I am a video game tester for Activision Blizzard During my summers, I know that many of you Redditors are video game enthusiasts and I am a basic level QA (Quality Assurance) Tester. I figured that many of you may want to be video game testers as a summer job, and it is actually a very accessible. I received the job after a year in college with nothing special on my resume, and I have friends coming out of high school doing it too! So feel free to AMaA!

EDIT1: Hey guys, I am going to head to bed seeing as its 4am here. I will be back on tomorrow to answer (almost) any questions you might have, keep em coming!

EDIT2: It is dying down now but I had a ton of fun answering all your questions! Never thought this would get anything more than a few comments, thank you reddit! (I will still answer questions if they arise)

Comments: 265 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

reidab100 karma

Being a BASIC games tester...

Do you have to type the games in from the magazine yourself, or do they pre-load them on a cassette for you?

Waffskies126 karma

We get what is called a "Build" of the game which is basically the most up to date version the Devs have created, then we pop the disc into the console and there it is. For other systems however there is a procedure for burning your own copy onto a cartridge.

ganof115 karma


SamusAranX6 karma

We can hardly expect everyone to understand programming jokes!

Waffskies5 karma

it's sad though because I want to go into programming .... how am I doing?

Waffskies6 karma

it was 4am! but seriously yikes ... that was bad

king_walnut42 karma

Describe what a typical hour of game testing would involve. Do you just play the game and note any errors, or do you have to do specific shit like jump up and down in the same spot 100 times or try and purposely make the game glitch?

Waffskies49 karma

In one hour it would consist of usually being on the same game for that whole hour. In my branch we focused more on legal issues (logos have to be EXACT down to the pixel) grammatical errors, button prompts, and such. Usually all of this involves playing the first level over and over again because that is where a lot of the text is on the games I tested (lower budget). So much of the text was just tutorials or in the menus. There is another branch that plays through the game and has to do more exploring in trying to find glitches in the game. Their downside is they are usually stuck on the same game until it is done so it gets kind of old. After we find a glitch/ mistake we log it into a database where they are all located.

king_walnut17 karma

What would the ramifications be for a logo having one pixel wrong?

Waffskies30 karma

It's funny, since the games I tested were not very high quality, there were MANY times where the screenshot of the logo was blurry around the edges so we would have to sit there for 20 min with everyone looking at it trying to decide whether or not it was correct or not. But basically if we submitted a game and it was off the game would get rejected (basically meaning we would have to report the bug, fix it, then resubmit). it sounds harmless, but a submission success is a big deal for us, and we want to get it right the first time.

crackacola1 karma


Waffskies1 karma

Well you have to test the games in their most final form, their could be the possibility of the text not transferring over correctly from the script to the actual game

globalchill25 karma

Give me a job. Oh shit, I need to ask in the form of a question. What is give me a job?

Waffskies18 karma

haha, although I obviously cannot perform such deeds I HIGHLY recommend applying!

mugenfresh22 karma

Isn't QA Quality Assurance and not insurance..?

Waffskies26 karma

thank you sir, the late hours must have got to me.

captain_obvious_scum20 karma

This is either a cool story bro moment or a good way to get Redditors decent fun jobs that may or may not lead to better related opportunities.

Either way, better than that "Walmart dude" AMA.

Waffskies24 karma

Agreed, I am hoping that redditors see this and realize you CAN get this kind of job. I applied taking a shot in the dark and actually accepted a job at chipotle the day before they called.

zrunner918 karma

you should have taken the job at chipotle, assuming the compensation was similar, cuz free burritos...

Waffskies13 karma

Free burritos sound great, but you actually get some great benefits working at Activision!

zrunner97 karma


Waffskies19 karma

I am not certain I can say so I will have to leave you hanging my friend. Sorry :(

IrishSchmirish7 karma

Can't provide direct link because the Activision website sucks but just click benefits on the left here: http://www.activision.com/atvihub/careers/main.do?site=en_US&subsection=mission#

(I can't even cut and paste from the site)

Waffskies2 karma

thank you sir

WayJayDubstep15 karma

what is the strangest game you have ever played

Waffskies22 karma

Not allowed to specify titles, but it was this game where you were a sewn together doll and literally walked through a level collecting buttons ... and that is it. I couldn't even see how a child would find it entertaining, but hey ... I'm not a dev.

WayJayDubstep15 karma

lmao. i guarantee you somebody that was smoking some weed played that and tripped out

Waffskies26 karma

probably missed the buttons too

andmorepro12 karma

omg is grandmas boy, like, your favorite movie ever?

Waffskies29 karma

Who sent you ...

F543256 karma


Waffskies10 karma

I'm sorry I dont have much to deliver because my email is deactivated while I am not working, and I dont really have much besides my managers business card: http://imgur.com/EMhtoUH

alecsteven61 karma


Waffskies1 karma


Th3HiddenShadow5 karma

I was QA for a year @ EA.. most people think being a Game Tester is fun and awesome but when it comes down to it, you're an underpaid slave worker for a multi-billion dollar company. "Forced" OT etc etc they really push forward your "passion" for gaming to shadow how badly you're being abused lol.

I hardly want to play games anymore cause that job, after beating the same game 50 times on hard then being told "do it again" :'( so demoralizing lmao. Oh well thank god I have a better job now.. with ACTUAL BENEFITS.

PS Yes we had to sign an NDA.. which I don't think anyone followed lmao

Waffskies2 karma

Just as placeholder_text said I was not expecting the mecca of all jobs,. I realized I was going to be doing grunt level work, and they make it VERY clear before you choose to accept the job that you will be working a lot of OT. Thinking of it as slave work is a little extreme because .. well you are getting paid haha. I also have not lost my love for video games at all working this job, and I'm sure many of my coworkers agree, they were all playing diablo 3 or dota 2 when they weren't at work.

DarthPublius5 karma

What is your favorite game that you have tested in a professional setting?

Waffskies11 karma

I am not allowed to give exact titles but it was a cabela's game :D. Hope that helps!

tsaortop9 karma


Waffskies2 karma

It was not by any means REALLY fun to play, but in comparison to some of the titles I had to test on for countless hours .. this one definitely had the most replay value.

[deleted]1 karma


Waffskies1 karma

It's not that bad, plus the people working there are pretty awesome

KHSoz4 karma

How do I get this dream job?

Waffskies11 karma

Apply! I was asking myself the same question before I landed this job, and always thought it was impossible. However I put a lot of time into my resume, cover letter, and being prepared for the interviews and it paid off!

ezgirl4 karma

What was the most exciting/fun game you tested?

Waffskies8 karma

Its difficult to say because I played them all so much that it gets REALLY old over a period of time, but i'd have to say (cant specify), but the main character was optimus prime, and it was for the Wii U.

ezgirl3 karma

Haha, I can understand it getting old after a few hundred times through. Maybe it was Transformers Prime the game. Oh, another question: do you test on a lot of platforms, Wii/xbox/etc?

Waffskies6 karma

So far I've been strictly Nintendo systems

R0bynne2 karma

Do you actually prefer Nintendo to other first parties? If yes, why?

Waffskies2 karma

Tbh nintendo was the last console I wanted to get placed in, but they just put me where I needed to be. Fortunately for me the nintendo section had some of the coolest guys!

xnihil0zer01 karma

You're allowed to say which released games you've tested. After all, as long as you don't start in late beta, your name is generally put in the credits.

Waffskies1 karma

Better safe than sorry :)

kingrodney12463 karma

How did you come across this job

Waffskies4 karma

Either job monster or careerbuilder needed a job so i just started looking

baloneypopsicle5 karma

You don't know how you got your current job?

Waffskies4 karma

Yes, I was looking for jobs on these websites, and came across QA tester for Activision. It immediately sparked my interest because I am a huge fan of the call of duty series. I then applied for the job and got a call offering me the position a week or so later.

u1r3 karma

If I were to get this job, would they mail me the stuff to test or would I have to go to a place to do this job? Is is part time?

Waffskies5 karma

No, this is actually a common misconception, you have to go into an office because almost everything in the office is sensitive and not supposed to leave the building.

WaffleMaker3 karma

As a formal QA game tester I can verify its very easy to get into entry level game testing. Half the time they will take you even if you have no experience, just competent enough to pick up things. However at entry level you mainly do the grunt work of things like running test pass's, or find tooth combing a specific part of the game to verify all bugs are hammered out. If you got coding experience or something similar you can move up rather quickly.

Also to note that game testing depending on your area is a small knit ish group. You burn a bridge and most other companies know about it. Also be aware that sometimes you will be thrown on the one game that is beyond boring. Like 5 mins feels like 5 hours boring for 8 months. So while it can be fun, it can be a living hell.

Waffskies1 karma

True ^

Zubdub3 karma

What kind of hours do you put in during a crunch? Also if you don't mind, how much do you make per hour?

Waffskies1 karma

9$/hour, and luckily I have never had to work during their EXTREME crunch times (they get a lot more employment for the summer), but from what I've heard around the office they will have 12 hour shifts 7 days a week! For me, this is a lot, but I'm sure some of you redditors have had it worse.

nobic1 karma

So did you actually get paid for the overtime? or did you just get for the 40 hours?

Waffskies1 karma

Yes you are paid for overtime

Cpt_Waffle3 karma

Do you earn much?

Waffskies4 karma

A decent amount for my financial state, its relative of course. Always nice to meet another waffle ;)

Cpt_Waffle2 karma

Niice. Hope the quetion didn't sound to ignorant.

Waffskies1 karma

Not at all good sir

theory4chaos3 karma

After reading through this AMA, I filled an application for Quality Assurance in Albany, NY and have assured myself (as an individual that plays Call of Duty 14 hours a day) that if Activision by chance does call me and offer me a position, I am NEVER EVER QUITTING OR LOOKING FOR ANOTHER JOB, EVER! Video Game Tester has been my dream job since before conception. That is all.

Waffskies3 karma

One thing I will say (being a former COD player semi-professionally) it is not playing FPS's all day.

Malik933 karma

tits or ass?

Waffskies18 karma



vari-slash2 karma

A few questions:

  • Can you give us an idea of what you make, and what your hours are like?

  • Can you make suggestions about changes? I know I've played some games and thought, "man, if I was a tester I would have told them to change X."

  • I've heard sometimes testers are made to do monotonous tasks like turning the system off and on hundreds of times. Ever done anything like that?

  • Can you write off games or system purchases as a business expense? (half joking).

Waffskies1 karma

1) $9/hour 2) I never made a suggestion personally, I bet you can just that your lead would be the one you gave the suggestion to and then he would relay to the devs. 3) Never hundreds of times at once personally, but I believe the other branch may have had to do that. 4) Unfortunately no, but go to the link someone gave for activision benefits and that might give you another answer.

geofat6192 karma


Waffskies2 karma

It isn't as glamorous as you might think because you will probably get put on low budget games for the most part, and as a designer I knew a lot of my coworkers ran a side business where they either designed or created small games in their own studio. I recommend the computer science path for this and try to learn programming on the side as well, even the basics of a language cant hurt!

ghostrider902 karma

Wow what a small world I work under Activision Blizzard also for one of the studios. Well keep up the good work man. Do you plan on going further into game development ?

Waffskies1 karma

May I ask what city your office is in? And I am not sure yet, I had a lot of fun working there and they treated the employees very well which was a big plus for me and made me think further into it. I was thinking of trying my luck and applying to some companies such as Riot or Epic games if once I get a few more years of computer science under my belt.

ghostrider901 karma

Middleton WI is where the studio is located. I have been looking at Riot as well. I love the game and think working with them would be awesome. Are you going for a degree in computer science or are you just learning on your down time?

Waffskies1 karma

Both actually, I have been learning java over this winter break, but it is quite hard to learn just teaching yourself. I am going for a degree in Information Systems too.

pizzabyjake1 karma

Are you in Santa Monica?

Waffskies1 karma

Nope! Actually more in the midwest region.

matheson452 karma

Did having this job take the fun out of playing games?

Waffskies2 karma

Not at all. Since I wasn't testing similar games that I play in my free time. I would usually work form 7 to 3pm, come home and hang out with friends, then later at night skype those friends and play video games with them.

robomono2 karma

What's your boss' title?

Fozee2 karma

QA (Quality Assurance) Manager.

Waffskies3 karma


atgm2 karma

Are you sure you can do this? I'm just remembering the Google Chrome guy who got fired.

Waffskies3 karma

I am not allowed to give specifics about the games I tested and such, but as far as answering simple questions about the job I have not heard anywhere that this is not okay. My manager went over with me the kinds of things I was not supposed to talk about and I do not plan to mention any of them.

beminesoulm82 karma

How can i apply for game tester jobs ???

Waffskies2 karma

Go to a company's website and try to find locations near you, then see if they are hiring!

robomono1 karma

What do you hate about your job?

Waffskies2 karma

Honestly there was no part of my job that I "Hated". I think the only part I disliked was working 6 to 7 days a week, but that is just what was needed to be done and that isn't very bad.

sigfemseks1 karma

How's the Activision basement these days? Is it still oppressive, smelly and fun? Do you guys still have to pay for your own drinks? I'm a QA Manager now, but I still think fondly of my days there...

Waffskies2 karma

We do have to pay for pop and such, but its 25 cents for a can of pop and 1 dollar for a monster, and as far as I'm concerned that's a steal so I'll take what I can get! And yes it is still quite fun, we are laughing a good amount of time we're there

SquirrelBeef1 karma


Waffskies1 karma

which side is weighted towards awesome?

dota2brewmaster1 karma

What can you say about the Dota 2 beta?

What race do you play in Starcraft 2?

Waffskies2 karma

I am a LoL player so im not too into dota 2, and even though user friendliness isnt usually a big deal to me .. dota gave me NO direction in what to do and i was completely lost, and i am a slightly above average LoL player I'd say. SC2 I play terran right now and, is actually really fun! I was never a big RTS guy but my friends got me to buy it. I am still terrible (playing medium bots right now [luckily I usually win]), but overall I really like learning everything, only problem is there is a lot to learn :P

JangoLegend1 karma

How awesome is your life?

Waffskies1 karma

I have a good job, going to college, a great gf, as well as loving parents and family so I'd say I am VERY lucky to be where I am today.

Placeholder_Text1 karma

Not really a question and I might be late but I am just so tired of everyone thinking video game testing is a horrible job. It's not. People bitch and complain about sitting on their asses doing pretty much the same shit they will be doing if they were at home. It's a entry level job, you get pretty close to minimum wage unless you're hired on full time. You not only get your foot into the door to work at any video game company in the world, but your not working at fucking Burger King. If you're a driven person and like to watch games evolve through the process of working on it, you'll love this job. 99% of people who bitch about being a tester are lazy and will probably get fired with-in the first couple years of doing it. "Sitting on one game mode for 12 hours a day"...just doesn't happen...edge cases yes..but for the most part your job is to break the game and test functionality. Like Waffskies said, you get really badass perks depending on where you work...I get games for 20$ made by my company(which makes tons of games)...that is literally one little small perk. I will never pay for a game that is 60$...ever again. TL;DR: Being a tester only sucks if your lazy and have no drive to do anything in the industry...if you love games and picking shit apart, you'll find testing extremely thrilling and fun.

Waffskies2 karma

I agree with you (in a less vulgar way). People do whine about the long hours and repetition, but if you go into the job with the intent of having fun and meeting new people, it is a blast. I am guilty of being one of these people, at first I was just going through the motions, but when I started getting to know my fellow coworkers, they were (for the most part) REALLY cool guys! and then I had a ton more fun every day from there on.

Hadoukenator1 karma

Have you tested any games that ended up being a massive successes? Also, if you complain about something you don't like about the game, do the developers listen to your complaint and improve whatever you complain about?

Waffskies1 karma

I cannot list the specific titles, but yes there have been 2 games I know of that did REALLY well and my name is in the credits which I think is awesome! As far as complaints, I am not a very senior member of the QA team so I was not in contact with any of the devs aside from reporting bugs. Often times if there was something bad about the game MANY people would be saying things about it (in the office) so there was never a time where it was simply myself who had a problem. As far as I know our leads or managers would be in contact with the devs more, and within that connection they may have talked about the way the game flowed and operated.

DuranX21 karma

Hello Brostep...

Waffskies1 karma

How did you know ...

DuranX21 karma

The pic was a dead giveaway. When you work with someone 8+ hours a day, 6+ days a week, you get to know these sorts of things.

Attention to detail, my friend.

Waffskies1 karma

forgot about the pic :/

l0l_cabbage1 karma

Is it possible to work as game tester while you are overseas? Do you need to actually fix glitches? May underage people test games too? How much do you get paid?

Waffskies2 karma

You have to come in to the office to test so overseas would not work unless they had branches where you were, I personally do not need to fix them, not sure abou tthe underaged deal. $9/h

l0l_cabbage1 karma

Thanks for informative reply.


Is there any limit for working hours? You could pretty much earn 100$ per day only by testing games, cool!

Waffskies2 karma

You have a designated shift, and with the amount of hours you get I doubt anyone is looking for more.

l0l_cabbage1 karma

Haha, okay then.

I doubt you will see this, but still - how long is your shift? How many days per week do you work?

Waffskies2 karma

A typical week was 9 hours mon - friday and then a shift anywhere from 7 - 11 hours on sunday.

randomisation1 karma

When do you plan on getting a real job?

Waffskies1 karma


murfi1 karma

wasnt able to find this in your posts, so i'll just ask: whats the payment like?

i'll start in the videogame-industry next month, though as game-balancer for an online-gaming (read: facebook) company. money in the probation time is bad, but after this i'll be fine, i guess.

Waffskies1 karma

pay is decent for a kid coming out of high school and in the early years of college.

MrCreeperMan301 karma

How did you get this job?

Waffskies2 karma


Notaseagull1 karma

How much does it pay (you don't have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable)

Waffskies1 karma


Japanistan1 karma

Does the job ever get boring? Also do you have to write reports after testing the game out?

Waffskies1 karma

At times it does get dull when we do not have a new version of the game to test so we have to go through the same games many times without finding new bugs. And as far as reports we do not have to do any sort of write up, we simply record the bugs in a database when we find them.

[deleted]1 karma


Waffskies3 karma

Right now, my favorites are ones I have not tested: League of Legends, and some gracious friends of mine are teaching me the ways of starcraft 2 ... have mercy on their souls for putting up with me. (I suck at RTS games) if anyone wants to play league with me my account name is: Waffs

Candy_in_a_van1 karma

I'll join up with you, been playing LoL since may/2011. I usually play in the afternoon times nowadays and im so-so, pretty decent graves at the moment but only 12/15 w/l ranked games atm.

Waffskies2 karma

awesome! yeah i play quite a bit so i'll be on alot

timiscute1 karma

Is it easier to get this job in certain areas? Do you know if this is a job I can get in New York? and How many hours a week are you playing video games for this job? Do you not feel like playing games when you get home now?

Waffskies1 karma

I am not sure if it is easier in certain areas ... common knowledge would make me believe you have a greater chance in less populated areas. I do not know exactly what is out in New York but I highly recommend you search for it! And I still have the same passion for video games before AND after work.

Fridge151 karma

As a game tester something I might look into myself do you repetitively try each level over and over again until its perfect for release ? and what other pros and cons are their ?

Waffskies1 karma

pros: fun environment, great people, doing something I love cons: a lot of OT(more money though), and sometimes can get dull with certain games.

FmbLs1 karma

What exactly did you have to do to get the position? Was it where you happened to live or did you know someone in the industry already?

Waffskies1 karma

Just applied!

Kazman4201 karma

Is you office and work much like the one we see in the movie grandmas boy? Are most of you under the age of 20 and all you do I play games all day?

Waffskies1 karma

Not like grandmas boy, although the building where our devs work there are slight similarities. Most are over the age of 20 but under 35, and yes we play games all day

erthkwake1 karma

Do parts of your job ever get annoying? I heard that testing includes stuff like playing the same exact part of the game over and over.

What are the boring parts?

Waffskies2 karma

Yes some parts do get annoying, can't give specifics on the process but there are certain things you have to test a lot by changing 1 variable and starting the process over again.

savsetzer1 karma

Do they provide you with consoles?

Waffskies1 karma

yes everything you need for tasks they provide, granted you have to go into the office to do any testing.

billthegangsta1 karma

How do I apply to these game developers? I also Live in Texas, and I've been trying to pursue a QA job for a while and can't seem to find a good way to do it. What information or tips can you provide?

Waffskies2 karma

As far as tips I would say apply to as many places as you can, and work really hard to make your resume look nice. Also prepare for your interviews before hand, do not go in blindly. For mine they sat me down and said "tell me about yourself" and then a few other questions asking about my background in comp science. Pretty basic advice but thats what I did

Jdolly880 karma

What steps can I take to become a tester? I am exceptional at video games.

Waffskies1 karma

It is not so much about being good at video games as it is having a close attention to detail and finding mistakes.

The_Boink_Database0 karma

When was the last time you boinked?

Waffskies11 karma

Jill just left

blahblehbloo0 karma

We're you paid at all? We're you able to meet any developers during the time you tested?

Waffskies3 karma

Since I am a somewhat new to the company, no. But some of my coworkers that have a little more seniority met up with devs to talk about button layouts.

EDIT: yes I was paid. Not a whole lot, but with the amount of hours i turned out to a good sum for a college student.