Following film and television-focused strike action that has – so far – lasted almost three months, SAG-AFTRA is now targeting the gaming industry. In recent weeks, the union has been running ballots centred around this concept, with its members voting almost unanimously to organise a unionised strike against the gaming industry.
This is a mirror representation of the industry-wide strike that occurred in 2016 and lasted almost an entire year, impacting the production of various games. It led to thousands of voice actors and performers refusing to pick up a script as part of the strike, and in some cases, characters were replaced by non-unionised voice actors.
Stop Playing Games
It was a landslide victory for the members that were backing the video game strike at SAG-AFTRA – a whopping 98.32% have so far voted YES to organising such a strike. In a statement, the SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher, spoke bluntly against the companies operating in this industry:
It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract. The time is now for these companies to give our performers an agreement that keeps performing in games as a viable career.
In a report published on the SAG-AFTRA platform, it was suggested that the likes of Activision, Electronic Arts, and Insomniac are some of the biggest names that have been negotiating with the union for the last year or so as the Hollywood drama has unfolded.
It’s all about compensation and fair representation of performers. On and off, we’ve seen disputes regarding the compensation for voice actors and performers in games for years. For instance, just last year, there was a scandal that hit the airwaves when Bayonetta’s voice actor, Hellena Taylor, claimed she’d been offered just $4,000 to voice the character in Bayonetta 3.
It isn’t yet known what the impact will be on the industry, should this strike go ahead.