#1 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19155 posts) -


#2 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19155 posts) -

So what motivated me to create this poll is an email I received today from Ubisoft:

I would have jumped on this straight away, but I had to decline because of fucking summer school. I've never been a playtester before and this would have been something that I would have loved to experience. I'm not that much a fan of co-op games so maybe I wouldn't even have fit the profile and also there's no guarantee that this would be a great game and not some lame My Little Pony title, but I would have done this if I had the chance anyways. Plus, you get monetary compensation for your time and your opinions, so that's cool.

I hope I get the chance to do something like this in the future. Have any of you had an experience playtesting this before?

#3 Posted by krazy_kyle (716 posts) -

I would but preferably something more permanent.

#4 Edited by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

I had an absolutely horrid experience as a playtester and I would never do it again.

#5 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

I did, off and on for several years. It got me enough experience to find more stable testing work in a different software field, but it was also a low-paying slog that I am in no rush to repeat.

#6 Posted by McShank (1628 posts) -

Childhood friend is working for nintendo in renton now because he started doing playtest's for them. I would love to do it and hope I can get lucky enough to be awesome and get a job :(

#7 Posted by AlexanderSheen (4669 posts) -

@Cloudenvy said:

I had an absolutely horrid experience as a playtester and I would never do it again.

What made it so horrible?

#8 Edited by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

@AlexanderSheen said:

@Cloudenvy said:

I had an absolutely horrid experience as a playtester and I would never do it again.

What made it so horrible?

As mentioned by Hail, it's a low-paying, repetitive slog.

#9 Edited by ThePhantomnaut (6067 posts) -

Initially I was hype to test out games but as years past I found out how absolutely dreadful QA testing is. At least you can get paid.

#10 Posted by Video_Game_King (34603 posts) -

Does playing a very glitchy game count?

#11 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

Once, it was, let's say.. an experience. I did meet a few good people though so that's a plus I guess. 
I don't think it scared me enough to say I would turn it down if the chance to playtest something came up again. 
Depends on who the email was from I guess. 

#12 Posted by Salarn (445 posts) -

The play tests are generally good times for a few days. Not really representative of what a normal tester would do, but it's still an interesting look into the game industry and games before they are finished.

It likely would have been AC3/R6P/SC6 at the Montreal studio.

#13 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@Cloudenvy said:

@AlexanderSheen said:

@Cloudenvy said:

I had an absolutely horrid experience as a playtester and I would never do it again.

What made it so horrible?

As mentioned by Hal, it's a low-paying, repetitive slog.

Running through a level shooting dudes is the best thing to test ever!  
Sadly not so fun when the thing you're doing is stick to all the walls you could encounter on the left side of the level and then on the next run stick to all the walls on the right side just to see if you fall through the level at any point during one of those playthroughs! 
Some people were told to test out if running into each segment of the wall for 5 minutes would make it glitch and teleport you through the world. Weeeee 'sob'
#14 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19155 posts) -

@Salarn said:

It likely would have been AC3/R6P/SC6 at the Montreal studio.

Aw, man. I really hate school.

#15 Posted by WilliamHenry (1195 posts) -

I've never done it, but I'd like to give it a shot. I wouldn't want to do it forever, but for a little while could be interesting. Not a lot of opportunities in the Philly area though.

#16 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Cloudenvy said:

@AlexanderSheen said:

@Cloudenvy said:

I had an absolutely horrid experience as a playtester and I would never do it again.

What made it so horrible?

As mentioned by Hail, it's a low-paying, repetitive slog.

If that's horrid you must be used to being pretty cush... Just saying, that's what entry level jobs are like. I just started working at a large retail store and all I do is walk around, and all I really need to know is where things are because all I do is fix the shelves, and tell customers where things are, and restock any returns for that belong in my department. It's a whole fuckin lot of nothing. I'm not allowed to use my phone, not allowed to listen to an MP3 player or anything. It's eight hours of walking around with nothing to do, with occasional fetch quests thrown in. It is boring as fuck, and I'm constantly walking around, which means pretty sore feet at the end of the day. Which is a bummer considering the hill I have to walk up to get home. Is it a super fun time? Nah. Does it pay much more than min wage? Nope. But is it horrid? No. It's just boring and kinda crummy and earns me money until I can go do another incredibly boring thing (granted my plans lead me to potentially experiencing incredible levels of excitement in the short periods of non-boredom, instead of slightly less boring shit) for a few years.

Jobs often suck, calling it a horrid experience seems a little... weak stomached, to me. But if there was more to it than that, I can certainly understand.

#17 Posted by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos: Did you seriously just compare working at a retail store to playtesting? man, you have nooooooooooooooooooooooooo idea.

#18 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@MordeaniisChaos

@Cloudenvy said:

@AlexanderSheen said:

@Cloudenvy said:

I had an absolutely horrid experience as a playtester and I would never do it again.

What made it so horrible?

As mentioned by Hail, it's a low-paying, repetitive slog.

If that's horrid you must be used to being pretty cush... Just saying, that's what entry level jobs are like. I just started working at a large retail store and all I do is walk around, and all I really need to know is where things are because all I do is fix the shelves, and tell customers where things are, and restock any returns for that belong in my department. It's a whole fuckin lot of nothing. I'm not allowed to use my phone, not allowed to listen to an MP3 player or anything. It's eight hours of walking around with nothing to do, with occasional fetch quests thrown in. It is boring as fuck, and I'm constantly walking around, which means pretty sore feet at the end of the day. Which is a bummer considering the hill I have to walk up to get home. Is it a super fun time? Nah. Does it pay much more than min wage? Nope. But is it horrid? No. It's just boring and kinda crummy and earns me money until I can go do another incredibly boring thing (granted my plans lead me to potentially experiencing incredible levels of excitement in the short periods of non-boredom, instead of slightly less boring shit) for a few years.

Jobs often suck, calling it a horrid experience seems a little... weak stomached, to me. But if there was more to it than that, I can certainly understand.

The solution to that is to get a good job
#19 Posted by ch3burashka (4902 posts) -

I've been contacted by WB for playtesting about a dozen times over the last 3 years, and only this past month did they respond to my response for the first time. It was pretty sweet.

#20 Posted by N7 (3570 posts) -
@MordeaniisChaos: Read it and weep.
 
There are people who weren't even allowed to eat anything during lunch because they were QA testers.
#21 Posted by p00rdevil (158 posts) -

I play tested an Xbox game years ago over at the Microsoft Xbox offices in Redmond. The game was Tork. They called me up ( I have no remembrance of how they came across my number, but I was on their call list ) and asked me what kind of game I was currently playing. When I told them Maximo she was eager to sign me up. So I made the drive across the lake to Redmond and found about a dozen of us volunteers ready to play test the game. We were put in a room of cubicles where we each had our own PC to play the game on. It ran like dogmeat, the FPS were so bad the game was barely playable, and every 5 minutes we had to stop playing and answer a lot of questions off a questionnaire. All kinds of technical stuff like how do you feel about the range of Tork's weapon? Is he able to jump far enough to reach a platform? Not far enough? Is the environment too narrow? too wide? About every conceivable question you could imagine was asked of us.

After it was all over we were debriefed and told not to break our NDA agreement which I never have done until now, lol. Then as a thank you were were given a choice of a PC game or a copy of Windows XP. I choose XP because I had already played the games they offered, or wasn't interested in the games they offered.

I didn't care for testing at all. It was just a job and it was a hassle driving through rush hour traffic getting over to the MS offices. So the next time I was called to test I told her I wanted to be taken off the call list. That was the end of it, I never tested another game.

#22 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Cloudenvy: I'm saying that the description you offered as being accurate fit my job to a fuckin' t. First of all. Second of all, I'm pretty sure you don't have to go to a shithole country and sit in a hot truck, hole, tent, or "building" throughout most of your waking hours, and occasionally get shot at, nor do you have to respond to murders and rapes, so I think that "horrid" might be a little strong if all you can say is that it's repetitive, it sucks, and the conditions aren't swell. Excuse me if I don't have the stomach for brats that can't handle a job not being fun. Either give a more convincing reason to whine about the job or stop whining, or just don't. Otherwise, you'll not see me taking what you say seriously in the slightest. I don't deny that you could have been in a shitty circumstance, but I know people who have worked in testing. And you know what? They said "yeah it sucks, it's boring as shit, but nothing really any worse than other entry level positions." Sounds a lot like my job!

I'm not trying to be a dick, but a job being boring and repetitive and unenjoyable isn't "horrid." That's life, sometimes you have to take a job that isn't much fun. If you think testing is by definition significantly worse than similarly entry level positions, you're dead wrong. Plenty of studios manage to take care of their testers. I'd be happy to admit your shit was fucked, but you've gotta say more than "wah, I was bored." Welcome to low paying jobs.

@N7: Is this Cloudenvy's experience? No job in the world goes without horror stories, retail far from it. However unless Cloudenvy had to deal with not being paid for a job, not being given lawfully required breaks, etc, I find it hard to have much sympathy, especially considering the people I know (some who work in testing and have made it clear that it's neither as fun as many think at first nor as awful as the stories, true or not, make it sound like, some who work in much, much worse conditions) and my plans in life.

#23 Posted by crusader8463 (14308 posts) -

Beta tested dozens of MMO's. Used to be a big thing for me to get into early betas for games, but at this point I don't even sign up any more. Churning through all the bad parts for so long ruins the final game for me.

#24 Edited by Cloudenvy (5890 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos: Yupp, we had unreasonable conditions. Sorry if I don't want to write that much about it at 5am in the morning!

Also, I've had low paying jobs before, I've worked at retail, I've worked at an incredibly shitty gas station being mugged multiple times and so on..NONE OF THEM compare to how bad working at QA was. It wasn't boring, it was borderline torture of sitting in a little, locked, hot room for 10 hours spending the first 5 running up against a wall and the other 5 jumping up against a certain crate and then maybe getting a sandwich halfway through and getting paid absolutely nothing for it. I'd take doing nothing or something at a retail shop and walking around for a bit over QA any day of the week.

I'll call it horrid, because it practically made me hate playing videogames. You know, the thing I love. Whether you think that's worth calling horrid or not is not something I'm really interested in, but have fun at your retail store.

EDIT: And yes, before you ask, I'd much rather be a cop that responds to rapes and murders or a soldier that gets shot at than I would work at QA. I know people in both those fields, they both sound like really interesting jobs despite the risks.

#25 Posted by 1337W422102 (996 posts) -

The only good parts of the time I've spent as a ubisoft Montreal playtester was talking to the fellow playtesters afterwards and taking their money.

#26 Posted by Undeadpool (4866 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: Had a roommate who did this. Here's the thing: you need to be a REALLY specific personality-type to enjoy this. You obviously don't need to enjoy it to do it, it's decent money. You'll get TONS of overtime (though likely your pay won't increase with the overtime). But if you're not the kind of person who enjoys looking through every. Single. Solitary corner of a given room when you play games, and then doing that again in the next room, AND the one after, etc etc, you will not have any measure of fun.

#27 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19155 posts) -

@1337W422102 said:

The only good parts of the time I've spent as a ubisoft Montreal playtester was talking to the fellow playtesters afterwards and taking their money.

Shouldn't that specific kind of playtesting give you more freedom than, say, a QA tester? Would you like to say what you didn't like about the experience?

#28 Posted by NegativeCero (2925 posts) -

From what I've heard, the things you're playing won't exactly be fun. Dealing with unfinished games and playing them exhaustively seems like the perfect way to make videogames not fun.

#29 Posted by 1337W422102 (996 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:

@1337W422102 said:

The only good parts of the time I've spent as a ubisoft Montreal playtester was talking to the fellow playtesters afterwards and taking their money.

Shouldn't that specific kind of playtesting give you more freedom than, say, a QA tester? Would you like to say what you didn't like about the experience?

Probably, but the way the Playlab (is that why called it?  I don't remember) is set up seriously restricts your freedom.  It was somewhere between "just play and let's see if something bad happens" and "do what we say, when we say and we won't get upset; now run into that corner 500 times."
 
The main problem was just how unprofessional the environment was.  The people there try way too hard to come off as cool and hip and with it, and then proceed to treat you passive-aggressively for the rest of the day.
#30 Edited by big_jon (5657 posts) -

I'd love to give it a shot, just don't know how to get into it.

#31 Edited by TheActionFigure (23 posts) -

Over the past few years I've playtested many times throughout the course of each year. If you have a couple free afternoons it's a pretty fun gig. Most of the work I've had comes from Activision in Santa Monica, and they're generally pretty cool. Last year I got to play through the entire single player campaign of MW3 months before it came out. I've had the best experience testing for Sony because usually they get you in and playing within minutes of the proper paper work being completed. I played through Journey late last year at their Santa Monica office, and earlier 2011 I got paid to test Uncharted 3's multiplayer at Naughty Dog.

The worst part about testing is that you have to keep your mouth shut for months about the stuff you've seen.

#32 Edited by big_jon (5657 posts) -

Hey guys, no offence but jobs can all suck, not to say testing is a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination but I mean lots of us have done very shitty work.

Try loading a dual trailered semi truck full of shake block, each weighing 60 to 100lbs with four guys total in about 4 hours, we all have to work hard for our money from time to time.

#33 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Cloudenvy: Well maybe you should go out and try and do that, if you'd rather do that kind of job. It's what I'm doing. So as far as I'm concerned that's a bit of an empty claim until you do something about it.

Regardless, that doesn't sound that awful. It doesn't sound fun, but it doesn't sound like it's all that terrible either. Confined to a small hot room? Just because I get to walk doesn't mean I like it. Not getting to sit down for 8 hours isn't much fun either. And being out in the sun (I work in the home department) makes for plenty of discomfort. At least you're helping make something better, instead of having to deal with some prick who was too lazy to put something down.

You were doing a job because it's just not possible for a person to create something that is perfect but perfection being expected you have to throw a lot of manpower at it. You may not have seen it this way but you helped make something cool (as far as someone was concerned at leas) and were responsible in part for it being of a higher quality than would normally be possible.

Me? Most of what I do is because people are too stupid to read or too lazy to put something back where it belongs. Talk about zero satisfaction in a job. And honestly? I think my job is a pretty awesome thing. I make about $1000-1400 a month, my hours are pretty nice for me (later shifts, I get off at 11 but that's good for me, and I get about 35 hours a week rather than the minimum 24 hours for my position). I get payed so I can enjoy things like games.

And complaining that your testing job ruined your love of games is like complaining you took a bullet to the leg after you enlisted in the military. It's your own damn fault if you got into it thinking "oh this'll be swell and enhance my enjoyment of video games" when one of the most common things you hear out of testers is that testing tends to ruin games for you.

Plus, you post here, you can't hate games yet.

Ya just come off as whining when you complain about a paying job when plenty don't have that, or have had much, MUCH worse jobs. Think the military sounds like a good time compared to testing? Then join the military, not QA. Used to be they were pretty keen on getting folks.

#34 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

I love playing video games, but being forced to play the same game over and over again in a small amount of time...no matter how good the game is, it'll get boring fast. And I hear the hours are long.

#35 Posted by Humanity (7948 posts) -

From what I read and heard it's 95% of the time terrible as others have mentioned it isn't really "play through this game and write down any weird things that happen" but rather go repeat this action 500 times and when something happens do it 500 more times to try and recreate it.

#36 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19155 posts) -

@Humanity: I think everyone here knows what being part of a QA team in a dev studio entails, but Ubisoft's specific Playtest thing I talk about in the OP isn't that; it's more akin to a focus group kind of thing.

#37 Posted by Humanity (7948 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@Humanity: I think everyone here knows what being part of a QA team in a dev studio entails, but Ubisoft's specific Playtest thing I talk about in the OP isn't that; it's more akin to a focus group kind of thing.

Well since apparently you thought education is more important than video games.. I guess we'll never know !

#38 Posted by Salarn (445 posts) -

@Humanity: @FluxWaveZ:

You would play pretty stable builds and give feedback about overall comprehension and enjoyment of the game at one of these play tests. Sometimes you just watch trailers or someone else play, such as the stage demos for E3. It would be very atypical to want outside players to focus on bugs, there are internal teams for that, with training on how to report and generate repro steps for any issues.

There is a big difference between a play tester and a QC tester, at least in this case.