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If you are geeky and love graphics, testing video games could be your calling. But watch out for that glazed look from staring at the screen.
Going to work in shorts and a T-shirt, playing games for over 10 hours in an office that is fun and creative, and getting paid for it. That sums up a game tester's job. Prashanth Kannan, 28, got into testing games when he was an 18-year-old college student. He would play games non-stop from 4pm to 2am and now, 10 years later, he is a quality control manager at France-based Ubisoft, one of the world's leading game development companies.
"Back then you wouldn't have called this a profession or a career. There were just a handful of us. I remember my interview included just one question: 'What is your my favourite game and why', " says Kannan who estimates that there are now about 1, 000-1, 500 game testers in India.
The gaming industry is so big now that it provides employment to not just game designers but also to a variety of anciliary skills. "Every gaming company has a tester on its rolls but now most of the work is done either in China or here. China is very cheap but there is a big language barrier. India is good at English and at games, " says Kannan.
Ironically enough, the career is not all fun and games. "It isn't really as glamorous as it sounds. It is kind of fun in the beginning, but the more you do it, the more repetitive it gets. If you are asked to play a game, which hasn't been polished yet, it keeps crashing, and it can get frustrating, " says Divyendra Singh Rathore, lead game designer, Lakshya Digital, a Gurgaon-based game company says.
It is, however, a career now and not something college students do only to earn some pocket money. Kannan says that 10 years ago this job was somewhat like manning the counters at McDonalds but now it is a totally different game. Testers say that even undergrads can do this job - all they need is a love for games, good communication skills and an eye for problems and bugs. "A lot of budding designers do start out as testers but it takes two to four years to rise and that too if you are lucky. You could also rise up the management ladder and become test lead or producer. It is a viable career choice, " says Rathore.
The core work for game testing tends to be seasonal as most games are released during summer and Christmas breaks. This means that you continue to be on the rolls but there is a definite lull between November and February.
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