Members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA, are now withholding their services from select video game developers and publishers. The strike comes after 19 months of failed negotiations to renew the labor contract between voice actors and game companies.
At the center of the conflict, voice actors are demanding better secondary compensation for their work. No secondary compensation structure is currently in place. Negotiators are asking for a performance bonus for every 2 million games sold, with a cap set at 8 million.
Voice actors are also demanding better communication from developers during initial contract talks. Current practices in the industry send voice actors blindly into their roles, often not knowing the game, or the character they will be voicing.
A bulletin post to all SAG-AFTRA members lays down some guidelines for the strike.
“The National Board of Directors instructs all SAG-AFTRA members to withhold performing services and auditioning for work under the Interactive Media Agreement with respect to struck games for the following struck employers effective midnight of October 21, 2016.”
“All covered services must be withheld, including, but not limited to: voice acting; motion or performance capture work; background work; principal on camera work (including singing, dancing and performing stunts); authorizing the use of your voice or of a sound-a-like voice in a videogame; consenting to the reuse of prior work into a struck game; performing on a trailer for a struck game and performing on ‘downloadable content (DLC)’ or other ancillary content connected to a struck game.”
SAG-AFTRA is currently striking 11 game companies. The current list includes:
- Activision Publishing, Inc.
- Blindlight, LLC
- Corps of Discovery Films
- Disney Character Voices, Inc.
- Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.
- Formosa Interactive, LLC
- Insomniac Games, Inc.
- Interactive Associates, Inc.
- Take 2 Interactive Software
- VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.
- WB Games, Inc.
Voice actors can continue to work on games which were in production as of Feb. 17, 2015.
SAG-AFTRA members will picket the EA offices in Playa Vista, California on Oct. 24, from 10:30am-12:30pm.