SAG-AFTRA Votes to Go On Strike Against Video Games

SAG-AFTRA Votes to Go On Strike Against Video Games

Now that the strike against Hollywood is wrapping up, SAG-AFTRA feeling it’s oats has voted to go on strike against the video game industry.

This is not going to work the way they think it will.

From Deadline:

“It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. “The result of this vote shows our membership understands the existential nature of these negotiations, and that the time is now for these companies — which are making billions of dollars and paying their CEOs lavishly — to give our performers an agreement that keeps performing in video games as a viable career.”

The guild’s board and negotiating committee had already voted unanimously to recommend the authorization vote, which required 75% approval of voting members to pass. Today’s vote, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a strike, but rather, gives the national board to authority to call a strike if negotiations fail to produce an acceptable agreement. 

The guild and the companies will resume negotiations on Tuesday, and now that strike authorization has been approved, a strike could come any time after that. 

“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: compensation undercut by inflation, unregulated use of AI and safety,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that meets members’ needs, but our members are done being exploited, and if these corporations aren’t willing to offer a fair deal, our next stop will be the picket lines.”

It’s been nearly a year since the guild’s video game contract, known as the Interactive Media Agreement, was extended beyond its original expiration date. “Unfortunately, throughout the negotiations, the companies have failed to address those needs,” the guild said on Sept. 1 as it geared up for another strike.

Oh boy, they are in for a disappointment. I admit some of the actors’ complaints are legitimate. Particularly in terms of safety during motion capture. They are doing stunts while wearing these suits, injuries happen and there are never any kind of medical first responders on the stage.

Also, the rights regarding AI likeness captures are very haphazard without any real kind of industry standard or individual IP protection.

So, yeah some of their complaints are legitimate. And the only thing that will happen is the actors will all be replaced by digital assets. It’s ludicrously easy to off-shore the physical performances. And while there is still a need for the art of voice work, it’s easy enough to go with non-union talent.

At the end of the day, video games aren’t Hollywood. Hollywood needs actors, when all is said and done video games don’t.

Okay, I’m done here.

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