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Video Game Voice Actors Will Go On Strike Affecting VR Titles

Video Game Voice Actors Will Go On Strike Affecting VR Titles
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The SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild), in partnership with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, has announced that it will advise voice actors working on video games to take action against gaming studios starting October, 21 by going on strike.

sag-aftra-strike-banner

The guild and the union believe that voice actors aren’t being properly compensated for their voice acting while strenuously being overworked. Below is their letter to the members of the association.

Dear Member,

Despite years of concerted effort and negotiating sessions, video game employers have steadfastly refused to reach a fair deal during our contract negotiations.

We head back to the table Oct. 17-19 with the goal of creating a fair contract that is rooted in industry standards and best practices. Based on past experience, we are not confident management is willing to make the changes necessary to bring this contract up to the standards of our other agreements. Unless you hear differently from us, effective Oct. 21 at 12:01 a.m., you should be prepared to strike the following video game employers with regard to all games that went into production after Feb. 17, 2015.

The companies they advice to strike against are as follows:

  • Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • Insomniac Games, Inc.
  • VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.
  • Blindlight, LLC
  • Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.
  • Interactive Associates, Inc.
  • WB Games, Inc. 
  • Corps of Discovery Films
  • Formosa Interactive, LLC
  • Take 2 Interactive Software

SAG-AFTRA stated that many video games and titles earn more than Hollywood movies, yet get compensated at a significantly less amount. Also, the Interactive Media Agreement doesn’t allow for residual income that would allow for back end compensation like its provided for movie actors and actresses. With companies making multi-billion dollars from gaming franchises, they heavily believe that pay and salary needs to be restructured to a certain degree.

The law firm representing the production studios quickly responded by saying:

“We have negotiated in good faith for the past 18 months with SAG-AFTRA union leaders, and are making progress toward a new contract,” said Scott J. Witlin of the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, representing the industry. “We are deeply disappointed to learn today of the Union’s threatened strike and its unilateral violation of the mutually agreed upon ‘news black-out’ on negotiation discussions.”

The law firm also added, “The existing contract between Video Game Companies and SAG-AFTRA pays all performers more than $100 an hour plus benefits and most performers many times that.”

With the strike imminent in the near future, we’ll be expecting delays on upcoming VR titles from the production companies listed above. And VR content is an important factor in the current stages of growth for the technology.

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