Becoming a game tester is most everyone's dream job at the moment. At least that is if you've ever played a game. Everyone wants in to it, and to gain the ability to test games way ahead of release dates from the comfort of your own home. That is the power of Video game testing jobs, and I'm here to show you how to make it happen.
Firstly, video game testing jobs aren't for everyone. They require the ability to play a game in a incomplete level of work - sometimes graphics will be missing, sometimes the sound layers won't have been put into the game yet. As it gets closer to launch you will be playing a more and more complete game.
You are also one of the very first people to play a game when it goes gold (gold means that it has been sent to the factory to be printed on discs).
Also, video game testing equipment varies - Especially with the onset of motion controllers like Sony's 'move' and Microsoft's 'Natal'. You will have to gain a decent amount of knowledge about these pieces of equipment before you start work. Being able to apply for the job saying you have experience with Wii motion controllers and are looking forward to working with Sony's and Microsoft's will mean that you are more likely to be chosen over other testers.
Video game testing jobs come up quite frequently... basically whenever a game needs to be tested, there is a position available for it. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you want to work for an agency or a developer. Let's look at the Agency choice first.
Agencies like Volt are designed to give emergency Testers for studios whenever they need it. Microsoft about to roll out an update? They will likely give Volt a call for testing. A game-breaking bug found in an update to a game? It will get sent to volt for analysis. There are several other companies like Volt around the world, but they still have their faults.
You see, Agencies take whatever they get, and will approach you to test them. If you decline, there's a fair chance you will never work for the agency again. For instance one week you might be testing a new Microsoft update. Then next an awesome game, then a game targeted at 5 year old girls.
The good news is that you will almost never get bored of testing the same game weeks on end. And that's where we come to developers.
Seeing Things from the Inside
Working for a developer is great if you want to see how it all works from the inside. Unlike an agency where you will have to fill out a survey every time you break a game, here you will be able to talk directly to the person developing the game. Video game testing jobs in this area are highly sought after and fill rather quickly, so sometimes it's best to go with an Agency while you are learning the ropes.
Working with a developer is also good for going up the working ladder. Here it is easy to push yourself into roles like game design or programming. The down side to all of this is that you have to test one game usually for a very lengthy amount of time (months). The pay is great however.