SAG-AFTRA Preparing For Potential Video Game Industry Strike
SAG-AFTRA, the guild representing thousands of actors, including major movie and TV stars, is currently preparing for a potential strike in the video game industry. Following the recent strike by the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA is seeking better pay, improved working conditions, and protection against the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in video game production.
Earlier this year, SAG-AFTRA authorized a strike against major Hollywood studios which led to delays in film and TV productions. Now, the guild’s Board has unanimously voted to send out strike authorizations to its members in the video game industry. This means members will have the opportunity to vote on whether to strike or not if negotiations with video game companies do not lead to satisfactory outcomes on both sides. Several notable companies, including Insomniac Games, Warner Bros. Games, Disney, Activision, EA, Epic Games, and Take-Two Interactive, could potentially be affected by the strike.
Key issues for SAG-AFTRA include better wages, protection against the negative effects of AI, and improved working conditions, such as measures to address vocal stress for actors in the gaming industry. Negotiations with the aforementioned companies are set to begin on September 26th, increasing the likelihood of a gaming industry strike by the end of the month.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher expressed concern about employer greed and disrespect, emphasizing the impact of AI on members’ opportunities to work. Drescher stated that SAG-AFTRA is determined to stand up to protect its members against what she referred to as tyranny in the industry.
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland highlighted the importance of recognizing the value of voice and performance capture artists in the multibillion-dollar gaming industry. He emphasized that without contractual protections, performers may unknowingly contribute to the decline of their own artistry and livelihoods, as AI advancements continue to impact the field.
The potential strike in the video game industry joins the ongoing efforts in many areas of entertainment seeking fair wages and the hope that many concerns are addressed such as improved working conditions, and protection against the impact of artificial intelligence. There is no telling when the two sides will reach an agreement and some studios have already likely lost hundreds of millions as a result. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.
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