Among the list of dream jobs, Video Game Tester ranks pretty high for many individuals. Besides, what gamer hasn’t dreamed of getting paid for playing games? But when you seriously think of making a living out of it, there’s much more than just playing games.
The task of game testing, also known as Q&A or quality insurance, is the act of playing the game as if you’re the end user and trying to make sure there are no bugs or problems with the game that may it un-enjoyable, hard to play or just darn boring.
Testers need to verify that every aspect of the game works perfectly as planned and does not have any errors. In case of any flaws, they need to write a report about the gameplay problems or programming bugs so that the developers can fix it before the release of the game.
While on the surface this may seem like a fairly simple and easy job, the truth is, it is not. These guys are often over-worked, underpaid, suffer from poor job security and are often looked upon with contempt by their co-workers.
Just easy as Playing Games?
If you think that they get paid merely for playing games, imagine watching your favorite movie. Now imagine watching a 25-second clip from the same movie over and over again, 12 hours a day, for 3 months. When you’ve done this, tell me, have you been watching movies all day? I bet that you’ll find that it is not quite the same thing. Well,this is the kind of job that these guys have to do.
Besides the repetitive nature of the job, what’s more, is that the testers do not have the luxury of choosing the titles they’d like to play, meaning, that there might be certain games that we’d like to play and hope to work on them but may not get the chance.
Sharp working conditions
This profession is unlike the typical nine-to-five jobs. These guys are often over-worked, especially before the release of a new game and there have been many cases where they have been neglected pay for those extra hours of effort they put in.
Sleep deprivation isn’t the only way these harsh hours affect their physical health. They also suffer from various nutritional deficiencies.
Moreover, which, maintaining a healthy family life becomes extremely difficult, Keith, a video game tester, says “Once the overtime starts, the hours seem to be nearly endless…My longest period of straight overtime lasted just over seven months where my shortest work week was 65 hours and my longest was 92. This was stretched out over two projects that just bled straight into each other.”
Lack of Job Security
“During training, they told us it’s not a matter of ‘if’ you’ll be laid-off but ‘when’,” says Reuben. If being laid off isn’t bad enough, finding continued employment is also difficult.
While being laid off can be a part of any career, Keith adds that the process is cold. “The way my employer used to handle these things was to send out meeting notices. You would go to a meeting, and someone would walk into the Q&A area where everyone who didn’t have the meeting request were still sitting and simply say, ‘If you’re here, you’ve been let go, pack up your stuff, we’re escorting you out’…you always hoped that you would be one of the few that would be kept on.”
There are a number of jobs with repetitive work which pay decently, but when we are talking about the game tester job then the industry is entire of contractors with zero union protection. It results in no benefits after having skills and knowledge to test.
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