Here's the thing about game testing... it is really not all that people think it's cracked up to be. People always assume that the people who test games just sit around for a regular 8hr day doing nothing but having fun playing video games. Well, we are sad to say that this is not the case.
There are so many ridiculous rules that game testers have to deal with and so many frustrating aspects of the job that drive them nutty. Imagine having to dive off a cliff over and over again just to see if a different section of the chasm might have a bug... it might make some of these testers want to take the dive themselves. Let's see what else they have to put up with!
20 They Always Get Fired Before The Holidays
This one is just ridiculous. It turns out that there are several game developers out there who have pulled this very same little trick. They hire a ton of testers but, just before the holiday party is coming around the corner, a whole series of layoffs happen to drop the working population of the company so that the party costs less... and then maybe testers are picked back up in the new year for last minute changes.
19 Overtime Hours Border On Illegal
The amount of overtime that game testers get is pretty exceptional but for the fact that they get lousy pay and their overtime can cross that harrowing bridge into the illegal. Developers don't really care that they're driving their testers into over 90hrs per week, and they know the testers will take it because they don't have a steady job between games.
18 There's No Contact With The Developers At All
This is one of the biggest issues with the game testing community. Developers contract out testers to check for all the bugs in their work and then they drop them by the wayside. And they sort of get upset when testers find anything wrong with their games. Because of this pride, developers typically have a system of communication that pretty much keeps the testers from actually connecting with the developers at all.
17 Intense And Stolen Quotas
There is a source of extreme stress in the game testing community and that is the infamous quota. Testers need to fill a certain quota of bugs for the games they're working on or they'll get the boot even earlier than most testers. So if they're working a section of game that has no bugs... or if they have a manager who takes their reports and then uses them himself to fill his own quota, they are pretty much toast.
16 No Benefits
Someone who works overtime at a McDonalds and is working full time there otherwise actually manages to swing benefits. This is the same with Tim Hortons or most other fast food joints (provided they get full time). With game testing, everything is contractual and benefits are a thing that simply do not exist. So between jobs... they're screwed.
15 They Take The Blame For Everything
The quality assurance game testers are often the ones who get the most blame from the everyday gamers out there. The reality is that when a game drops (like Skyrim) and it's full of bugs, people don't realize that this is often because a developer doesn't actually pay attention to what the game testers are presenting to them. A fairly unrewarding job.
14 Absolutely No Unions
The chances of game testers managing to get a group together to represent them in the form of a union are incredibly slim. The fact that the vast majority of the testers employed by developers are actually just contract workers means the developers don't have to worry about these people actually being employed by the company.
13 Getting Fired Instead Of Seniority
Just when game testers think that they are getting somewhere and are moving forward in their work, they are likely going to get canned. The reason for this is that they pretty much only last as long as the contract for the game lasts (whether or not all the bugs were fixed or reported for that game). Very few testers are consistently employed by a developer.
12 Early Access Issues
Early access games really screw a lot of game testers out of work for a number of reasons. Contracts don't last as long if the game is released earlier. In addition to this, those who would typically be fixing bugs are instead replaced by the gamers who purchase the game early and get angry about all the bugs in the game. The developers are basically using their own customers as the testers with early access.
11 Minimum Wage
Imagine having gone to school to learn design, programming, and development, getting an entry job as a game tester, and then being unable to climb the ladder from tester to developer because of how the community works. That education is worth nothing but minimum wage and contractual overtime that border on illegal.
10 Developers And Their Egos
Developers seem to get really mad when testers point out bugs and crashes in a game. Which is interesting since the testers are hired to find these very things out. But it seems that it is common for developers to be offended that testers found mistakes in the coding of the game. This doesn't make for a great working relationship.
9 Turn On And Off... Again And Again
With the tediousness of the quality assurance job that game testers have, there is a whole hardware aspect they have to deal with in addition to the software of the game. For example, developers need to know if there are any bugs when someone opens a disc tray or turns off the system and turns it back on while in some aspect of the game... imagine spending an 8hr day just hitting the power button...
8 They Get Tricked Young
This is the trick that seems to get just about everyone who goes into game testing. The majority of the people out in the gaming world seem to think that testing would be an amazing job and while testers have long been saying that it's a grueling existence, game developers love keeping the facade that game testing is just as fun as playing the best video games all day long.
7 Every Single Move Is Tracked
It's not good enough to have to jump off each section of a cliff or climb every single section of a vine through a game. No. The game testers must track each and every step they take in a game. If they don't and they happen to find a bug, then they have to go blind through every step all over again and guess what it was that caused the bug they need to report.
6 Packed In Like Sardines
For those who even know what Grandma's Boy is, we have to emphasize that the game testing community is not the amazing experience that it is made out to be in the movies. It's not all comfy seating and fancy clothes and all sorts of cool gadgets and stuff on site. It's a conference room in a hotel with a bunch of sweaty nerds seated at 20-40 consoles or laptops.
5 The Passion Is Lost
This is one of the sad truths of the game testing community. Aside from a preferred knowledge in some programming and what not, testers should be great gamers. Unfortunately, they often lose the passion for gaming because of how harsh the job can be on them. So these great gamers who could be making a mint on Twitch are getting the short end of the stick, for sure.
4 Game Lovers Are Left Brokenhearted
Those who start out in game testing with hopes of playing video games all day and having so much fun with their gaming buddies in order to eventually become a developer or designer very quickly have their hearts broken when they realize that the job is repeating the same action on the same broken game day in and day out with no room for growth.
3 Hardware Testing
Hardware testing is a typical part of game testing. It is not enough to test the software as well as the system, but the controllers must also be tested. Every button must be smashed at every corner of the game in every combination possible to make sure that there isn't some sort of bug or crash looming in the coding of the game.
2 It's Only Contract Work
We may have mentioned this a few times, but it is certainly an important aspect of the game testing life. This sort of job is pretty much only contract work. So, from game to game, testers can end up broke, even with all of the overtime because it's only minimum wage that they're getting in the first place.
1 Taking The Dive Over And OVER!
We mentioned this in the intro... imagine having to jump off a ledge over and over at every possible section of a game to make sure there are no bugs. Imagine having to do that in Mario with every type of power, or every number of coins one could have, or every variation of enemies defeated before jumping... this is not a happy existence.