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SAG-AFTRA has claimed that 20 video game companies & 30 individual games have signed residuals agreements in relation to their ongoing strike as reported by Deadspin.

SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) is a union representing around 160,000 performers in areas such as television, radio broadcast, video game voice actors, and others. The union has been trying to secure residuals (payments made for subsequent showings/screenings/etc. of a work) for some time now. In October of 2016, the negotiations stalled and the union began a strike against a number of video game companies including Activision, Electronic Arts, and WB Games.

While residuals are relatively common in the entertainment industry – music, film, and television artists alike receive checks for repeat airings of their past works – no such provisions exist in the world of video game voice acting as detailed in a lengthy piece by Polygon surrounding the issues of voice actor pay and working conditions. Once a game is in the bag, a voice actor typically won’t see another cent from their work even if it’s a wildly popular title. In comparison, actors in other areas of media sometimes depend on the income from residuals as work in the entertainment industry can be infrequent, sometimes with weeks or months between jobs.

According to the union, they have quadrupled the number of signatories to a new agreement in the first three months of 2017. The agreement guarantees a residual equivalent to a full day’s pay for an actor after a game crosses 500,000 sales. This pay scheme would be repeated up to four times total towards a maximum cap of 2,000,000 units sold. The SAG-AFTRA video game strike has been underway for 213 days.

What do you think about video game voice actors going on strike in order to get residuals (among other things) in a new contract? Do you think the payment system should be treated the same as it is in other industries or is the voice talent overreaching in this case?


Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!



  • Domhnall

    “A full day’s pay?” As in, 8 times their hourly rate? So, at max, they’re getting 32x their hourly rate in residuals. That seems underwhelming, though I guess that might only be because I have no idea what kind of hourly rates are common in the industry.

  • coboney

    Its not a huge demand – although I could see some concern if you are using a lot of voice actors that could add up. But its per 500k copies up to max 4 so not a huge amount there. It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request there

  • The agreement guarantees a residual equivalent to a full day’s pay for
    an actor after a game crosses 500,000 sales. This pay scheme would be
    repeated up to four times total towards a maximum cap of 2,000,000 units
    sold. The SAG-AFTRA video game strike has been underway for 213 days.

    Wait, the numbers have changed from before, when it used to be a maximum of 8 million units. When did this change?

  • Bitterbear

    So I guess this means that these companies are going to hire unionized voice actors only?

  • MusouTensei

    I want a list of those games.

  • BurntToShreds

    Didn’t SAG-AFTRA’s demands also include making sure that voice actors know what games they’re auditioning for? Oh boy, I can’t wait for there to be no surprises anymore as the game industry becomes as leaky as Apple’s supply chain! I also can’t wait to see what kind of microtransactions developers implement to recoup costs. They’ll probably seep into single-player games now, too.

  • Eli Wintercross

    Unlike movies and TV shows, games are not generally sold by the actors attached…
    The gameplay, graphics and story are far more important than the voice actors, so no I don’t think they should get residuals.

    Good voice actors enhance a game, sure, but bad voice acting doesn’t ruin a great game ironically, I have a few games with awful voice acting but they’re so damn fun to play I don’t even care. If anything it adds some charm to invite the awkward English.

    Point is: good voice acting enhanced good games, bad voice acting doesn’t ruin good games…

    Good voice acting can’t save shitty games either.

  • oldirtybaron

    Negotiations.

    You always start pie in the sky, and work your way down to something reasonable. If you’re smart, anyway.

  • Makes sense, though I do wonder when this changed.

  • True, but actors get residuals even a movie is bad. It’s about the nature of work. Voice actors do their sessions and they’re done, and good VA work definitely contributes to the quality of a game IMO.

  • DDD-kun

    About the same time the posers all ceased to crow publicly about #PerformanceMatters, I’d wager. And I can’t feign a thimble of surprise at this turnout, either.