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Testing Video Games

Projected Income $50/hr
Costs to Start $500-$1,000
Time to Start 1 Month
Category Testing Products & Services

Our Side Hustles Breakdown

We recommend testing video games as a side hustle, especially for gaming enthusiasts. It allows you to merge your passion with profit. Key concern: Staying objective is crucial; it’s not just about enjoyment but finding bugs and giving constructive feedback.

cons-icon Cons

  • Repetitiveness: Might involve playing the same section multiple times to identify issues.
  • Critical Analysis Needed: It’s not just playing; detailed reporting is often required.
  • Potential Burnout: Playing games as a job might reduce recreational enjoyment of gaming.

pros-icon Pros

  • Do What You Love: Get paid to engage with your favorite pastime.
  • Insider Access: Play and test games before they’re released to the public.
  • Continuous Learning: Improve your gaming and analytical skills simultaneously.

Are you an avid gamer? Do you enjoy exploring every aspect of each game you play? You can use your gaming skills to make decent money by testing video games!

In this post, we cover everything you need to know about testing video games for money, from what the gig entails to how much it can earn you.

An Overview of Testing Video Games: A Primer

The last thing a video game studio wants is to have an angry crowd of gamers bashing their product on social media.

Since they work too closely with their games, studios need an objective view to catch the shortcomings of their products.

That’s where game testers come in.

As a game tester, you work with developers to ensure the game meets the community’s expectations. 

There are two types of testers: a quality assurance technician (QA) and a playtester.

A QA technician is what most people imagine when they think of game testers. You examine the game from a technical standpoint, identifying glitches and writing bug reports.

A playtester focuses on the user experience. They examine how fun the game is, whether it becomes boring at one point or if the level design is too complex.

How Much Can Testing Video Games Earn You?

Although the video game industry is one of the biggest industries in the world, game testers don’t make as much money as you might expect.

How much you’ll make depends on your experience, employer, and location. If you’re in the US/UK, expect to earn more than if you live in a country that doesn’t have a strong gaming culture.

For a newbie tester, you can make $30,000 to $41,000 per year. According to Glassdoor, once you gain experience in game testing, you can earn an average of $52,790 per year.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Side Hustle Testing Video Games?

You’re breaking into a tech-heavy industry. You want to invest in powerful tools that will last you a long time and help you stay ahead of the competition.

Gaming Device

As a tester, you want to play games on high settings so you can make a fair assessment. You want a mid-range to high-end PC that can handle modern graphics. Such computers cost around $900-1000.

If you want to focus on modern consoles, the new PS5 is around $500, while the Xbox Series X is $560.

Game Design Knowledge

Most of us can agree that the best way to become an efficient tester is to play numerous games. You’ll learn how to assess each one based on its objectives and user experience.

That said, you need to approach these games as a tester, not a player. Learning game design and conceptualization will help you gain a new perspective.

Don’t worry; we’re not asking you to pursue a degree in video game development. A Udemy game design course is enough to cover the fundamentals, and it’s around $297.

Technical Writing Courses

Reporting the shortcomings of a game to a studio isn’t as simple as sending an email of all the glitches you found. You have to write a proper report, which requires excellent technical writing skills.

A technical writing course can help you get used to the format so you can avoid miscommunication. Technical Writer HQ offers a comprehensive syllable for $299.

Where Can You Find Testing Video Games Gigs?

Finding video game testing gigs is the most exhausting part of the process. Where do you look? How do you know if you can trust online ads?

Where to Independently Find Gigs Testing Video Games

Want to be assertive and actively approach gaming companies for opportunities? Here’s what you can do:

  • Cold Outreach: Cold pitching is when you send a specific company an email, explaining why you would make a great addition to its team. Even if the addressed companies don’t require your services when you send your pitch, you’d be letting them know you’re available whenever there’s a vacancy.
  • Networking: Attending gaming events is a great networking opportunity, as you get to meet people who work in the industry. Even if you don’t secure potential gigs, you can get advice on how to build a proper portfolio or search for future gigs.
  • Job Boards: Sites like LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter have a large client base, giving you the chance to communicate with influential game companies and land high-paying gigs.
  • Relevant Groups/Forums: Think of online groups and forums as the digital equivalent of attending industry events. Not only can you find potential clients there, but you’d also be up to date on what the gaming industry expects from its testers.
  • Beta Testing Programs: The beta testing phase is when a game is almost ready for its release. Companies can have an open testing call where they make the game available for everyone to play and send their reviews.

Gig Economy Companies That Offer Gigs Testing Video Games

You can also land video game testing gigs via gig economy companies, including:

PlaytestCloud

PlaytestCloud is a veteran in the gaming industry. It’s been around since 2012, collaborating with the most influential video game companies in the industry, like Ubisoft and ZeptoLab.

That means you don’t have to worry about potential fraud. You can see how serious the platform is from the enrollment process.

You need to pass a testing trial to get accepted. Once you do, the website will alert you when there’s a suitable game-testing job for you.

Upwork

I’m sure you heard about Upwork at one point or another. It’s a good place to start a freelance game testing career, as it hosts a variety of big clients.

Landing gigs won’t be easy, though. You’ll find other video game testers competing with you. You’ll have to learn how to build an attractive portfolio.

Why You Should Consider Testing Video Games as a Side Hustle

Becoming a video game tester comes with several advantages, including:

  • No Need for Formal Education: Studios don’t care about your level of education. You can still find video game testing jobs if you don’t have a college degree.
  • Enjoyment: If you’re a die-hard gamer, getting paid to play video games would be a dream come true. You’d be using the skills you’ve developed from a hobby to make decent money.
  • Various Employment Prospects: Testing games can be a stepping stone toward breaking into the gaming industry. You can use the knowledge you’ve acquired in this job to become a game developer, an animator, etc.

Problems With Testing Video Games

While it can be enjoyable, testing games isn’t about playing around and having fun. It’s a job, after all. Here are a few challenges you might face:

  • It’s Expensive: Not only do you have to buy an expensive PC, but you also have to constantly upgrade it to keep up with modern games’ requirements. That will hurt your wallet.
  • You Get the Blame: If you make a mistake, you get all the backlash. While the game designers will receive some of that heat, most of it will fall on you.
  • Not Always Enjoyable: Studios make games that appeal to different audiences. Keep in mind you won’t always enjoy the games you’re testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is game testing easy?

It’s not. Most people think game testers sit around playing games all day. That’s not the job, though. As a game tester, you need to evaluate every little detail in the entire game to ensure you don’t miss any glitches.

Is video game testing a good side hustle?

It depends on your priorities. If you want money, it’s probably not the right choice for you. If you want to get into the gaming industry, it can be a good first step.

Ask a Question About Testing Video Games?

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