SAG-AFTRA to authorize a strike against video game companies

By Melany Moncada

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Sep 5, 2023

Reading time: 2 min

SAG-AFTRA is seeking authorization from its members to strike against all major video game companies.

SAG-AFTRA is turning its attention to another major branch of the entertainment industry, video games. According to SAG-AFTRA, it’s been almost a year since the Interactive Media Agreement was extended. Since then, no agreement has been reached with the studios involved.

The vote to authorize a strike will run from September 5 through September 25. SAG-AFTRA expects to have an approved strike authorization in hand by September 26, when the negotiations are scheduled to resume.

While the contract with video game companies is different from the one with film and TV studios are different, the asks are similar. SAG-AFTRA is looking for a rate increase for performers, protection against the use of AI, and on-set medical attention.

Blog post image
Via Variety

How will the SAG-AFTRA affect video games?

The effects of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes are starting to show. Networks are being forced to recycle content, movies are being delayed, and award shows are changing dates.

It is estimated that California’s economy might be losing $30 million daily because of the strike. And yet, the studios are refusing to meet with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA.

The video game industry might see a similar impact if the major studios refuse to meet SAG-AFTRA’s demands. It wouldn’t be the first time SAG-AFTRA strikes against video game companies. The most recent strike ran for 11 months back in 2016. Activision and EA were some of the studios involved in the negotiation.

One of the points studios are defending is their right to use AI in all future projects. This decision might be reconsidered after a federal court ruling that passed on August 18.

According to the ruling, AI-generated content cannot be copyrighted since the copyright laws only extend to human beings. Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled that in order for it to be protected by the law, all content must be of human authorship since human creativity is an essential condition.

This might stop studios from pushing for the use of AI for a while.

As for the effect this might have on the video game industry, players can expect titles in development to be delayed for at least a year.

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