The ongoing strikes of The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (a.k.a. SAG-AFTRA) might soon extend to video games as well. Members of the union just voted 98.32% in agreement with a strike authorization that would pertain to the Interactive Media Agreement that deals with video game work.
This, however, does not mean that a strike will happen, but it’s potentially poised to depending on what happens next. SAG-AFTRA explained on its website:
“The strike authorization does not mean the union is calling a strike. SAG-AFTRA has been in Interactive Media Agreement negotiations with signatory video game companies (Activision Productions Inc, Blindlight LLC, Disney Character Voices Inc., Electronic Arts Productions Inc., Formosa Interactive LLC, Insomniac Games Inc., Epic Games, Take 2 Productions Inc., VoiceWorks Productions Inc., and WB Games Inc.) since October 2022. Throughout the negotiations, the companies have refused to offer acceptable terms on some of the issues most critical to our members, including wages that keep up with inflation, protections around exploitative uses of artificial intelligence, and basic safety precautions. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Sept. 26, 27 and 28, and we hope the added leverage of a successful strike authorization vote will compel the companies to make significant movement on critical issues where we are still far apart.”
Many anime voice over actors also work in video games, sometimes even playing the same characters they play in anime, so this could affect them. One of the big concerns is that people in power will replace actors with AI voices.
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland remarked:
“After five rounds of bargaining, it has become abundantly clear that the video game companies aren’t willing to meaningfully engage on the critical issues: compensation undercut by inflation, unregulated use of AI and safety. I remain hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that meets members’ needs, but our members are done being exploited, and if these corporations aren’t willing to offer a fair deal, our next stop will be the picket lines.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.