In brief: Good news if you happen to work as a temporary tester for Epic Games: the company will soon offer full-time employment, along with all associated benefits, to a few hundred of its contract-based staff in the US.
According to an employee-facing memo obtained by The Verge, Epic Games will "offer full-time at-will employment to eligible US-based contingent workers," and "many of those offers will be effective April 4th, 2022."
Spokesperson Elka Looks confirmed that a few hundred contractors will be hired and that most, but not all, of these will be quality assurance (QA) testers. Looks added that the workers would be directly employed by Epic Games and eligible for the company's US employee benefits plan. The Verge notes that the studio currently uses temp agencies such as Eastridge, Hays, and Nextaff to contract out QA testers.
Epic isn't turning all of its temp workers into full-time staff. There will be some exceptions where the current employment arrangement is more suitable for both parties, and it will still hire contingent workers for "short-term needs."
It's refreshing to see some positive news relating to employment within the games industry, especially when it comes to QA testers. Back in December, employees at Activision Blizzard-owned studio Raven Software, which runs Call of Duty: Warzone, staged a walkout in protest over its decision to lay off a dozen quality assurance workers. Five weeks after striking, the QA testers founded the Game Workers Alliance in association with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
We're also used to seeing game companies laying off staff even after said firms generate record profits, and let's not forget the punishing crunch culture that is still ubiquitous within the industry.