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Video-Game Actors Still on Strike; Will Developers Go Union Next?

March 5, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Los Angeles, CA - The strike by the actors who do narration and screams in video games is now more than four months old, but game companies are still refusing to budge on SAG-AFTRA’s demand that performers get paid residuals for top-selling games.

They’ve “refused to even consider” putting residuals in the contract as an option, Phil LaMarr, a voice actor and member of the union’s negotiating committee, told Motherboard. Residuals are a standard clause in SAG-AFTRA’s contracts for film and TV performers. For video-game actors, where union scale is $825.50 for a four-hour recording session, it has asked for a bonus of one session payment for every 2 million copies the game sells, up to a maximum of four—and game companies would have the option of paying performers 9% more up front instead. That deal would seem affordable to a company like Activision-Blizzard, which netted $892 million in 2015, but many believe that the companies don’t want to open the door to unions. Game programmers routinely work more than 70 hours a week, notes soundtrack composer Tommy Tallarico, founder of the Game Audio Network Guild. “What if actors get royalties and the programmers don’t?” he asks. “You can imagine what that could trigger. The reality is that it should.” Read more

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