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How to Become a Video Game Beta Tester

Omkar Phatak
Testing is an essential step in game development. Therefore, the new alternative career of a video game beta tester has emerged. For information and tips on how to go about becoming one, read on.
Beta testing, is testing the prototype of a software before its release as a product. What if somebody told you, that you will be given an opportunity to play the latest video games, which no one has played before and get paid for it too? Sounds too good to be true, does it? It is actually true. This is the dream job for any gamer.
If you absolutely love gaming and can truly appreciate the finer points of what makes a good game, then video game beta testing is the dream career for you.
With the gaming field swelling into a 50 billion dollar industry, the opportunities it offers are huge. Before a new game is launched, the game developers need an opinion from some representatives of the gaming community about how good it is or if it sucks.
They need people, who not only like playing games but keenly observe all of its features. The game that is given for testing is in 'beta' phase, that is, it is not the finished product. It is a rough cut or a prototype of what will finally reach the community. Let us see how you can get the gaming companies to recruit you and what is expected from a tester.

Video Game Beta Testing Career

Just like any software company requires testers to test their latest software programs, before they can launch them in the market, game developers require testers too. There is a lot of difference between software applications and games, if you consider the target audience.
Software applications have a very specific and usually small target audience, while games are played by a much wider audience. Therefore, they need an opinion about their product, from the length and breadth of the gaming public. So, they outsource this evaluation job to the public. This is where you have a great career opportunity.
There is no formal training for this job. In earlier days, it was tough to get onto the beta testing bench for a gaming company. Recruitment generally happened through a closed circuit of contacts. Nowadays, it's much simpler.
All that you have to do is, get in touch with the companies and let them know that you are interested in beta testing for them. Companies that develop games for Playstation, Xbox, and pure game developers like Sega and Disney, can be your target companies for the job.
Mail your resume, which lists your educational details, gaming experience as well as beta testing experience, if any. You will be sent a copy of the latest beta version copies of the game, which need testing, along with detailed instructions about what is expected from you.
A feedback form is also supplied which you must fill in detail, after you have evaluated the game and submit it online. Your paychecks are also mailed to you, within a week.
Keeping yourself updated with the latest developments in the gaming world, is very important. You need to train yourself for the job and for that, you need to tirelessly play all the new games that come out in the market.
It helps, if you are into software development yourself and are familiar with the procedure for software testing. Remember that it is the beta version and it is not going to be very sleek, as sometimes the graphics are still to be given a finishing touch.
What you have to primarily check for is, bugs and anomalies in the functioning of all the promised features. It goes without saying, that you have to be good at playing video games. You have to play and clear every level of the game play. Sometimes, a level even needs to be tested repeatedly.
There are many factors which need to be checked. The graphic features, the logic of game play, the various accessories available and so on. You have to give an opinion on the overall look and feel of the game background score, the special effects, the graphic dynamics, and synchronization.
Instead of just labeling features as good or bad, specific suggestions about how a thing could be improved, are always welcome. Give a detailed and systematic list of bugs that you find. Precise and constructive criticism is what is needed. If you do your job well, your next assignment is bound to be on its way.
So, take advantage of this career opportunity and become a game tester. Enjoy gaming seriously and help make it a better experience. What's more, earn some big bucks too. As you can see, contrary to what elders advice, gaming is not entirely a waste of time, after all.