The host, Meredith Molinari, guides the contestants through physical challenges based on skills required of game testers, such as a critical eye for detail and effective communication. Each week, with the exception of the finale, at least one contestant is eliminated by a panel of three judges: release manager for Sony first-party quality assurance Brent Gocke, American model Adrianne Curry (Hal Sparks in season 1), and a special guest judge.
Eliminations are based on performance in the weekly challenges. The show is notable, however, for occasionally breaking its own rules during these eliminations. For instance, in the first episode of Season 3, instead of eliminating 2 contestants, as planned, only one was voted out.
For the finale, the three remaining contestants race each other in a final challenge with multiple chapters with the first contestant to complete all chapters crowned "the tester." The show has since produced three winners: Will "Cyrus" Powers from season 1, Matthew "Gaymer" Brown from season 2, and Wilson "AkilleezMight" Santiago from season 3.
After commenting on the success of the first season, Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Jack Tretton announced a second season on June 14, 2010 at Sony's keynote address at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010. Auditions were accepted through July 6, 2010, at which point community voting began. Among the 11 contestants chosen by Sony, the community-vote winner, "8-bit" Mickey Paradis, also joined the cast as a twelfth member. Season 2 began on November 2 with twelve brand new contestants. The first episode of the second season was made available to PlayStation Plus subscribers on October 29, 2010. The series premiered on November 2, 2010 with the finale on December 21, 2010.
The casting call for the show's third season began on August 4, 2011. Auditions and voting ended on September 17, 2011. The Top 100 were revealed on September 30, with voting ending on October 5. The Final 20 was revealed on October 18, with Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson revealed as the winner of The Casting Call on October 20, 2011, after voting had ended. The third season premiered on the PlayStation Network on February 7, 2012, with the finale on April 3, 2012.
^Note 1 : The premiere was a double elimination episode.
^Note 2 : From episodes 2 through 6, the gamers were separated by teams each day.
^Note 3 : In episode 6, Big Fazeek was eliminated due to unsportsmanlike conduct.