After nearly a year of going on strike, the Screen Actors Guild have managed to make a deal with the major game publishers. It’s not quite the residual bonus that the voice actors and performance artists asked for, but the new deal that SAG-AFTRA struck with the publishing studios will now see voice actors being compensated with an extra pay increase for session fees, and there will be “additional compensation” that will be attached to the “performer’s contribution” to the development of the game.
The press release also notes that additional transparency in bookings will be made available, along with extra collaboration in the safety of voice actors and performance artists while on set or in the recording booth.
Chief negotiator Scott Witlin – who worked between the major game publishing studios and the Screen Actors Guild – commented in the press release about the labor dispute and how they reached the agreement, saying…
“We want to thank our counterparts at SAG-AFTRA for their efforts to conclude this labor dispute and reach a deal that will bring SAG-AFTRA members back to work on upcoming videogame projects,” “The Videogame Companies and SAG-AFTRA both worked hard to reach this deal and end the strike.”
The strike originally took place back on October 21st, 2016 and involved nine developers and publishers. Back in March of 2016, SAG-AFTRA announced that they had signed 15 additional developers to a new deal. However, details on the deal were not announced nor were the names of the developers who signed the new deal.
Publishers held out on negotiations for almost an entire year, just until September 23rd, 2017, which is when the new deal was finally inked over the weekend.
The biggest item on the docket for SAG was getting residual pay for certain milestone sales performances of top AAA games. According to the union, it was unfair that voice actors only made 0.03% of the total revenue that games like Call of Duty brings in annually.
Some argued that voice actors aren’t quite as necessary to the success of a game as live-action actors are for Hollywood films and that residuals should not be afforded to voice actors on those grounds, especially when gaming was already quite popular before voice actors even entered the fray. Others argued that regardless of their contributions, voice actors should still be compensated the same as when they partake in live-action commercial, television or movie productions.
Even though a lot of people forgot about the strike, it appears as if Witlin was able to negotiate a deal that made both sides happy.