SAG-AFTRA Signs Agreement With 20 Companies and 30 Games

Published: May 22, 2017 10:20 AM /



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?

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