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(SFGate)   Video game tester makes $40K a year, but can work up to 106 hours a week   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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14932 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Mar 2003 at 7:02 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

170 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-03-05 08:35:48 PM  
No, I'll just roll my eyes and lok at you funny. ;-)
2003-03-05 08:36:14 PM  
40K is ok in Bay Area. Rents have come way down since dot-bomb days. Currently a studio or maybe a 1bedroom can be had for 1k/month in San Francisco. Rent control limits increases to about 2.7% a yr. Without student loan or other debt, ya can live like a human!
I worked at Sega around 1994 in tech support. We were paid $8./hr. Most tech sup jobs now are $9-$12/hr. We had a game console in front of us, but phones had to be answered every minute without let up. Each worker was tracked on calls per minute and any idle time. Just game testing woulda had me stay. Everybody on the phones wanted that.
BTW, overtime pay is a given. Strong unions and employment law in the BayArea, even for indy contractors(common). With tech salaries WAY down and unemployment high around here, that 40k is farkin' good, dudes. Lots of very experienced people are working retail-think SuckBucks for $9./hr.
2003-03-05 08:36:25 PM  
look, I mean... look.
2003-03-05 08:38:01 PM  
Case in point, I doubt any guy would ever say that. :-)
2003-03-05 08:39:21 PM  
Chess_the_cat On both computer and console games bugs are waived. This means the testers found it and reported it but they decided that they would fix it later in a patch (for PC games) or just ship it flawed (console). Testers are only human and there will be things that slip through the cracks, but chances are if you find a bug the testers found it and nothing was done about it. It sucks becasue the public always says things like "testers must be farking blind to have missed this". Yet another reason testing isn't the the great job it seems to be.
2003-03-05 08:41:51 PM  
GuyD soooo, am I a chick RL?
2003-03-05 08:42:25 PM  
Yes, but can they bioport in yet?
2003-03-05 08:42:35 PM  
Toriko - Isn't that the truth. I had to fight for my bugs. They loved resolving bug as "Won't Fix".
2003-03-05 08:44:37 PM  
GuyD I hated 'Waived NAB' (not a bug) or 'Waived by design' Ok.. so you're telling me the player -isn't- supposed to have collision? Ok... thanks.
2003-03-05 08:49:00 PM  
Toriko - And yes, a very pretty girl too. :-)

Told ya I have sisters and girlfriends. ;-)
2003-03-05 09:00:05 PM  
Bunch O' Noids.
2003-03-05 09:09:37 PM  
Yeah,Bowser Clerks has been on too much lately.
2003-03-05 09:11:41 PM  
it would be nice to be a beta tester for ID right now. maybe i could get my hands on a copy of doom 3
2003-03-05 09:12:48 PM  
Anybody else hate Ernst Adams or is that just me?
2003-03-05 09:21:21 PM  
This link might work for you, check it out:​pg
2003-03-05 09:22:42 PM  
Hehe Toriko.
Where'd you work that had to employ 150 testers?
2003-03-05 09:25:02 PM  
Toriko that Jiji on dem shoes? ^_^
2003-03-05 09:28:10 PM  
I tested hardcore for the They Hunger series for Manke. Then I got smart and got paid for it. Then I got moved into development. $50K/year for 40/week ain't bad :)
2003-03-05 09:28:30 PM  
In SoCal... hrm.... let's guess....

I think Interplay had close to that at their peak. Maybe EA Pacific.

To my knowledge Blizzard has never had that many testers, at least not in one facility.

I think there's also an EA facility up in LA, but I'm not sure.

I don't know if Midway down here in SD ever had that many people... they'd be the only ones that I can think of that would have.

So I'm going to guess one of the EA offices. Or maybe Activision. It'd have to be a fairly major player (lots o' titles at once) to have that many people.
2003-03-05 09:31:29 PM  
They tested for the free mod, kid_at?
Those were a good series of mods for halflife..the first two at least..didn't care for the third one.
2003-03-05 09:35:25 PM  
I dun wanna say who I work for lest my arse get fired. I can safely say we are planning on hiring 200 - 250 testers in this office this year.

PS. jiji? Is that some refernce I'm missing or that my brain has forgotten about?
2003-03-05 09:36:29 PM  
If you are the test lead, does that make you the Master Beta Tester?

budum bum pshhhh
2003-03-05 09:38:21 PM  
Toriko, Jiji, from Kiki's Delivery's an anime, by Miyazaki.

[image from too old to be available]

BeerChillerGuy the link doesn't work..needs a password or something.
2003-03-05 09:39:42 PM  
Kyoryu all good guesses. All wrong. =)
2003-03-05 09:40:35 PM  
Try this:

2003-03-05 09:41:28 PM  
Myself, i am guessing Verant.. that many testers, it's surely for a massive online multi game, and verant's got two coming out this year (supposedly)..

You dont have to say anything..just nod your head if im right.
2003-03-05 09:41:42 PM  
DeathOfRats Arrrgh.. I've been wanting to see Kiki's delivery service for a long time. I'm currently watching Fruits Basket and Chobits (just finished Noir) I'm harassing my supplier for .hack and Kiki's. That kitty is sooo kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!! *want want want*
/anime GEEK
2003-03-05 09:43:38 PM  
Not Verant / SOE *shhhh* you guys are gonna run outta guesses then you will get it right =P
2003-03-05 09:44:53 PM  
Haha, BeerChillerGuy that's the game alright. ^_^
Shame it was never you happen to have any copies of it?
2003-03-05 09:46:02 PM  
PS I like your name. DoR

/Prattchett fan
2003-03-05 09:48:12 PM  
Naw, the only game I kept that I worked on was RDF: Rapid Deployment Force on Sega CD, a tank game with lots of FMV
2003-03-05 09:48:56 PM  
OK. All due respect here. $50K for a 40 hour dev job is low. By about 15K. Testers are valuable, I don't know why they don't get paid jack, but - it's not a hard to learn skill.

What does a degreed professional earn in the industry? What to PMs, designers, what's the career path?

Everyone knows you can go from Test to Dev. Where from Dev? How long does it take?

All that said - indeed, a dream job can turn to hell, as stated below. You CAN kill someone with a pillow.

It makes me grateful for the life I've got now... Even WITH the extra work.
2003-03-05 09:49:18 PM  
Hehe Toriko *cough* not that I am advocating buying pirated stuff *cough* but there is a box set of dvds floating around with all of Miyazaki's movies up to Princess Mononoke you can buy for ~$50.. or you can just buy the Kiki that Disney released a few years ago.

On amazon..

Be patient, Disney's releasing Laputa castle in the sky and Spirited Away in april..
2003-03-05 09:50:02 PM  
BeerChillerGuy - I just picked up a Sega CD. Sonic CD rocks.
2003-03-05 09:50:48 PM  
Toriko hehe, no need to whisper it..say it loud and proud. I am a Pratchett fan, and I am not ashamed. ^_^
2003-03-05 10:02:10 PM  
Toriko -

Well, either me not guessing Verant was a slip-up on my part, or intentional.

BTW, you really should see Kiki's.

Larsoncc -

Going from test to dev? Depends if you have skills or not. If you have no specific skills (programming, art, etc.) then you're competing with every other tester for the rare design or AP position that becomes available. Not good. And getting $65k a year straight out of testing?? Not gonna happen. At least nowhere I've seen.
2003-03-05 10:04:38 PM  
03-05-03 08:28:23 PM Ahaze if you're still around. i checked the link and disagree. IMHO the history of welfare shows what happens when you try to give value to people for doing nothing. besides which no matter what the "floor" the CPI would simply rise to reflect it. instant inflation.

sorry on topic people, like an accident i just couldn't look away.
2003-03-05 10:05:05 PM  
*begs for an AP position*
2003-03-05 10:05:55 PM  
Testers get paid little because most are users with a modicum of computer knowledge. From what I've seen very few know what a spec is, or have heard of whitebox testing, or even the registry.

Then again maybe our company just hires worthless people...
2003-03-05 10:11:32 PM  
OK. All due respect here. $50K for a 40 hour dev job is low. By about 15K. Testers are valuable, I don't know why they don't get paid jack, but - it's not a hard to learn skill.

It pays so low because the job requires no special skills. You certainly don't need a college degree for it, and probably not even a high school diploma.
2003-03-05 10:14:33 PM  
Kid_at Where I work there are two kinds of testers, dudes who look in the paper and think "Whoa, I can get paid for playing video games" and then smart aspiring coders/artists/etc who want their foot in the door in the industry. In my experiance, these two people dont mix and the intellegent ones get their hopes and dreams crushed. Its really sad to see the face of some young smart kid who was bright and exuberant just a few months ago look hollow and dead as they mope around the office.
2003-03-05 10:17:50 PM  
And that is your right, Curious.

Disagreeing, I mean.
2003-03-05 10:23:47 PM  
Toriko also check out Cat Girl Nuku's an older anime, but you'd like it's cat theme.
2003-03-05 10:26:17 PM  
Ummm do you know anything about VCDs or SVCDs? We can run offline and talk about this so I don't threadjack, I've been pulling out my hair for 3 nights running looking for a codec. I have Chobits on VCD or maybe SVCD (i cant tell) I want to see it cause CLAMP is my favorite manga studio (not really a fan of Card Captor though). Its killing me that the discs are next to me and i cant see them.
2003-03-05 10:30:19 PM  

The worst part is that the unskilled ones generally end up forming cliques and ostracizing the skilled ones, making it much, much, much harder for them to get noticed.

I make a point of using any connections I still have in the entry-level areas to find out who there actually has skill and pointing them out to Them That Hire. It doesn't always do me a lot of *good*, but I try. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
2003-03-05 10:35:03 PM  
I have MS messenger and ICQ or we could meet in the fark chat room

Kyoryu EXACTLY. Its really sad to watch the grunts gang up and beat down the smart ones. What is this kindergarden?! Luckily they were scared to beat up on me, I'm a bit fragile but they also thought I was the type to cry harassment and get them fired. (I'm not but they didnt know that)
2003-03-05 10:48:45 PM  
K I deleted your ICQ number from the comments for your privacy =)
2003-03-05 11:51:15 PM  
Anyone who has a skill (coding, art) and is trying to break into the game biz through a testing job is doing it the WRONG way. The only jobs you need to work through testing to get into are production, and that's because there aren't quantifiable skills to allow the hire of a good producer without paying his dues.
2003-03-06 12:36:53 AM  
Wow! Toriko elongate your ears a little bit, and you'd look a perfect Elf. Umm, that's a compliment, btw.

Anyway, what city is this unnamed company in? Perhaps a summer internship or position may be available?
2003-03-06 01:21:29 AM  
As a tester who's been doing this for about seven years(and is still doing it), I'm a-gonna weigh in.

Believe me folks, most testers are not paid 40k. Usually you start out as a temp making 20. Then you are hired on perm making 20-25 with benefits. Then you are made senior and you make 30. That guy in the article has got himself a sweet deal. How can you live on that? You have to live small. Here are a few facts about this life;

1. I live in San Francisco. Most of the people working this job with me either commute from Richmond or live in a box and eat ramen four nights a week. I live at home, if I couldn't, I would take a higher-paying job as a data-entry plebe.

2. If you're in this job to get a foot in the door, it happen, but if you count on it you'll probably be crushed. Sure, I'd like to get into design, or production, but I don't have any illusions about it happening soon or ever. In the meantime, I am being payed to compulsively play video games and complain about it(by writing bugs), which means that I am being payed to do something I would do anyway.

3. It's a job. With meetings and bullshiat, managers and corporate jargon and resizing, re-structuring, a punch-clock, moronic customers who you can't get mad at because they're farking 12, deadlines and overtime, overtime, overtime.

4. At some companies, they offer you a choice. If you want benefits, you have to agree to work overtime without extra pay. This means that even with a raise, becoming a permanent employee at my last job meant losing about 2k a year in exchange for benefits, and for working the same hours with the same total lack of job security.

/end biatchfest...for now.

I do this because in the world we live in, in the society we live in, I guess I have to do something, and this is the most tolerable thing I have found so far. Hell, 5% or so of it is even fun.
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