In recent developments, video game voice actors are considering the possibility of a strike if ongoing negotiations with major publishers fail to address their concerns. This potential action follows a series of strikes and walkouts in the entertainment industry, including the Writers Guild of America’s strike over AI and streaming content compensation.
In May, the Writers Guild of America voted to go on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), citing concerns about AI and compensation for streaming content. Subsequently, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined the strike, affecting many major Hollywood productions. While the WGA reached a tentative agreement with AMPTP to end its strike, the SAG-AFTRA walkout continues.
SAG-AFTRA has expressed concerns similar to those that triggered the Hollywood strike, particularly the fear of AI-generated content replacing human writers and performers. Additionally, they are focused on issues such as wages keeping pace with inflation and ensuring basic safety precautions for their members.
Earlier this month, SAG-AFTRA announced its intention to seek authorization for another strike against major game publishers following breakdowns in negotiations regarding the Interactive Media Agreement. In a significant move, SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike if an agreement is not reached. Out of 34,687 members who cast ballots, 98.32% supported the potential walkout.
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and several major video game publishers, including Activision Productions Inc., Disney Character Voices Inc., and Electronic Arts Productions Inc., have been ongoing since October of the previous year. However, according to SAG-AFTRA, the publishers have failed to offer acceptable terms regarding their concerns. These concerns encompass not only AI replacing human voice work but also fair wages and essential safety precautions for voice actors.
SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, has expressed disappointment with the lack of progress in negotiations. He stated, “After five rounds of bargaining, it has become abundantly clear that the video game companies aren’t willing to meaningfully engage on the critical issues.” Crabtree-Ireland emphasized that SAG-AFTRA members are determined not to be exploited, and if a fair deal is not reached, their next step could be picket lines.
It’s important to note that the recent authorization for a strike by SAG-AFTRA does not guarantee an immediate walkout among video game voice actors. It simply provides them with the option if major publishers continue to disregard their concerns. The outcome remains uncertain, especially considering that the Writers Guild of America has ended its strike, and the SAG-AFTRA walkout may soon follow suit. The hope is that a fair deal can be achieved without the need for another major strike, allowing talented video game voice performers to continue their work without disruption.
Video game voice actors are contemplating a strike as negotiations with major publishers have failed to address their concerns, which include the threat of AI-generated content and fair compensation. While the strike authorization has been granted, it remains to be seen whether this action will be taken, especially in light of recent developments in the entertainment industry. The desire is for a fair resolution that benefits all parties involved in the world of video game voice acting.