Video game testing plays a crucial role in the development of new video games. Game testers put games through the paces while still in development and when finished, to ensure gamers have a good experience. Game testers conduct video game QA, or quality assurance, finding mistakes, bugs and other problems that could annoy or turn off the gaming community if they’re not fixed.
Don’t let the word “game” in this job title fool you. Video game testing is a serious job. If you think it involves whiling away the hours playing the latest games, think again. Video game testing can be as tedious and frustrating as any job. It requires an organized, disciplined approach to product testing and not just finding new ways to score high or beat the game.
Video game testers must have lots of patience, be methodical in their approach and have a keen eye for details. They must be good communicators and have some understanding of computer hardware and software. And, of course, it helps to have awesome controller skills and the hand-eye coordination needed to navigate through multiple levels of increasing challenges. Yes, being good at video games is helpful to video game testers (but not absolutely necessary)!
What’s the need for video game testers? What are a video game tester’s responsibilities? How do you become a video game tester? Read on to find out.
The Need for Video Game Testers
Bringing a new video game to market costs millions of dollars and takes many months. From concept to final testing and marketing, creating a new video game requires the time, energy and talent of multiple people with many different skills. Writers create characters and premises and illustrators bring them to life. Animators take over from there while code writers work behind the scenes creating the virtual world in which the characters live and the rules they live by. Hardware specialists ensure the game controllers for the given system provide an accurate interface between the video game’s virtual world and the gamer.
The video game tester is involved early and often in this process, ferreting out problems that arise along the way. The game tester must be part of the development team, as some bugs that arise can stop the process in its tracks until they’re solved. The game tester helps find such fatal bugs early, so that others can fix the problems before they compound.
Video game testers often work on “alpha” or early versions of the game. Testing this version is aimed at finding and fixing major, fatal flaws early. Missing a major flaw can be very costly to the video game creator. The earlier, or deeper the flaw, the more additional code will be built upon it and the harder it’ll be to fix it later in the process. For this reason, video game testers who are skilled at approaching the game from various angles are a vital part of the development team.
Video game creators take testing seriously, as a bugged game can cost them. A game with bugs that a company must recall is a costly venture, and not just in dollars [source: Ezine articles].
For example, Madden NFL 2008, a hugely popular game series had fans complaining about numerous bugs and even labeling it “unplayable” [source: ConsumerAffairs.com]. Hardware problems, such as the alleged crashing problem cited in a now settled lawsuit against Microsoft’s Xbox 360, can also take a bite out of company profits [source: Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog].
Fan feedback on the Internet can do irreparable damage to a company’s brand. For these reasons, competent video game testing is crucial to game creators.
For more Detail: How Video Game Testers Work