Members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike on the Interactive Media Agreement (IMA) that covers their work in the video game industry. With a 98.32% vote in favor, the strike authorization sends a strong message to the video game companies that have been negotiating with SAG-AFTRA since October 2022. The critical issues at stake include compensation that is undercut by inflation, the unregulated use of artificial intelligence (AI), and safety concerns. If an agreement cannot be reached, SAG-AFTRA members are prepared to take to the picket lines.
One particularly contentious issue is the use of AI in video games, which is of concern to performers who have their motion capture performances recorded. Without proper limits in place, AI could potentially use these performances without approval or compensation. Similar to the ongoing strike in the film and television industry, compensation and regulations on the use of AI are key points of negotiation for the IMA. The strike authorization serves as a statement that fair compensation, safety measures, and dignity in work are essential for the well-being of video game performers. SAG-AFTRA hopes that the authorization will strengthen their position in future negotiations.
The next bargaining session between SAG-AFTRA and the video game studios is scheduled for September 26-28. In the face of the strike authorization, SAG-AFTRA is optimistic that progress can be made in reaching an agreement that addresses the concerns of its members. The striking parallels between the issues faced by video game performers and those in the film and television industry highlight the need for fair treatment and compensation in all forms of media.