadlines and specific instructions and be expected to fill out paperwork accordingly. This is now a job, not a recreation.
This career isn’t a piece of cake. It takes work and dedication. You will have to hunt down opportunities and be consistent. However, if you’re willing to work at it, you will be able to make a decent income.
Video game developers don’t advertise in the ‘help wanted’ sections of publications because they don’t have to. Testers go to them. This means that you will have to search for opportunities. It’s not impossible, but at first when you’re just getting started, it’s time consuming. If you’re diligent and stick with it, you will find opportunities.
Get used to rejection now and don’t take it personally. You’re going to get rejected way more than you will be accepted. If you know that going into it, and don’t let it stop you, you will find opportunities. When you begin being a paid tester, you can make between $20 and $50 per hour, so if this sounds good to you, be willing to make an effort.
Indie Game Testing
If you’re brand new to being a game tester, this is the best place to start. There are mega amounts of indie developers who need testers. Their budgets are nothing close to big developers such as Blizzard, but they can give you your start. Consider testing for some of these for little to no pay. This gives you experience for your resume.
Menu: Overall appearance, navigation and ease of entrance and/or exit of different modes
What mode do you prefer? Single or multiplayer?
What were your most and least favorite parts of each mode?
Is there anything you’d change to make it easier or more user friendly?
Did you notice any bugs or glitches?
What age group does the game best cater to?
Rate the performance in regards to storyline, graphics and replay value.
Suggested improvements like more weapons, more characters, etc.
After you’ve tested for several indie developers you’ll be ready to begin applying for paid positions. Here’s a sample letter you can use as a guide:
“I’ve played video games my entire life. I’m confident that my knowledge, experience and acute attention to detail would be a valuable asset to your game testing department. I’ve taken part in the following open betas: (list the games you’ve tested).”
Put Yourself Out There
It‘s highly advantageous to cater your social media identities to game testing. Keep each one, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. updated on where you’re at and what you’ve tested. Share applicable information about game testing and/or developments that are current. Most of all, build relationships with developers and testers. This will not only increase your knowledge base, but it could open up doors as you go along helping you make money online.
There are resources and job boards you will find that can help you. You will find places where you pay a fee for game testing jobs and some job boards that are free. Sometimes it’s faster to pay for inside information on testing jobs. You can, however, find them on your own. You’ll just have to be more diligent.
The most important aspect to making money as a game tester while you’re in college is to be both consistent and persistent. Do something every single day to increase your status, profile or resume, and don’t give up. You’ll have to build relationships and trust in order to begin making money, but it truly is possible to make extra money testing games as a college student.
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