It’s Not a Job I’ve Wanted

IGN has a couple pages about what it’s like to be a QA tester in the video game industry. The lede:

What gamer hasn’t dreamed about playing games for a living? While this may seem like a great career, and a cool way to get a first job in the games business, the truth is less appealing.

Although the testers cited in the article grouse a lot about the things that make any employer a bad employer from a testing employee’s (or contractor’s) perspective, one element is even worse: The pay is crap.

Because, face it, it’s the kind of job that naive cannon fodder will throw itself at for the very reason listed in the lede: Testing games all day sounds like a lot of fun until you realize that it’s the same tedium as running the same test cases against a piece of database connector software except with better graphics. As long as that fantasy lives, kids will come along and accept that ten dollar an hour wage to do it.

It’s kind of like writing Internet humor. You think it sounds like fun or it might be a springboard to something else, but mostly it’s what it is and leads to more of the same if you’re lucky.

So although I’m not against working on games, it’s for my rate of pay, not a sweatshop’s.

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