The US video game industry is facing potential strike action from voice and performance capture actors, with SAG-AFTRA – the same union currently leading negotiations and strike activity in Hollywood and led by Fran Drescher – approving a vote on a strike for members of its contract with 10 major video game companies to take place this month.
Approval from union members to authorise a strike doesn’t necessarily mean one will happen but it will be an important tool in the union’s ongoing negotiations where it’s seeking the same terms as its Hollywood members – an 11% retroactive wage increase for video game performers, as well as further increases in following years and greater protections from the impending rise in the use of AI.
SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland has said, “The voice and performance capture artists who bring video game characters to life deserve a contract that reflects the value they bring to the multibillion-dollar gaming industry.
“Voice and performance capture AI are already among the most advanced uses of AI: the threat is here and it is real. Without contractual protections, the employers are asking performers to unknowingly participate in the extinction of their artistry and livelihoods.”
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Audrey Cooling, a spokesperson for the video game companies involved in the talks, told the BBC in a statement that all sides were seeking a “fair contract” reflective of the work done by performers, saying “We are negotiating in good faith and hope to reach a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible.”
The video game companies involved in the ongoing negotiations with SAG-AFTRA and that could be impacted by strikes if they’re voted to go ahead include Activision Productions, Blindlight, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts Productions, Epic Games, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Take 2 Productions, VoiceWorks Productions and WB Games.