Epic Games confirmed to that it is employing full-time contingent labour in the United States with benefits. The offer is being extended to quality assurance (QA) testers as well as other “qualified” contract-based employees by the Fortnite developer.
The news was initially revealed in an internal document acquired by The Verge. The business adds in the memo that it would “provide full-time at-will employment to qualifying US-based contingent workers,” with “many of those offers effective April 4th, 2022.” However, it also states that some employees will not be offered, citing “a few circumstances in which it makes sense for both the worker and Epic to preserve contingent worker status.”
According to Epic spokesperson Elka Looks, the game maker would recruit “a few hundred” contractors, with “most but not all” of them being quality assurance (QA) testers. It appears that all employees will be eligible for Epic Games’ US employee benefits programmes and will be directly hired by the company. QA testers and other personnel are currently hired through temp agencies such as Eastridge, Hays, and Nextaff.
Looks also stated that the firm will continue to recruit contingent labour for “short-term requirements.” She didn’t have any other information regarding the various sorts of contingent labour (apart from QA testers) Epic will be employing, and she didn’t say which people are excluded from the offer.
Epic’s decision to make contract-based staff full-time employees comes at a time when tensions between workers and large game production companies are high; not to mention, it’s a significant step toward improving working conditions for QA testers and other workers. Activision’s Raven Software lay off a dozen QA testers in December, sparking a strike and the formation of the Game Workers Alliance union.
Epic is no exception to the gaming industry’s reputation for forcing employees to extraordinarily long hours during (often unpaid) periods known as “crunch.” Epic was chastised in 2019 after its employees disclosed the lengthy workdays required to keep the immensely popular battle royale, Fortnite, on track with players’ expectations. In response to staff concerns, Epic Games later shuttered its studios for two weeks.
Epic Games cancelled a COVID-era policy that allowed staff to take every other Friday off last year, upsetting employees who said the extra day off was useful. Young Horses, Crow Crow Crow, Die Gute Fabrik, and other indie developers have made the switch to a four-day workweek.