Epic Games is pivoting hard on an issue that has been plaguing the video game industry for years. Epic has promised to hire its US-based contract workers and make them full-time employees with full benefits by the beginning of April.
This news comes courtesy of The Verge, who first obtained an internal memo where Epic made the promise to its temporary workers. In the memo, Epic said that hiring contracts will be effective as of April 4, 2022.
Not all temporary workers in the US will receive an offer of employment as “there are a few exceptions in which it makes sense for both the worker and Epic to maintain contingent worker status.” The memo offered no further details, but Epic spokesperson Elka Looks said that Epic plans to hire “a few hundred” mostly from its QA staff.
Epic currently hires QA testers through several temp agencies such as Eastridge, Hays, and Nextaff. Often these are low-paying jobs with shaky job security and little to no benefits. Industry-wide, QA testers are frequently the lowest end of the game development totem pole, with most reporting long hours and an abysmal work environment.
This move comes during a time of increased security in the games industry. Activision Blizzard in particular has frequently made headlines with its deplorable attempts to stifle unionization efforts within its company. After a months-long strike action, Raven Software’s QA department announced its intent to form North America’s first-ever games union, asking Activision Blizzard management for voluntary recognition.
That didn’t happen, of course, and ever since then, Activision Blizzard has been doing everything it can to stop unionization efforts by Raven employees, going so far as to scatter the entire QA department across various studio divisions. Activision’s actions have even resulted in political pressure from a sitting US Senator.
Epic’s move might just be about good PR, but paying employees a living wage and providing health benefits will undoubtedly result in a QA team that’s better at doing its job and ultimately a better product for Epic.
Source: Read Full Article