National game Testers are those people who test a game before it is launched. They analyze the games to look for any kind of software defects. It is a part of the quality control process from the game manufacturing company’s side. The games that are tested here include all kinds of video games. It is a dream career option for every gaming enthusiast. However, it is not just about playing a game. It requires thorough technical knowledge on the part of the testers. The testers must be analytically competent, thick skinned and be able to endure long durations of working hours.
The gaming industry puts this job under the ‘Quality Assurance’ category. But it is unlike the usual software quality assurance. Instead, it is much less technical. Most game testers are not very educated. They are just high school pass-outs with almost negligible professional technical degree or diploma. This is usually a full time job but most companies do hire temporary employees.
In most companies, when these testers are working under the publishers, they are outsourced to the game developer’s site and are not deployed at the office of their employer. Many students work as part time testers. Companies generally hire during late summer or early autumn. These are the times when it is a kind of crunch period for games to be completed and shipped before the holiday season begins.
Times are however changing and companies are hiring more and more professional testers. There is a misconception that game testing is a kind of stress test where the testers play a game and report about all the bugs they come across while playing it. Actually, the job of testers is to find bugs not just by simply playing but by using many complicated technologies. A tester plays many portions of the same game repeatedly for long hours. Some also suffer from burnouts as a result of this.
Despite all the risks associated with this job and the work hours it requires, it does not pay much. In fact, the wages are generally paid on an hourly basis. Since the employees are generally hired on temporary basis, they are not entitled for benefits or even holidays. Most testers treat this job as a stop-gap arrangement after which they can get a better job in the gaming industry.