It’s been a strike-heavy couple of months, and now video game actors may get brought into the mix.
Per Deadline, SAG-AFTRA’s board has unanimously voted to authorize a strike in case its upcoming bargaining meeting with the games industry falls through. The voting process will take place from Tuesday, September 5 and last all the way to Monday, September 25. According to the outlet, the negotiation will include companies such as Activision, EA, Insomniac Games, and WB Games. SAG-AFTRA is aiming to secure protections against AI and wage increases of 11% retroactively to expiration (followed by 4% increases in the second and third years of the agreement) similar to those who work under film and TV contracts. Additional demands being made include a set medic present for stunts or dangerous work performed like on film or TV sets, prohibitions against stunts on self-taped auditions, and vocal stress protections.
“Once again, artificial intelligence is putting our members in jeopardy of reducing their opportunity to work,” wrote SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher. And once again, SAG-AFTRA is standing up to tyranny on behalf of its members.”
Guild negotiation director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland added onto her statement, saying “he voice and performance capture artists who bring video game characters to life deserve a contract that reflects the value they bring to the multibillion-dollar gaming industry. Voice and performance capture AI are already among the most advanced uses of AI...Without contractual protections, the employers are asking performers to unknowingly participate in the extinction of their artistry and livelihoods.”
The last time SAG-AFTRA and the games industry went head to head was in 2016, and lasted 183 days (or a little over six months). The Interactive Media Agreement struck between the two parties was extended beyond its original expiration date as part of the renegotiation process. But SAG-AFTRA has claimed studios “failed to address [our] needs” during that extended period, hence the potential strike looming overhead.
In a statement sent to io9, a spokesperson for the video game producers that are party to the Interactive Media Agreement wrote that they’re “negotiating in good faith and hope to reach a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible. We all want a fair contract that reflects the important contributions of SAG-AFTRA-represented performers in an industry that delivers world-class entertainment to billions of players around the world.”
SAG-AFTRA’s full comments on the strike authorization can be read here.
Update: 9/2/2023 @ 11:38 AM ET: This story has been updated with a statement from the video game producers party to the Interactive Media Agreement.
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