Video Game Tester Salary Guide and Career Outlook

Video game manufacturers rely on testers to find bugs and other problems with games. Their “play” also includes attempting to find holes in the secrets and security of the coding that operates these games. In the United States, the mean pay for a video game tester stands at $31,000. These workers fetch mean salaries of C$30,224 ($24,240 USD) in Canada, £21,585 ($29,631 USD) in the United Kingdom, AU$90,531 ($71,629 USD) in Australia, and NZD$75,981 ($55,029 USD) in New Zealand. The mean registers at INR219,892 ($3,458 USD) in India and R237,337 ($19,162 USD) in South Africa.

video game tester salary

THE ROLE OF A VIDEO GAME TESTER

Many individuals choose to enter this field because they’re fascinated by playing games and want to further improve aspects of the game for future users. However, a tester has more responsibilities than simply playing games for hours a day. The main duty is playing games repeatedly in many different ways to ensure you’re getting a fair feel for the entire game. This involves completing different levels and generally playing in every aspect possible. A beta tester is trying to break the game and find flaws so the developer can improve it.

As you continue through levels, it’s your responsibility to look out for spelling mistakes, grammar and typing errors to ensure that the game is to the highest standard possible. You’ll also need to concentrate on all areas of the game and play it with a variety of consoles and in different situations and environments. Possibly the most mundane part of a video game tester is fully reading the manual to ensure it reads well, makes sense, and it comprehensible. 

During your project, you might come across bugs. In which case, it’s your duty to make a note of this and even compare to previous versions of the game to investigate if this bug is new or has been resolved. You’ll also need to demonstrate a professional relationship with the development staff to efficiently communicate your findings and make sure all messages get delivered to the correct department. Finally, don’t overstep anyone. During the hiring process, you’ll be informed if your role is to simply report any errors and bugs or to input new, creative ideas.

HOW TO BECOME A VIDEO GAME TESTER

If you like the sound of the above responsibilities, you might want to consider a career as a video game tester. But, how do you get started and what experience or education is mandatory? Generally speaking, there are no formal requirements needed to become a video game tester. However, as this is a popular industry to get into, you can increase your chances of success by educating yourself in software-development fields. 

Take a look at some degrees around these fields: Computer Science, Software Testing, Graphic Communication, Software and Game Design, Software Engineering, and many more. Each of these courses will cover coding and programming so you can look beyond playing games and provide deeper insight into the technological side of gaming. Such courses will also help you understand why some bugs behave the way they do and even how to resolve such issues. Being a video game tester is a fun and highly creative role, though it requires a large amount of technical understanding and education. For example, can you demonstrate that you understand color composition, texture, and even user behavior? If you can, you’ll increase your chances of landing a role as a beta tester.

CHARACTERISTIC TRAITS

Your personality and character will help you succeed as a video game tester, but you’ll have to be able to demonstrate these skills on your CV and the interview stage. Most importantly, you’ll need to prove that you have excellent attention to detail. Bear in mind that you’re not just someone playing games and looking out for a few mistakes, as your responsibilities are much more than that. Otherwise, an average player could perform this role. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can find small details and errors and communicate this to the developer.

Another key personal trait is being able to repeat the same task over again. Part of your role will be to play a particular level repeatedly to complete it in every possible way to ensure that there are no bugs. Doing so requires a lot of patience and commitment because you can’t afford to lose focus. Most of the time, you’ll be working by yourself so having a strong work ethic is a valuable skill that will see you succeed in this industry. If you are an individual who needs a supervisor to look over them and motivate them, choose another career because you’ll have to complete tasks and meet deadlines without any supervision. 

PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

As well as characteristic traits, you’ll also need professional skills and education to make a successful career from being a video game tester. Perhaps the best attribute you can bring is prior experience of working with games. You want to demonstrate to your future employee that you know what you’re doing and have evidence of working with games already. Perhaps you can demonstrate this by working as a volunteer games developer or getting experience working for a games company. 

Another key part of this role is demonstrating communication skills and being able to spot grammatical errors. It’s one thing being able to pinpoint an error and another to effectively communicate this with your team. Being able to write clearly makes the developer’s job more manageable. This doesn’t mean you need to have a wide vocabulary with poetic terms, but you should be able to identify an error without any miscommunication. 

Finally, a key fundamental of working as a video game tester is understanding troubleshooting in games. You don’t have to be able to solve these misfunctions yourself, though it is highly beneficial if you can think like a developer to solve certain problems. By being able to follow a specific sequence to guide you back to the glitch, you’re demonstrating that you can be met with challenges and solve them without any issues.

REASONS TO BECOME A VIDEO GAME TESTER

Do you like the sound of becoming a video game tester? There are so many exciting reasons to get into this industry, and below, we’ll state the most significant reasons to break into this industry.

AMAZING CONDITIONS AND ENVIRONMENTS

This industry thrives in many amazing places of the world, including Texas, Los Angeles, Washington, and other hipster towns. Therefore, if you choose to work for an in-house company, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a beautiful location where you’re surrounded by inspiration and charisma. Alternatively, as game testers require peace and a comfortable environment, many workers begin and continue their career from working at home. You can also teach yourself the key skills needed for this position by investigating how competitors work, as well as building your network and reading blogs to build your portfolio. 

Aside from the location and environment, you’ll also be among creative, like-minded people who all have the same goal as you. Although part of your job is playing games by yourself, another portion of the role is engaging and collaborating with people from other departments to share your data. As a result, you won’t spend all your time by yourself and can learn new skills from talented people in this field.

A FUN AND EXCITING CAREER

If you’re not someone who wants to be stuck behind a desk all day, this is an exciting career opportunity for you. Every day is different and you’ll get to use your creative skills to find problems and come up with solutions. If you like to be creative and challenged at work, this is a great way to keep your mind stimulated. Plus, playing games is a great activity if you have a lot of energy. There will be times when you’re playing a game that doesn’t excite you as much as you’d like, but part of the challenge is to find a way to navigate through this challenge and keep pushing through. As a result, you’ll always be tested and learn something new every day.

Everyone wants to make money doing something they love. So, don’t stick to the routine of waking up and dreading your day, but instead, change your actions and make a change that you’re excited about.

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE PER YEAR BY STATE?

Video Game Tester SalaryUSCanadaUKAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Hourly Pay$14.90C$14.53£8.37AU$44NZD$37INR105.72R114
Annual Pay$31,000C$30,224£21,585AU$90,531NZD$75,981INR219,892R237,331

VIDEO GAME TESTER SALARY INFLUENCING FACTORS

Salaries for video game testers turn especially upon the duration of the position. Depending on the company, testers may occupy temporary or contract positions. Other pay determinants include the size of the video game publisher, location, and experience.

1. LOCATION

Pay for video game testers in Montreal descends to 12 percent beneath the Canadian mean of C$30,224, says PayScale.

In Melbourne, Australia, video game testers make on average AU$92,038, and those working in Sydney earn AU$96,441. Pay for testers in Wellington. New Zealand stands at NZD$75,666, close to the national mean in the country. The pay in Auckland rises just above the mean, at NZD$76,389. According to SalaryExpert, salaries run on average at R257,038 for testers in Cape Town, South Africa. In Johannesburg, the mean rises nearly R80,000 above the national average, at R316,365.

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN THE US?

Video Game Tester Salary USPer YearPer Hour
Minimum$22,301$10.72
Maximum$98,633$47.42
Bonus/Tip$89.10 to $29,361$0.04 to $14.12
OvertimeN/A$12.00 to $29.68
Total Pay$22,301 to $98,633

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN CANADA?

Video Game Tester Salary CanadaPer YearPer Hour
MinimumC$26,425C$12.70
MaximumC$57,192C$27.50
Bonus/TipC$17.50C$0.01
OvertimeN/AC$19.66
Total Pay$22,301 to $98,633

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN THE UK?

Video Game Tester Salary UKPer YearPer Hour
Minimum£13,300£6.39
Maximum£40,000£19.23
Bonus/TipN/AN/A
OvertimeN/AN/A
Total Pay£13,300 to £40,000

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN AUSTRALIA?

Video Game Tester Salary AustraliaPer YearPer Hour
MinimumAU$64,943AU$31.22
MaximumAU$111,898AU$53.80
Bonus/TipAU$3,105AU$1.49
OvertimeN/AN/A
Total PayAU$64,943 to AU$115,003

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN

NEW ZEALAND?

Video Game Tester Salary New ZealandPer YearPer Hour
MinimumNZD$54,562NZD$26.23
MaximumNZD$93,840NZD$45.12
Bonus/TipNZD$2,606NZD$1.25
OvertimeN/AN/A
Total PayNZD$54,562 to NZD$96,446

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN INDIA?

Video Game Tester Salary IndiaPer YearPer Hour
MinimumINR121,469INR58.40
MaximumINR413,412INR198.76
Bonus/TipUp to INR45,000Up to INR21.63
OvertimeN/AN/A
Total PayINR121,469 to INR465,398

HOW MUCH DOES A VIDEO GAME TESTER MAKE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

Video Game Tester Salary South AfricaPer YearPer Hour
MinimumR171,438R82.42
MaximumR295,390R142.01
Bonus/TipR8,140R3.91
OvertimeN/AN/A
Total PayR171,438 to R303,530

2. EXPERIENCE

According to PayScale, salaries for beta testers in the United States run 29 percent above the national mean of $31,000. The National Careers Service reports that starting computer games testers in the United Kingdom earn between £15,000 and £20,000. Annual pay runs from £25,000 to £30,000 for “experienced” testers and up to £40,000 for highly-experienced ones.

SalaryExpert places the entry-level mean for Australia’s video game testers at AU$64,943. At the senior-level, mean pay increases to AU$111,989. Beta testers in New Zealand with one to three years of experience make NZD$54,462 and those with eight or more years achieve on average NZD$93,840.

Video game testers in South Africa see mean salaries of R171,438 on an entry-level basis. Those with at least eight years in testing make R295,390.

3. INDUSTRY

Game makers often hire testers as contract workers. Few companies offer full-time, regular jobs in the quality control of particular game development. These employers tend to be larger game publishing or entertainment companies that can staff full-time quality assurance departments. Providers of testing positions include companies that design games for video game consoles, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

SCHEDULE AND WORKING HOURS

Both full and part-time positions occupy the game testing field. According to the National Careers Service, testers in the United Kingdom can expect long hours, including evenings and weekends. These schedules often precede and are created by launch dates and deadlines, such as holiday sales or in conjunction with other promotions. In many cases, companies have purchased advertising and timed marketing campaigns for specific times or seasons. Video companies may offer many of these testing jobs on a temporary basis, with the work ending once the manufacture readies the game for sale. Therefore, it’s important that you bear this in mind before entering the field and are financially stable for these times.

BONUSES AND BENEFITS

PayScale puts the medical coverage rate for game testers in the United States at 62 percent. Approximately 57 percent get vision coverage, and 57 percent receive dental benefits. Almost seven out of ten game testers in India receive medical benefits, while only three percent have dental, and three percent have vision through their employment.

In India, game testers can earn bonuses up to INR45,000 and collect on average benefits of INR1,000 from profit-sharing. According to PayScale, profit-sharing proceeds for testers in the United States run $900 on a mean basis, while bonuses range from just over $89 to $29,361. However, PayScale reports mean bonuses of just C$19.50 for employees in Canada.

CAREER OUTLOOK

The popularity of video gaming, especially with mobile devices, translates to many opportunities for testers to find jobs and assignments. According to a January 2018 report from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, mobile downloads of games in India may more than double – specifically by 111 percent.

In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Australian game developers employed 832 workers, with six percent of those in quality assurance. The industry in Australia generated nearly AU$115 million. For the video game industry in the United States, revenues totaled more than $23 billion in 2017.

The United Kingdom ranks fifth globally in the gaming sector, with over 32 million players in 2017 yielding for companies $4.2 billion USD in revenue. North America, including the United States and Canada, holds second place in the world among markets for games.

Job availability may prove more abundant in certain areas, especially technology centers. California is home to 935 of the 3,090 game organizations in the United States. There’s never been a better time to engage in this field of work as technology is more in demand and advanced than ever before.

In South Africa, a survey revealed that 17 of the 52 respondent game companies were headquartered in Cape Town. Overall, South Africa had 255 video game industry jobs in 2015. Canada claimed 472 video game companies in 2016.

Beta game testing serves as an entry-level job in the industry. Those who accumulate experience may advance to positions such as supervisors or managers of quality control, marketing and, with additional education, training, and work, become designers or programmers.

THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR THIS FIELD OF WORK

As with any career, there are some flaws and things to consider before jumping into the field of work. Below are some of the most essential factors to bear in mind before applying for a job as a video game tester.

WORK LONG HOURS

It’s essential that you love to work as much as you love playing video games. Game companies have to meet tight deadlines, and as a video game tester, you’ll have to meet these strict deadlines and have a positive work ethic. Before a game is officially released, you’ll be working long hours in the prior months. Some employees rely on caffeine to stay awake during what is called ‘crunch time’. Although this field of work is fun for many, it can take a toll on your personal life, so expect that you won’t have as much spare time as you once did.

JOB SECURITY AND OPPORTUNITIES AREN’T THE BEST

Many game testers work long hours leading up to a game release, but there are then points throughout the year you aren’t needed. Therefore, you’ll need to be financially stable and ready for this commitment. Many testers work on a temporary or self-employed basis, so you typically won’t work full-time, consistently.

You’ll also find that it can be difficult to take the next step in your career as a video game tester. Opportunities for promotion are rare and you’ll have to stand out in your role as a tester in order to have an impact on the company. It is up to you to take a stance and use your downtime to expand your skills. Otherwise, it can be difficult to progress in this field.

IT CAN POTENTIALLY RUIN YOUR LOVE FOR GAMES

Yes, you heard right. By constantly playing games, you might become tired of the activity that you once loved. This is certainly different among multiple people, but you might find that mixing work and pleasure become a blur and you no longer wish to play video games after a long day of… playing video games. It’s possible to get burnt out from playing, your eyes get heavy and your fingers become tired.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you won’t always play games you enjoy and get to pick and choose which projects to work on. Therefore, it’s important that you’re flexible in your choice and have a large spectrum of games you engage with. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO ENTER THIS CAREER?

Job opportunities should prove ample for game testers as the video game industry enjoys significant growth. Mobile devices, such as smartphones contribute significantly to the number of games and platforms. Pay for game testers generally sits in the lower half among overall occupations. Experienced ones and those who land full-time jobs can fetch higher pay than those working on a contract basis. Video game testing can lead to careers as game or software designers.

With so many exciting possibilities that can lead on from this career, it’s never been a more right time to apply for the role as a video game tester. Although the pay is low compared to other occupations, job satisfaction can override this flaw. What are your thoughts on this career? Would you like to enter it or do you have prior experience as a tester? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

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