Members from the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have predominantly casted vote for authorizing a strike in the video game sector. This decision comes in the midst of continuous exchanges over the Interactive Media Agreement (IMA), which governs the terms and conditions for actors working in the video game industry, including voice acting, motion capture, and stunt work.
The vote, which occurred recently, saw an overwhelming majority of SAG-AFTRA members supporting the strike authorization. 98.32% of individuals cast their votes for strike activity.
While this doesn’t naturally set off a strike, it grants the union the authority to call for a strike if they deem it necessary, particularly if negotiations fail to yield favorable terms in the upcoming bargaining sessions.
SAG-AFTRA has been advocating for compensation that keeps pace with inflation, ensuring that actors are fairly remunerated for their work in an industry that generates billions of dollars.
With advancements in AI technology, there is a developing worry that video game organizations might take advantage of AI to create performances without the involvement of human actors.
The union is seeking safeguards to protect performers’ rights and involvement in the creative process. Safety measures in the video game industry have been a disputed matter.
Actors have reported grueling working conditions, including extended periods of physically demanding tasks such as motion capture without adequate breaks or safety precautions.
SAG-AFTRA has been participated in dealings with several major video game companies and their production arms, including:
- Activision Blizzard
- Electronic Arts (EA)
- Epic Games
- Insomniac Games
- Disney Character Voices
- Take 2 Productions
- VoiceWorks Productions
- WB Games and more
Should a strike be called, it could fundamentally disrupt the operations of these video game companies, as they would be unable to hire unionized actors for essential tasks like motion capture and voiceovers.
This could prompt defers in game development and potentially affect the release schedules of highly anticipated titles.
In recent years, the video game industry has seen a striking expansion in the contribution of A-list actors and celebrities.
Renowned actors such as Kit Harington, Rami Malek, and Idris Elba have lent their voices and appearances to video game characters, underscoring the industry’s growing prominence and appeal to mainstream entertainment figures.
Idris Elba, who recently featured in the cyberpunk thriller expansion for “Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty,” commented on this trend, describing it as “a sign of the times.”
He featured the advancing connection between film actors and the gaming business, emphasizing that actors now see video games as a significant medium for creative expression.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher communicated the union’s determination, stating, “It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract.”
She underlined that the vote’s outcome demonstrates members’ understanding of the critical nature of these negotiations and the urgency of securing a fair agreement.
Drescher additionally brought up the conspicuous difference between the significant incomes created by video game organizations and the compensation offered to performers. The union believes that performers deserve an agreement that ensures a sustainable career within the video game industry.
One of the focal issues in the discussions is the utilization of artificial intelligence in video game development. Concerns have arisen about the potential for AI to replace human actors in creating performances.
SAG-AFTRA members are not seeking a complete ban on AI but rather transparency, consent, and fair compensation for its use.
Zeke Alton, a well-known voice actor and motion capture artist, highlighted the importance of these demands.
He emphasized the need for actors to have a say in how their likenesses and performances are used in video games, preventing unauthorized use and ensuring fair compensation.