Screen Actor’s Guild authorises video game strike | Pocket

Members of SAG-AFTRA Vote to Authorize Strike on Video Games

The members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike on the Interactive Media Agreement, allowing them to work on video games. With 98.32% of 34,687 voters supporting strike action, the union now has the power to call for a strike if necessary.

This vote comes at a time when the creative industry is witnessing a wave of strikes. The Writers Guild of America recently reached a tentative agreement to end their five-month-long strike, and SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July.

The main issues behind these strikes are compensation and the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in creative industries. AI technology now allows filmmakers, for example, to use the image of a background actor throughout a production, reducing costs by only paying them for one day’s work.

Concerns over AI and Voice Actors

One major concern shared by voice actors, in particular, is the impact of AI technology. Esteemed actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry recently raised awareness after claiming that a history documentary had cloned his voice without his consent, using his narration of the Harry Potter series as a basis.

In addition to AI, other concerns addressed by SAG-AFTRA in their discussions with video game companies include wage increases, safety for on-camera performers, job security, and vocal stress for voice actors. The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for September 26-28, 2023, following discussions that began in October 2022. If negotiations break down, SAG-AFTRA now has the option to call for a strike at any time.

The signatory companies under the agreement include Activision Productions, Insomniac Games, and Take 2 Productions.

A survey conducted by IATSE between March and April highlighted the lack of trade unions in the gaming industry, suggesting that an increase in unionization may be on the horizon.