A few months ago, in an attempt to make a little extra pocket money, I signed up to be a Playtester at Ubisoft and I finally got accepted to participate in one last week. Although I have tested video games before in a QA setting for work, this was my first time participating in a public playtest like this, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you below.
I can’t go into any specifics about the game I was playing, or really any of the details of the playtest itself, but I’ll do my best to describe my experience without violating the non-disclosure agreement I signed to participate. This was actually the third playtest I had applied to participate in, but the only one I had qualified for up to this point.
When you sign up to be a playtester on the Ubisoft website you’re asked to fill out a short questionnaire with information like your age and sex, as well as how many hours you play a week and what types of games you play. This all makes up your initial “profile” with the playtest lab, and will affect which playtests you get invited to.
Then, if anything in your area comes up, you’ll be sent an email asking you to apply to that playtest. There are very few details included in these initial invitations, usually just the dates and times and sometimes a brief description of the genre of the game to help weed out totally unqualified playtesters. Playtests are assigned on a first come, first served basis, so I always made a point of jumping on any invitations I received as soon as I knew I would be available.
Usually a day or two after you apply to a given playtest, someone from the playtest lab will call you with some more specific questions about your game playing experience. They are constantly updating your profile, so if you’re lacking in say, shooter experience for one test, you can play some shooters in the meantime and your profile will be updated when you are called for your next possible playtest.
If you qualify for a given playtest, you will be given the exact date and time to arrive, but no other information about the game. When you check in on the day of the test, you’ll be asked to fill out another questionnaire, given a brief orientation, asked to fill out a contract which includes a non-disclosure clause for security reasons and then, depending on the company, you’ll be given the opportunity to choose between cash or games as compensation. Compensation depends on many factors, including the game company, the game itself, and the nature and duration of the testing you’ll be doing.
Each person in the playtest I participated in was assigned a “minder” who could answer questions or direct you to things they needed you to investigate in the game. Again, I’m sure each playtest experience is different, so I won’t go into any more specifics here.
All in all it was a pretty enjoyable way to spend an afternoon and something I’d definitely try again if I meet the qualifications