Sony and PlayStation Take on Television With “The Tester”

The Tester

One of the most coveted jobs in the video game industry–at least for people on the outside of the industry–is that of the tester. Testers get to play video games before they are released to the public, and look for bugs. Sound like a dream job? Then you might want to tune in to The Tester, a new reality show about contestants competing to become a video game tester at Sony, will debut on the PlayStation Network February 18.

The Tester features 11 contestants engaging in elimination tests, and being voted off the show each week by a panel of judges reminiscent of Top Chef. Judges include comedian/gamer Hal Sparks, God of War creator David Jaffe, and a slew of Sony executives. The winner will receive $5,000 and “the coveted job of the next PlayStation game tester.”

While most in the industry would not consider game tester as a glorious position, “Game tester is an entry level position to get your foot in the door,” said Susan Panico, Senior Director of PlayStation Network. “A lot of people got their jobs in this industry through testing.”

The Tester

Sony already has a news series, Pulse, and a behind-the-scenes program called Qore, but The Tester is Sony’s first foray into a show that feels like television and that airs exclusively on PSN. The production company behind the show, 51 minds,
are the same folks behind The Surreal Life and Rock of Love. “Our strategy has always been around creating a premier entertainment destination for gamers and the gamer lifestyle. It made a lot of sense to have original programming as part of that strategy,” said Panico.

Is The Tester the first step toward a 24-hour TV channel on PSN? “We definitely foresee this growing into other seasons and possibly spin-offs,” said Panico.

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His work has also been published by Kill Screen, Tom's Guide, Tech Times, MTV Geek, GameSpot, Gamasutra, Laptop Mag, Co.Create, and Co.Labs. Focusing on the creativity and business of gaming, he is always up for a good interview or an intriguing feature.