Hollywood is currently in the middle of a significant actors strike, and the same could potentially happen soon in the video game industry as well. SAG-AFTRA members voted to authorize a game actors strike, setting the stage for a potential disruption in the industry if current negotiations with publishers don’t go according to plan.
The SAG-AFTRA union represents actors across all entertainment mediums, but the strike that’s been active since July excluded the game industry. The game industry’s separate contract with the actors’ union is almost up, so SAG-AFTRA is in the heat of negotiations with companies like Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive, and WB Games to create a better contract for its workers. If those negotiations fail, video game actors can go on strike to disrupt the game industry for failing to adequately meet their demands. A strike like that needs to be authorized by a majority of the union’s members, though; thankfully for SAG-AFTRA, internal support was overwhelming.
A total of 34,687 SAG-AFTRA members cast ballots in a vote to authorize a strike, and 98.32% of them supported a strike authorization, according to a SAG-AFTRA press release. This doesn’t mean video game actors are now on strike, just that they’re willing to go on one if negotiations fail. SAG-AFTRA says these game studios “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,” which is why a strike was organized.
SAG-AFTRA and these video game companies are in bargaining sessions between today and September 28, so we’ll soon see what impact this successful strike authorization vote will have on the video game industry.