How to Become a Game Tester

Last updated: 7/1/2024
8 minutes read

Want to find out how to become a game tester and embark on a career of playing new games? Here’s everything that you need to know about embarking on a career as a games tester.

Do you love playing video games? Have you experienced a diverse array of top-quality and lesser titles over the years? Are you intrigued by the nuts and bolts that make the best experiences? Well, becoming a video game tester might just be the career for you.

Of course, you may not have even known that being a game tester was a viable job, let alone knowing how to go about applying for it. You might be wondering how much does a game tester get paid? Or what skills do you need to start a career in testing games?

So, we’re here to let you in on all of the intricacies of this relatively new and novel job. Below, you’ll find answers to all of your questions about how to become a game tester.

If the title caught your eye, but you still don’t quite know what the job entails, don’t worry; we have you covered as well.

What Is A Video Game Tester?

When you think about how to become a videogame tester, you likely picture putting in hours of working through games to explore all of the points of interest.

While spread across several different roles, that’s essentially what being a tester for game studios is: performing a form of quality control.

A game tester is given some or all of a game by a development studio and has to check it for errors, from MMORPG games to war games and everything in between.

This all tends to happen before a product is released, in pre-alpha, alpha, and often through the beta stages of development. Aspects like glitches, bugs, visuals, programming issues, and errors are all tested in this job.

There are several different types of game testers, so first, rather than asking how to become a game tester, you should ask: what kind of game tester do I want to become?

Here are the different tasks within the game testing realm, and some that skew a bit more towards quality assurance:

  • Black-box
  • Compatibility Testing: You need to test if the game works as it should on multiple platforms.
  • Compliance Testing: You need to check that instructions and messages comply with the guidelines of the given platform.
  • Functionality Testing: You need to find bugs, glitches, defects and check if features are well-integrated. This is the primary deployment of a video game tester.
  • Focus Group Testing: You’re part of a group that plays the game and discusses its strengths and weaknesses.
  • General Testing: You need to review the game’s usability and performance, sometimes through closed beta tests or prior to these.
  • Localization Testing: You need to check the text and audio to ensure that it comes across as intended in your specialized regions, and may need to apply language changes where needed.

For the most part, unless you live locally to one of the larger game development studios, game testers work from home.

You’ll receive instructions of what needs testing and how, such as a feature or paths on different difficulty levels, and will be expected to complete all of the testing within the allocated time frame.

What’s The Difference Between A Game Tester And Quality Assurance?

The role of a game tester has you testing the overall experience of a section in a game and giving feedback. Much of what quality assurance (QA) does can overlap on the side of quality control, but QA examines from the more technical side, exploring code and writing bug reports.

Making a living by testing games

How To Become A Game Tester: Skills Needed

Naturally, if you want to know how to become a game tester, you need to know if you have the skills expected of an applicant. Do you need to have so many years of hands-on gaming experience? Or do you need to know the technical intricacies of game development?

The answer to both is: not really.

Very much an entry-level job in the gaming industry, you don’t require any particular skills to become a game tester. That said, if you have any of the following skills and can demonstrate them, you’ll be in a good place:

  • Strong concentration, attention to detail, and commitment to repetitive tasks.
  • Understanding what quality control and quality assurance aim to achieve.
  • Ability to be flexible with working hours but also work in tight timeframes.
  • Excellent organisational skills, ability to work methodically and explore problems from multiple angles.
  • Very good writing to relay thoughts and feedback in a clear-cut, understandable report.
  • An eye for detail, being able to look beyond the gameplay and explore the surrounding content.
  • Deep knowledge of the modern gaming market, previous video games, existing gaming hardware, and some technical understanding.

So, if you want to know how to become a game tester, you can start by running simulations on your own games. When you practice this, explore where the game doesn’t lead you and make a note of what you notice.

Also, set yourself time limits to complete missions and test them thoroughly.

What Do You Need To Become A Game Tester?

A common question for those who want to explore how to become a videogame tester, the main answer is: a strong work ethic and gaming knowledge. As you learn the ropes, you’ll learn the skills, but a degree or quality control and assurance experience does help.

How To Become A Game Tester: How To Get A Job

The best way to get a job as a tester is to look out for job listings online. By searching “game tester” or “test” in the search engines of the sites below, you can see how to become a game tester with a studio:

How Long Does It Take To Become A Game Tester?

Timeframe is one of the main questions for people looking into how to become a video game tester. You’ll find, as long as you have the skills, it doesn’t take long for you to work out how to become a game tester. It’s an entry-level job with little experience needed.

How To Become A Game Tester: Is It A Good Career?

Naturally, if you’re checking out guides on how to become a game tester, you already think that it’ll be a decent career.

If you think that you have the patience and attention to detail required of anyone seeking how to become a game tester, you’ll likely find it to be a good career. Perhaps more importantly, though, it gets your foot in the door.

Game testing is an entry-level job that requires little by way of experience but does offer a great learning opportunity. By testing games in their pre-release form, you’ll learn what goes into a game as well.

If you apply yourself and do plenty of further reading into the technical side of game creation, you’ll also develop tangible skills for the industry.

As such, you’ll shift from learning how to become a game tester to learning how to branch out into other aspects of the video game industry.

At the base level, you’ll get to play lots of games, get paid to do so, and mostly work your own flexible hours. That said, if you want to get to grips with the role and truly learn how to be a game tester of high quality, you will need to embrace the technical side early.

As you test more, you’ll make more contacts within the industry.

You need to be committed, pick up the system of quality control and assurance quickly, and provide good communications and reports.

If you do and continue to develop your knowledge and skills, your aim of how to become a game tester may be your first stepping stone into the gaming industry.

How Much Do Game Testers Get Paid?

Now that you know what’s required of the role, you’re probably wondering if the money is worth you learning how to become a game tester.

As a new tester, you can look at between $8 and $14 per hour for the most part, but sometimes higher based on local minimum wage laws.

As you become a game tester of a high standard, you could then look at fixed wage jobs. If you accumulate three years of experience or more, you can aim for jobs offering $38,000 per year, likely with a more advanced, in-studio role.

How Old Do I Have To Be To Be A Game Tester?

The vast majority of companies that are looking for video game testers are looking for adults. So, 18-years-old tends to be the minimum age of a game tester.

However, now that you know how to become a game tester, even if you’re looking for jobs a bit early, you can refine your skills with practice and research at home.

Time to Get Going

Now that you know everything that there is on how to become a game tester, the only thing left for us to do is wish you luck in your job search!