- May 16, 2018
Video games don’t just make themselves. Behind most successful games is a talented team of designers, developers, and project managers. (I say “most” because a few games have been created from the ground up by a single person - Flappy Bird being one of them) But have you ever wondered who actually tests these games? Game developers also hire an army of beta testers to try out games before they are released to the public.
The task of beta testing is immense. Testers need to explore every nook and cranny of a game, test every feature, and every combination of commands. Sometimes, beta testers are tasked with “breaking” the game. No, they don’t set out to literally destroy the game. Broken means employing strategies that are so overpowered they break the balance of the game. Armed with this info, the development team can tweak the balance of the game, making it fair (and fun) for everyone.
Beta testers can sometimes function as a focus group, but as far as I know, testers are there to spot defects buried deep in the game. Releasing a game with loads of bugs can prove disastrous to the game company, which is why it places a lot of value on these beta testers. And you can probably see where I’m going with this.
Paid beta testing jobs are a great way to earn. You can make quite a bit of cash doing beta testing games for various companies. There are even beta tester marketplaces that connect individuals to companies. With mobile, console, and PC gaming experiencing a massive upswing in the number of games produced and earnings, now’s a good time to give beta testing a shot.
To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of seven sites you can check out for beta testing jobs. But first let’s talk about what the job entails.
What Will My Tasks be as a Beta Tester?
To put it simply, whatever the game developer asks you to do. The tasks may differ from game to game (and even developer to developer).
You may be tasked with finding bugs in the game. This includes spotting bugs that the game does on its own, such as tallying up points the wrong way, or freezing up in random places. This could also include spotting troublesome or laggy controls, missing frames, and inconsistent gameplay.
Overall, you will have to find out what’s wrong in the game. It’s a huge responsibility, and a game company’s in-house team is often ill-equipped to spot all of a games’ bugs. That’s why the place great value on beta testers.
Is it a Fun Job?
If you’re into gaming, hell yeah! I’m an avid gamer myself, and it’s awesome to try out games before they’re released to the public. But do take note that these are not the final versions of the game yet. They’re often buggy and incomplete, which is why you’re testing them in the first place. I enjoy playing a part in the game development process, no matter how small my role is in the grand scheme of things.
If you’re not a gamer, working as a beta tester is still fun. But I would recommend you try out some of the more popular games just so you get a feel for what a final game is like. And it doesn’t even have to be some console game with deep gameplay; you can try mobile games, which are more casual-friendly. But overall, I’d say the main job requirements are a great eye for detail and the ability to learn quickly.
Sounds Awesome! Where do I Sign Up?
Okay, here’s that list of websites where you can look for beta testing work. I’ve tried most of these in my long, illustrious career as a game tester. Each of these sites is a good place for you to start. But note that some of these sites focus on a particular type of gaming (such as mobile), so use the site relevant to your own interests.
This site is part of Panelpolls, which solicits feedback on a wide range of topics. Panelpolls has been around since 1999, making it one of the pioneers in the industry. With iGameLab, Panelpolls expanded its reach to beta testing.
Through iGameLab, you can test online and mobile games, as well as virtual reality environments, apps, and websites. You can make around $10 to $15 as an active member of iGameLab.
Most of the games they put up for testing are suitable for casual gamers. If you’re a newbie gamer, iGameLab is a great place to start.
Sign Up With iGameLab
Erlibird focuses on mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Since their founding in 2012, Erlibird has helped test over 1,500 products. These products aren’t limited to apps, however. They also beta test websites, desktop apps, and other tech products.
Sign Up With Erlibird
Betabound is one of the more beginner-friendly beta testing hiring sites I’ve found. They emphasize that there is no need for tech or programming background. I appreciate that, because beta testing can be a bit intimidating for people without prior experience.
That said, they’ve got some heavy-hitters in tech and entertainment as clients. That client list includes names such as Disney, Amazon , Adobe, AOL, Apple, Dell, DreamWorks, GoPro, HP, and Netflix.
Sign Up With Betabound
Beta Family is another site dedicated to Android and iOS apps. The apps for testing go beyond games. Here, you’ll find a wide range of apps from travel to entertainment to health.
What I like about this site is all the apps available for testing are laid-out for you to pick from. You won’t have to sit around hoping a company contacts you for available beta testing gigs.
Sign Up With Beta Family
I doubt that you’d end up empty-handed looking through the four sites I’ve listed above. But if you’d like other options, you can check out gaming forums for leads. In particular, I would recommend you hang out in the Developer Beta Testing sub-forum on Android Central and Beta Testing sub-forum of Tech Advisor.
Forums are actually a great place to look, because developers sometimes post there directly. You rarely have to deal with middlemen when getting work through the boards. But take note, you may have to provide credentials to potential game companies. So this isn’t a beginner-friendly route.
Contact the Game Companies Directly
If you can’t find beta testing gigs that appeal to you, you can always try contacting the game developers directly. There’s no harm or risk trying, so why not give it a go?
This technique actually worked for me once. I was a big fan of a particular game developer, and knew they had a game coming up. Since I couldn’t find postings for beta testing jobs for that game, I decided to try my luck. I contact them directly, and they actually had an opening! But that was a one in a million chance. But who knows? You might have the same luck as me.
The Verdict: Legit or Scam?
All these sites and techniques are legit ways to earn money doing beta testing! Beta testing is a fulfilling way to make money, and I highly recommend you give it a try!
This review is based on my own experiences beta testing games. Now it’s your turn to share! How have you given this a shot? What games did you test, and how did you find the job?
Let’s hear your stories!
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