Pirate Software pledges to give moderators and staff full-time salary and benefits

One could hardly accuse game developer and Twitch streamer Pirate Software of being your standard influencer—just look at the banana suit. In another move that breaks the mold, he’s announced a significant step in improving the quality of life for his moderators and employees alike.

Streamers with legions of employees below them aren’t exactly uncommon. Even the most barebones professional streamer requires stream moderators to keep everything running smoothly, with personnel needs only rising the larger the operation grows. Editors, social media managers, brand managers and more—and that’s assuming streaming is the only thing they do. Pirate Software, as the name implies, is also a game developer as part of a tiny three-person team and runs a ferret rescue that will be expanding and hiring more staff in the near future.

A screenshot from Heartbound by Pirate Software.
Heartbound, one of Pirate Software’s many ventures. Image via Pirate Software

But Pirate Software recently posted on X (formerly Twitter) that his moderators and other staff are being hired as full-time employees. For those living in the US, this means they’ll be getting benefits such as medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as a company retirement plan on top of their full-time wages. International contractors are also getting a hefty pay bump to ensure neither party necessarily has it better than the other.

Given most moderators aren’t even paid, this is a huge step, and one can only hope even bigger streamers will follow his example. Although his employees are no doubt overjoyed, fan response has been mixed. Many Reddit commenters worry about the long-term sustainability of the business model, with the more cynical declaring that it’ll only last “until the donations slow down.” Some of the more extreme among them take issue with the fact that international workers will get paid a US living wage, apparently viewing it as unfair. Still others are using this an excuse to bash the guy personally, with one redditor writing off his game development streams as “talking out of his ass” while “patting himself on the back.”

On the other hand, just as many are applauding this as an unequivocally positive move that takes just a little bit of cash from a presumably well-paid streamer and spreads it around to their supporters. In the best of all possible worlds, fellow streamers would follow Pirate Software’s example—they can certainly afford it. Whether or not that’s the world we live in still remains to be seen.

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