Getting paid to play video games for a living?! Dream job right? Think again bucko. More like a nightmare. The gaming industry may seem like every kid’s (or adult’s) dream to work in, but the realities are far from the epically glamorous power fantasies that gaming publishers produce. So before you send that CV to every studio you can find on Linkedin, let’s break down 5 realities of being a Quality Assurance playtester. 

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You will melt.

It’s Actually Super Boring

 

Much of the testing that QA folks do is extremely tedious. Jumping in the same spot dozens of times or spending hours and hours entering and exiting a multiplayer lobby or reconfiguring your internet and then seeing if the game still works are de rigueur for game testers.

It Ruins Other Games

 

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Oh you like gaming? That's adorable.

Doing something all day kind of kills your will to pick it up again after work. Some QA testers abandon gaming entirely because they’re so burnt out from playing aka doing the same thing in a game over and over. When a playtester does actually pick up a controller or mouse again, they sometimes find they’re so overly critical of whatever they’re playing, that it ruins the experience entirely. 

The Pay Sucks

 

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I mean, you probably would still have keys or your phone in your pockets, but you get the point.

Not a surprise here, but pay for QA testers has not kept up with inflation. Some gaming companies will pay people a living wage, but for many companies, it’s minimum wage. And that’s only for actual QA professionals. A lot of the playtesting that’s done in the industry is on a volunteer basis and doesn’t pay any money at all.

Toxic Industry

 

It’s an open secret that the gaming industry can be super toxic. High profile lawsuits like the one recently embroiling California Senator Gavin Newsom show just how bad the behavior of some gaming companies can be towards their employees. Sexual harassment and all kinds of discrimination are a horrible plague to us all and the gate-keeping and high pressure environment of the gaming industry doesn’t always foster a healthy workplace. 

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