One of the most prominent conversations in entertainment this year has been the strike of writers and actors against entertainment and production companies as they campaign for better pay and employee conditions. While that strike has been most confined to movies, TV, and other such entertainment, it looks like it may extend to the video game industry soon. SAG-AFTRA is set to begin negotiations with video game companies it has claimed have failed to meet its requests, and the organization’s National Board has authorized a vote to be sent out to members ahead of those negotiations.
SAG-AFTRA reported the National Board’s authorization of a vote for an “interactive media (video game) strike” via a press release on the SAG-AFTRA website this week. The authorization of this vote means it will be sent to members of SAG-AFTRA to determine if the organization will take part in a strike as it prepares to negotiate with video game companies beginning on September 26, 2023. SAG-AFTRA shared that the vote, if passed, could give the organization more bargaining power as it goes into negotiations.
SAG-AFTRA is going into negotiations with a number of prominent developers and publishers after it claims said groups failed to meet the needs set forth by the organization in a previous Interactive Media Agreement. Said agreement was extended to allow for further debate between SAG-AFTRA and the companies, but it claims the failure of companies to meet those submitted needs has left it in agreement that a vote for a strike is necessary. The companies listed to have fallen short of SAG-AFTRA expectations in negotiations are as follows:
- Activision Productions Inc.,
- Blindlight LLC,
- Disney Character Voices Inc.,
- Electronic Arts Productions Inc.,
- Epic Games, Inc.,
- Formosa Interactive LLC,
- Insomniac Games Inc.,
- Take 2 Productions Inc.,
- VoiceWorks Productions Inc., and
- WB Games Inc.
The SAG-AFTRA strike in film and television has left a number of projects delayed, canceled, or on hold as companies like Disney and the organization continue to debate terms. If that strike extends to video games, there could be quite some backlash, especially with the large number of major titles already confirmed throughout the end of 2023 and through 2024. It’s worth noting that one of the last major SAG-AFTRA strike in video games ended with companies acquiescing to demands in 2017.
It remains to be seen if the strike will happen, but as the decision goes to a vote by members of SAG-AFTRA, we expect to hear more on the situation as it prepares to negotiate by September 27. Stay tuned as we follow this story for further updates.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, SAG-AFTRA National Board authorizes upcoming video game strike vote