Epic Games turns hundreds of temporary testers into full-fledged employees with benefits

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Epic Games hires its US-based temporary workers full-time and with benefits, confirms Epic The edge† The Fortnite developer expands offerings to quality assurance (QA) testers, as well as other “eligible” contract-based workers.

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The news first surfaced in an employee-focused memo obtained by The edge† In the memo, the company writes that it will “offer full-time employment at will to eligible temporary workers in the U.S.,” and that “many of those offers will be effective April 4, 2022.” But it also notes that some employees won’t receive the offer, citing “there are a few exceptions where it makes sense for both the employee and Epic to maintain temporary employee status.”

Epic spokesperson Elka Looks told The edge that the game developer will hire “a few hundred” of its contractors, and that “most, but not all” are quality assurance (QA) testers. It appears that all employees will be eligible for the company’s US employee benefits plans and will also be directly employed by Epic Games. The studio currently outsources QA testers and other employees through staffing agencies, including Eastridge, Hays and Nextaff.

Looks also said the company will continue to hire temporary workers for “short-term needs”. She had no additional information to share about the other types of temporary workers (other than the QA testers) that Epic will be hiring, and did not specify which workers are excluded from the offer.

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Epic’s move to allow its employees to work full-time on a contract basis comes at a time when tensions between employees and major game development studios are high; not to mention it’s a huge step towards improving working conditions for QA testers and other workers. In December, Activision’s Raven Software fired a dozen QA testers, leading to strikes and later the organization of the Game Workers Alliance.

The gaming industry is known for subjecting employees to incredibly long hours during (sometimes unpaid) periods called “crunch,” and Epic is no exception. In 2019, Epic faced criticism after its employees revealed the long work days needed to maintain the wildly popular battle royale, Fortnite on track with fans’ expectations. Epic Games later closed its studios for two weeks in response to employee concerns.

Last year, Epic Games ended its COVID-era policy of letting employees take off every two Fridays, upsetting employees who say the extra day off is beneficial. A number of independent developers have moved to the four-day workweek, including Young Horses, Crow Crow Crow, Die Gute Fabrik and more.

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