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Gaming Industry on Pause: SAG-AFTRA Votes to Authorize Video Game Actors Strike

Several major gaming corporations, including Activision, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts, Insomniac Games, Warner Bros. Games, and more, may be on the cusp of disruptions as the Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) — intensifies its strike efforts. These companies have been in discussions with the union for nearly a year, addressing issues such as wages, AI use protections, and basic safety standards.

For the past several months, Hollywood’s rhythm has been disrupted due to SAG-AFTRA’s strike, demanding better wages and clear regulations on AI-produced content. While the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike is making progress, SAG-AFTRA’s movement remains staunch, causing a halt in major Hollywood projects. Now, video game voice actors look to be the next group joining the fray.

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In a significant move earlier this week, SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike for their peers in the video game industry. Out of the 34,687 ballots, an astonishing 98.32% showed support for better working conditions. Ray Rodriguez, SAG-AFTRA’s Chief Contracts Officer, underlined that those in video games are encountering challenges that echo those of their counterparts in the film and TV sectors.

The weight of this vote signals a serious intent for negotiations. To be clear, the news from SAG-AFTRA notes that this “strike authorization does not mean the union is calling a strike.” Upcoming meetings with representatives from the video game sector, slated for September 26 to 28, will be pivotal in determining the next steps, potentially leading to a strike.

Reflecting on the industry’s past, the year-long 2014 video game actors’ strike debated issues such as residuals for actors and more transparency on roles. The eventual resolution, however, only partially addressed these concerns, introducing a bonus system tied to game sales rather than paid residuals.

The movement has garnered significant support online from gamers and industry professionals. As the gaming world watches closely, the next round of negotiations is awaited with bated breath.

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