To gain rights, one must fight. To maintain them, one must defend them. This requires conversations, negotiations, and sometimes more. For example, strikes. It’s something no one wants to have to do, but in certain situations, it’s necessary. It’s what must be done to achieve what is fair. And that’s what the video game industry is now facing: the specter of a strike looming over its head.
This is because the SAG-AFTRA union has announced that a strike is also on the table for video game voice actors and motion capture performers. The union conducted a vote regarding an authorization request sent by one of its members earlier this month, and 98.32% of the participants in the vote are in favor of going on strike. However, there’s a condition: it will only happen if negotiations with the video game companies do not progress.
This means that if negotiations stall, the negotiating committee of the SAG-AFTRA union has the authorization from its members to initiate a strike. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen.
In any case, it appears likely to happen. The agreement between voice actors and motion capture performers and video game companies has been unsuccessfully negotiated since October 2022. While the next negotiations are scheduled for this week, SAG-AFTRA doesn’t seem convinced that they will be fruitful. However, perhaps the recent preliminary agreement reached by Hollywood writers and actors might tilt the balance in their favor.
SAG-AFTRA is advocating for video game actors to receive salary improvements comparable to other actors, protection against the use of AI, a five-minute break for every hour worked, the presence of doctors on sets, a ban on requesting hazardous performances for auditions, and protection against vocal stress. The companies they are negotiating with include Activision Productions, Blindlight, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts Productions, Epic Games, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Take 2 Productions, VoiceWorks Productions, and WB Games.