Epic Games Turning Hundreds Of Contract-Based Workers Into Full-Timers

Epic Games Turning Hundreds Of Contract-Based Workers Into Full-Timers
Image: Epic Games

Epic Games is offering full-time employment to “a few hundred” of its contract workers, a needed win for its short-term staff.

Workers in the video games industry have had it pretty rough recently. Efforts to unionise and fight for better working conditions in the face of entrenched corporate bureaucracy have been growing in ever larger numbers over the last few years. The news that Epic will offer full-time positions, with benefits, to a large group of US-based contract workers marks an important step forward in that fight.

As reported by The Verge, the news that Epic would bring its contract workers in-house came to light from an employee-facing memo. The memo stated that the company would offer “full-time at-will employment to eligible US-based contingent workers”, with many of those offers becoming “effective April 4th, 2022”.

According to the report,  Epic spokesperson Elka Looks said that while the company won’t be hiring all its current contractors and that certain roles will still be filled via temp agencies, they will be bringing “a few hundred” contractors on board. Looks also notes that of these contractors, most are quality assurance testers.

The offer of full-time with benefits to QA testers is veeeery interesting. It was not that long ago that over a dozen QA testers at Raven Software were laid off, which prompted the Raven Software workers to walk out, strike, and organise as the Game Workers Alliance. In light of that, perhaps Epic saw an opportunity to generate good press. Maybe it’s a lead-by-example situation. Or maybe it really did just need to bolster its QA department — QA is crucial and great QA testers are worth their weight in gold, even if they are rarely treated like it. Whatever the reason, it’s a step in the right direction.

We can only hope that this step influences other studios to follow suit and treat their workers with more respect. We see countless cases of poor work conditions and developers being subject to “crunch” when trying to meet deadlines. Mass casualisation of the workforce makes game industry workers feel unstable in their employment. If more big studios take the initiative to provide their workers with stability and give them better rights, the video game news cycle would be a lot nicer to scroll through. Isn’t that what we all want? Some good news?

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