man and woman playing games on joystick

Did you know that people in the U.S. spend an average of 6.44 hours a week playing video games? It’s obviously one of the most enjoyable and relaxing activities. Chances are you’ve been one of those people, if only for a period in your life. Now, imagine someone paying you just for playing games. That’s exactly what Microsoft Playtest does, and you can join today, whether you’re a game buff, a beginner, or someone who has never ever touched the “Play” button.

I believe there’s no need to officially introduce the tech giant that is Microsoft. So, let’s proceed with the how-to section.

How to Join?

It’s very simple and straightforward. All you need to do is create a free Microsoft account, or log in if you already have one. They will send you a confirmation code to your email address. Type it in the box and that’s it.

They are conducting different studies about technology usage and new products. The process includes gathering feedback from potential users. As soon as your profile and interests match one of the requirements, you will get an invitation to participate in a study. Therefore, the more complete and updated your profile is, the easier it will be to get new studies. Just proceed onto the screening survey that will ask you about your race, ethnicity, gender, language, employment status, technology usage. It takes less than 15 minutes get onboard.

Microsoft Introductory Survey Page

From looking at their landing page, what I especially like about this system is that even minors and children are welcome to join. There is no reason to worry about the information you or your kiddo provide them with – after all, it’s Microsoft and not some anonymous platform. In case your child enrolls, all you need to do is fill out and send them a Parent Consent Form.

Unlike with many other market research panels, you won’t be formally restricted by location. Anyone from anywhere can join. The only restriction is with Microsoft employees, contractors, or vendors.

Microsoft Playtest Earning Potential

Even though they won’t reject your application because of your location, there is a catch here. Users based near Seattle will have the widest earning opportunities, as they can get invited to the Microsoft Studios in Redmond, Washington, and test the games there.

Typically, you will spend between one and two hours on playing games and discussing them with other players. In return for your time and effort, you will get Microsoft software as gratuity, most often video games for PC or console. They will require you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, since most of the games are in the beta testing stage, and they may or may not appear on the market. Seems like a very fun thing to do if you’re into gaming! Just make sure you take the NDA seriously. Microsoft does take it seriously, and they won’t hesitate to hold you responsible if they trace any leakage back to you.

Microsoft User Research homepage

Back to the system. Gaming isn’t the only thing that can bring you rewards. Check out a few other activities you can get compensation for:

  • Surveys. This is one of those activities that you can do from wherever you are.
  • Lab studies. You need to “think out loud” about a product you’re seeing or using, face to face with a researcher. There are no right or wrong answers – just speak out whatever comes to your mind.
  • Site visits. A researcher will visit you at your home or work and observe you as you perform certain tasks, or ask you a set of questions.
  • Focus groups. It’s a standard group discussion about a certain product or service, guided by a facilitator.

Advantages

  • You get rewards for having fun. That is, of course, if you like playing games. And who doesn’t? Even if you are not an ardent gamer, chances are you’ve already spent hours of your time on playing games. Why not get rewards for something you would do anyway?
  • Almost everybody is welcome to join. There are almost no limitations as to age, location, experience with video games. It’s a rare occurrence with market research sites. Most of them will seek very particular user profiles, disqualifying anyone who doesn’t fit at the moment.
  • Playtesting is not the only way to earn. You can also take part in surveys, lab testing, focus groups, and so on (scroll up to see the full list of activities).
  • They won’t clutter your inbox. No spammy behavior on Microsoft’s part, as is entirely expected of them. You will only get study invitations once in a while, when something is really relevant to you. If your interests change in the meantime, unsubscribing takes a single click.
  • You get a chance to participate in shaping of Microsoft’s future products. Imagine being able to say that your opinion counted toward shaping a top-notch product from a technology behemoth. It’s a nice thing, isn’t it?

Disadvantages

  • The gratuity isn’t cash but software. To be honest, Microsoft has lots of nice games and other software. But that can look like a fair compensation only if you really like or really need that software. Most users of GPT (Get-Paid-To) platforms prefer to get cash or at least gift cards with major retailers.
  • Most of the tests take place in Redmond, Washington. That isn’t to say that you won’t be getting any chance to participate their studies if you aren’t based or near this area. But it appears that there are most earning opportunities there. If you are one of those lucky users in or near Seattle area, check their Directions Page to see how to reach one of their campuses.
  • There aren’t many earning opportunities. It seems that they will invite you to participate in game testing once every two months. It’s not something you can do on a regular basis.
  • There is no official information as to how much a study is worth on average. I’ve combed through the Internet and couldn’t find any trustworthy information on this matter. There are some estimations ranging from $100 to $250 per testing, but I would take that with a grain of salt, simply because it’s not an official piece of info.

Final Verdict

I usually start this part with an educated estimation on whether the platform is legit or scam. In case of Microsoft, I can safely omit that part. Of course it’s legit. But another question is if it’s worth your time.

If you like playing games and are a tech addict, this GPT platform may bring you quite a bit of satisfaction, even if it doesn’t happen very often. Even if you don’t like games or aren’t based near Seattle, it still doesn’t hurt to sign up for an account. But if you are looking for a side gig that would bring you a stable income, you’re in the wrong place.