halo.jpg
QA may be getting the short shrift from game studios, which leads to a more bug-ridden, generally glitchy experience that in turn exasperates an audience that wants to focus on game play first, last, and only. Game Developer magazine's Editor in Chief Brandon Sheffield points out that the low priority given to QA jobs is the main culprit. In a guest column on Gamasutra, he wrote:
If you want people other than scrubs to apply (for QA positions), there needs to be a fundamentally different way of thinking about the entire department. If QA is thought of as a viable career path, and a truly important part of game development, it won't be considered lower-tier, and your games will get better, because creative people will be thinking about how to improve your games and processes.
As an example, he cites Valve, producers of Portal and Half Life. There everyone, no matter what their position, plays its games all the time, effectively making the entire staff QA. So the solution, Sheffield suggests, is changing company culture to knit QA deeply into the process. Then, offer a clear career path, don’t lay off the team when a project completes. Will it work? Ask your users. Hey, game addicts: Is passion for game play the best qualification for QA? Tell us in the comments below.