What are career options for a QA game tester?

9 min readDec 24, 2020

51Testing | Software Testing Service Provider |Friday, 25th Dec. 2020

For most of us, we get confused sometimes about our career path. This is similar for game testers. So what are career options for a QA game tester?

What will you get in this article?

  • What is game testing?
  • What are the differences between game testers and game players?
  • What are the differences between game testers and software testers?
  • What are career options for a QA game tester?
what are career options for a QA game tester?-51testing
what are career options for a QA game tester?-51testing

What is game testing?

Game testing can be seen as a branch of the software testing industry. Its primary purpose is the same as traditional software testing, which is to discover and record game bugs during the game development process.

As the adjustment of the development model, the game testing pattern will also be adjusted accordingly. There are two most common patterns, one is in agile development, where software testing is involved in each development process, testers can give acceptance feedback quickly and monitor the process. the other is software testing outsourcing, test will be conducted only in the specific completion stage of the product, such as the software testing service provided by 51Testing.

What are the differences between game testers and game players?

Many people mistakenly think that “game testing is playing games”, in fact, there are differences between the game tester and game player. Some people holding this point only saw the most important testing method in the game testing process, that is, functional testing. But even the functional test itself is fundamentally different from the game players playing games. Game players are encountering problems, and game testing is purposeful to find problems.

the differences between game tester and game player-51testing
the differences between game tester and game player-51testing

1. In terms of motivation, the purpose of game players is to experience and enjoy the game, while game tester is with clear goals and responsibilities.

2. In terms of behavior, the behavior of game players is conducted in accordance with the game guidelines or personal habits, while the game test is to think about and analyze the items to be tested. After designing the test steps, it is deliberately performed. The most common is to Do some wrong operations and see how the program responds.

3. In terms of skill, game players only need one device to be able to download and install the game while the game tester needs to master the necessary testing methods and tools and build a designated testing environment.

4. In terms of results, after the game player has experienced the game, the main point of sharing and communication is the game experience and strategy experience, while the game tester needs to summarize the problems found, and communicate with the developer, locate the cause, solve the problem, and finally verify that the problem is actually fixed.

What are the differences between game testing and software testing?

The difference between game testing and software testing is more in the aspect of appearance or process. We can regard game testing as a sub-category of software testing. It inherits the characteristics of the parent category of software testing and has some new features of its own.

In general, the difference between game testing and software testing is mainly reflected in the following points.

the differences between game testing and software testing-51testing
the differences between game testing and software testing-51testing

We will talk about each point in detail in the following content.

  • UI&UE

Relatively speaking, UI&&UE is not the most important in games and software testing, but they are indeed the most intuitive part for users and testers, and they are also the most concerned by “non-professionals”, especially in the game industry. For most software, the importance of UI&&UE is not as high as that of games. In most cases, it is difficult to experience the joy and interest when we use software to complete a task. But the game is not the case. In the process of playing the game, pleasure and interest are crucial. If these elements are losing, users may be lost instantly, which means that the game has failed.

  • Numerical value

The numerical value is very important to games. Whether it is a console game or an online game, players attach great importance to the value increment of their characters. Any mistakes may lead to user complaints or even loss. Another aspect is that the coupling between the functions of the game is very high, and the values are inextricably linked. Therefore, in the process of testing, we need to pay attention to the various effects of each value change. However, the coupling degree between software functions is not so high. In many cases, the values of each function are relatively independent. For example, a lot of software that displays the boot speed, when the user turns on the computer, will prompt the user how many percent of the boot speed has beaten other users. As for 20% or 25%, it may not make much difference to the user. But the game is not the case. For example, the current combat power of a character is 1000, and the next time the player logs in, it becomes 999. It is only a gap of 1, however, the player may call the customer service angrily to question.

  • Event

There are many events held in some software, but in games, events are more frequent. Therefore, it may receive more attention during the test, especially online games. The test of game events pays more attention to time and resource output, such as opening time, closing time, and resource output probability. The opening and closing and output of an event have been announced to the player in advance, any mistakes will cause dissatisfaction with the players. Moreover, one event may be followed by another event immediately, and any error may result in greater losses.

  • Progress

In software development and testing, delays are very common. However, due to the entertainment factors of the game, a great number of investments have been involved in the early stage. All kinds of advertising and promotions will be affected by the delay. Therefore, as the last link before the product release, game testes must control strictly the version process to ensure that the game can be delivered on time.

  • Tools

Game testing relies on more testing tools. As the player’s values and character status are very different, various test data are required to simulate the user’s status as much as possible. To produce these data, the testing tools will be helpful. What’s more, an operation to test the testing tool to ensure the testing tool itself is correct is necessary for game testing, which is rare in traditional software testing.

  • Performance

Performance testing is also very important for games. Whether on desktop or mobile devices, any game lag will make players feel disgusted. During game testing, more attention is paid to the usage of the client-side storage and CPU to ensure that the game can run smoothly. For online games, server-side performance is also very important. A good online game requires the server to be able to run stably and lastingly. Due to the great difference in users’ devices, especially mobile devices, we must ensure that the performance of the client meets our expected standards so that more players can play our games.

  • Security

Security is very important to software and games. But as far as games are concerned, it is a matter of life and wealth, and many games have died of rampant plug-ins. Moreover, the interaction between the client-side and the server-side of the game is very frequent, so data security is more prominent. Anti-plug-in is an important part that game testers must always take cautiously and seriously.

  • Server merge

This may be a unique feature of the game. Sometimes there are fewer users on the server. In order to give players a better gaming experience, it is necessary to merge several groups of servers into one group. In the process of the server merge, it is necessary to ensure that the data information of all users in the original server and the target server is not confused. Involving all aspects of user data and information, the complexity is also relatively high, so it may require testers to test carefully. After ensuring that the test is correct, the server merge can be officially started.

  • Interaction

Generally, large fun in online games comes from the interaction between players. And this feature is rare in traditional software. The more frequent the player interaction, the higher the degree of interaction of the data, the complex transformation and mutual influence between the data need our attention.

  • Network

The Internet is essential for online games. The real-time interaction of games is relatively high, and the pain of sudden Internet disconnection during the game is unbearable. The test requirements for the network are relatively high because different users may use different network operators whose network signals are different in different regions, and even switch between different networks during the movement may influence the result. All these require us to carefully test. Only in this way can we try our best to ensure the best user experience under different network conditions.

Generally speaking, a game tester needs to master some basic testing skills, but from a long-term perspective, other job skills are also what game testers need to learn and master.

skills that game testers need to master-51testing
skills that game testers need to master-51testing

What are career options for a QA game tester?

In fact, there are several career options for game testers. and the most important is to determine what you can do and what you like to do.

  • Manager

This is the route that most testers would be longing for (test supervisor or test team leader). Of course, to be a manager, you will be under more responsibilities: the arrangement of test plan of the whole project, the formulation of the test strategy, the control of the test progress, the settlement of various problems that occurred in each test module, and the maintenance of versions, etc. The above listed is about the functional testing, as a manager, you have to think about how to optimize the testing method, how to arrange the work of testers, when to arrange cross-testing, when to conduct use case review, and the arrangement of use case coverage. In some companies, test supervisors also need to master security testing, performance testing, compatibility testing, test environment construction, etc.

  • Senior game tester

You can keep working as a technical engineer which requires learning one or more programming languages, be familiar with the overall architecture of the system, and be familiar with the front-end engine. If you have mastered the above skills, then you are a qualified senior tester. Of course, people with this ability can basically work as a program developer.

  • Planner

System planner: Testers who are interested in game playability planning generally end up with system planning.

Script planner: For those who like code, or those who have the ability to code, it’s not bad to switch to a planner. However, many companies do not have full-time script planner, or there is no need to plan and write scripts for the project.

  • Programmer

Back-end: Work on server architecture with the main programmer. Of course, this requires a certain amount of architecture experience and solid code basic skills, which cannot realize in one or two years. However, you can start with writing module logic to realize the function of the module.

Front-end: Learn about the implementation of the engine. This is similar to the architecture. The requirements are relatively high. Generally, testers who have just transferred into this position will not be exposed to these functions. But you can start with some basic front-end code: layout, rendering layer processing, data processing, etc.

  • Operations Engineer

Familiar with the overall project environment, the operating system environment, firewall, CDN, and Nginx required for the operation of the project server.

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

Before determining your career direction, you can conduct a self-assessment through the following three aspects: business skills, professional skills, and management skills. After determining the direction of your career, the most important thing to do is to evaluate what areas you need to improve, and to develop a self-growth learning plan for these “bugs”. In this way, it is useful to understand the career direction of a game tester.




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