Tech services firm GlobalStep speaks to the women on its QA team to find out how they deal with stereotypes, inequality and more

What is it like to be a female game tester?

A long-standing gender stereotype has been that women don’t like video games. With a 40:60 women:men ratio at GlobalStep’s QA Lab, we beg to differ. Not only women love video games, they are brilliant at it.

For a long time, female gamers have commonly been regarded as a minority, but industry surveys in the past few years have shown that in time the gender ratio has become closer to equal. As per a recent study, 52 per cent of gamers worldwide are in fact, women.

Women in the games industry are both designing and testing games. And we caught up with a few women game testers from our QA Lab in a candid interview. Read on to know how they deal with gender stereotype, what’s their all-time favorite game and more…

Why did you get into game testing?
You get to play games all day long – why else? Breaking the stereotype, our women game testers share: “We grew up playing video games. It has always been our passion.”

One of the youngest girls from the group told us: "I was the only girl from my college in the Counter Strike team. Not only did I play the game but I won various Counter Strike inter-college tournaments with my team which, by the way, was all boys.”

What are the most important skills required to become a game tester?
“Many people think that because they like to play video games; they can be game testers… Well, that’s not entirely true. Yes, you do need to have the passion for playing but you also need some core skills like analytical thinking, you should be detail oriented and must have the eye to actually catch bugs while playing the game.

"Once you catch a bug, you need to be able to find the steps that will replicate the glitch. You also need a lot of patience. As a game tester, your tolerance to do repetitive and tedious tasks is tested every single day and you just need to learn to be persistent. Being able to work well in a team is important, too.”

How do people react when you tell them you are a game tester?
The response to this question was in unison: “Men think of us as Gods!”

Others added: “Women are always keen to know more. ‘What do you do exactly?’, ‘So you play video games all the time?’ or sometimes ‘Is that even a job?’ are the most common questions.”

What do you do when you take a break from testing games? Once a game tester, can you still be a gamer?
So when non game-testers take a break, we may interest ourselves in some sort of mobile or PC games, right? Our game testers can’t do this anymore – one of the team explains why: “Since I became a game tester, it’s not so much fun anymore. Every time I play any game for recreation, I start spotting bugs. It’s difficult to switch off being a professional game tester. Having said that, I still love to play games for recreation.”

One of the ladies shared what happened to her favorite mobile game after she became a game tester: “I used to play this very famous and addictive puzzle game and reached a really high level when I had to stop playing it.

"Every time I would view the result screen on the game and clicked continue, it went into non-progression mode and had to be forced closed and restarted. My inner game tester couldn’t take it anymore. I reported that bug to the publisher and uninstalled the game. Now I play other more interesting games and try not to look for bugs.”

Is it true that women and men are better are at certain kind of games?
Stats show men prefer action games while women prefer puzzle games. We asked the ladies if they agree.

“That’s quite true actually," one said. "Women are mostly better at puzzle games as we are much better at problem-solving skills including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. And men are mostly better at combat, role-playing, adventure and strategy games.

“That doesn’t mean women game testers don’t test combat games. As a matter of fact, women can focus better in testing bugs related to navigation or sound compared to men in such games as men get influenced by storytelling in, women don’t.”

Which is your current favorite game?
This question had the most varied answers of all. From puzzle to role-playing to strategic games, these ladies love them all. Their favorites include: Shin Megami Tensei, which is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game; Clash of Clans, a famous strategy game; and 4 Pics 1 Word, a fascinating puzzle game.

Do you play the games you test in your free time?
“Sometimes. The developers and publishers GlobalStep works with make some really interesting games and it’s obvious that we would like to continue to play them instead of just testing. Once we are done with our daily tasks, we hang around in the gaming-zone where we can play any of the released titles on any platform be it mobile, console, VR, PC and so on.”

For a long time, video games have been designed keeping men in mind. Even with women making up the majority among games users, they are still mostly non-existent as characters and protagonists.

From what we see with these intelligent women gamers around us, it’s time for the game designers and publishers to broaden the appeal of their games to both genders equally. 

Article originally published on the GlobalStep blog.

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