Many people are now aware that game tester jobs do not mean you simply sit around at home and play games. Nevertheless, it is a great way to get your feet into the game industry. As a matter of fact, many of us started as a tester and later on became an engineer or a designer.
After researching on what a game tester actually does, you may be wondering how much you can make as a freelance game tester.
Game tester salaries vary because not all of these jobs are created equal. Some companies treat their testers as second-rate employees and compensate them accordingly. Other companies treat testers better. They are considered as important partners in developing stable, fun, and bug-free video games.
From our observation, companies that consider testers as an essential part of the development team are likely to give better pay. The companies that consider the testing team as a separate group are likely to pay less. Moreover, they require a contract and the job may not be permanent.
As an overview, salaries for game tester jobs start at around $18,000 and the highest is around $55,000 a year for experienced testers. However, remember that many companies offer testing jobs as temporary positions. This means the company may not pay for applicable employment taxes and not provide health insurance and other benefits that permanent employees receive.
Factors on Game Tester Salary
- Experience – like most jobs, the salary of a tester will increase according to their years of experience. Experienced testers find and report bugs faster with higher accuracy. They also acquire powerful instincts regarding game systems, platforms, and engines. They can locate problems more effectively than those who are just starting.
- Game testing as “non-exempt” position – this means that testers are not getting salaries like other employees on the game development team. Game testers are instead paid an hourly rate and should be paid overtime as necessary. It may sound great at first since you can make lots of extra money when you work overtime during crunch time. However, a manager should pre-approve overtime. Some projects are on a limited budget, so overtime is sometimes denied.
- Full-time temporary employment (FTT) or full-time employment (FTE) – in general, FTE positions have more benefits than FTT workers. Moreover, FTT positions may not receive team bonuses and other perks. When you are checking out different companies, determine whether they are FTE or FTT. If you are uncertain, you can ask for a “total compensation statement” from a human resources representative.
Other Factors That Can Affect Game Tester Salary
- Company size – bigger companies usually have bigger budgets, which enable them to pay testers higher salaries.
- Benefits – some companies provide their testers with vision, dental, health, and other benefits. These benefits can tally up to thousands of dollars every year.
- Bonus pay – some companies include testers in their project or team bonus plans.
Your love for video games can be turned into a job by being a freelance game tester. Game tester jobs provide you the opportunity to spend all day playing unreleased games while you finish your degree or get industry experience.