Epic Games has announced that it will offer hundreds of contract workers full-time contracts, which comes in a broader industry context of serious tension (at best) between major studios and their employees. Part of the latter reported that Epic staff had to work long hours to keep Fortnite content flowing, with some saying they worked 70-hour weeks for several months. Epic subsequently closed its studios for two weeks, and now as first reported by Verge is preparing to offer its US contractors full-time contracts: this includes quality assurance testers and other unspecified roles. An internal memo sent to employees says that Epic will “offer permanent, full-time employment to eligible U.S. temporary workers” and new contracts “will go into effect.” [from] April 4, 2022″. Epic also describes some of the exceptions to this change, stating that “it makes sense for both the worker and Epic to maintain conditional worker status.”
Representative of Epic Elka Looks told The Verge the number of employees involved is “several hundred” and this QA is “most but not all” of the contingent. Full-time contracts will come with significant perks for Epic employees, which in a country with a health care system like America is definitely not to be sniffed at.
It’s a bit like Epic’s attempt to get ahead of the rest of the industry but cynical hat aside, it’s undeniably the right thing to do: as late as it may be for some. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that a judge ruled nine days ago that temporary workers could be included in one of the current lawsuits Activision Blizzard is facing.
In an industry where corporate culture is still constantly making headlines and with only a few days left until the next horror crunch story, this is at least an acknowledgment that high-margin companies like Epic can afford to treat all employees better and in the long run it will be better for everyone.