SAG-AFTRA Potential Strike Against Video Game Industry Loading

SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) is preparing for a strike authorization vote among its members, potentially affecting the video game industry. This is following the ongoing negotiations and disputes regarding pay, working conditions, and AI-related concerns in gaming.

SAG-AFTRA, a guild representing numerous actors, including well-known figures from movies and television, has been observing the recent Writers Guild of America strike. Earlier this year, writers in the entertainment industry went on strike due to disagreements with studios over compensation and working conditions. The strike began in May and remains unresolved.

In July, SAG-AFTRA authorized a strike against major Hollywood studios, impacting major upcoming TV shows and movies. In short, well-known movie production houses have taken a big hit after the writers’ strike.

SAG-AFTRA is Now Going After Gaming Industry

Now, attention is shifting to the video game industry. Announced on Friday, September 1st 2023, the National Board of SAG-AFTRA has unanimously decided to proceed with a strike authorization vote for its members in preparation for upcoming negotiations with significant video game companies.

The negotiations involve several well-known companies, including Activision Productions Inc., Blindlight LLC, Disney Character Voices Inc., Electronic Arts Productions Inc., Epic Games, Inc., Formosa Interactive LLC, Insomniac Games Inc., Take 2 Productions Inc. (Rockstar Games‘ Parent company), VoiceWorks Productions Inc., and WB Games Inc.

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This decision comes after nearly a year of extended negotiations where SAG-AFTRA has been working to secure essential terms and conditions required by its members. Unfortunately, these concerns have not been satisfactorily addressed by the video game companies. Ultimately, both the negotiating committee and the National Board have unanimously agreed that having member-approved strike authorization is crucial as the negotiations will resume in September.

Key issues in these negotiations include equitable wages adjusted for inflation and safeguards against unchecked use of artificial intelligence, which is increasingly being integrated into the video game industry.

It’s important to clarify that the Interactive Media (Video Game) Agreement is distinct from the ongoing strikes affecting TV, theatrical, and streaming contracts under SAG-AFTRA.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher expressed concern, stating,

We are once again dealing with employer disputes and challenges posed by artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA remains committed to addressing these issues on behalf of its members.”

The use of AI in video game production, particularly in voice and performance capture, poses a significant threat to the artistic professions of many SAG-AFTRA members. Without appropriate contractual protections, performers risk unknowingly contributing to the erosion of their livelihoods.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, emphasized the importance of these negotiations, stating, 

Voice and performance capture artists who bring video game characters to life deserve a contract that recognizes their value to the gaming industry.”

In addition to AI protections, SAG-AFTRA is advocating for wage increases consistent with those for film and television performers, as well as other vital provisions like rest periods, on-set medics for hazardous work, and vocal stress protections.

It’s important to understand that a successful strike authorization vote does not automatically lead to a strike. Instead, it empowers the National Board to declare a strike if the video game companies fail to negotiate fairly with SAG-AFTRA for the benefit of its members.

Negotiations with these gaming giants are scheduled to start on September 26th, and the possibility of a strike in the video game industry remains a significant concern for the month ahead.

What are your thoughts about this news? Let’s discuss this in the comments section below.


Abdullah Amin

Abdullah is passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the gaming industry. With a strong background in writing and research, he is able to provide in-depth analysis and informative articles for a wide range of gaming audiences.
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