Video Game Industry Faces Threat of Strike as SAG-AFTRA Prepares for Action

Published 09/02/2023, 9:30 AM EDT

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Since July 14, 2023, the Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has been on strike over labor disputes. During the duration of their strike, the union merged their strike with the WGA strike that started in May. The strike is a first of its kind from actors demanding equal pay, with flames of the protest even reaching YouTuber MrBeast.

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Now SAG-AFTRA is looking to go after the video game industry. Furthermore, the union is gearing up for its move against major gaming companies. And their target for the strike revolves around Artificial Intelligence.

SAG-AFTRA looking to target major gaming companies

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While the strike against TV and film companies rages on, major video game companies are also starting to become a target of the movement. The union had a separate contract with gaming companies like Activision, Epic Games, Take Two, Electronic Arts, and many more.

However, now the union is demanding some changes in the contract. Firstly, they want an 11% retroactive increase in rates for video game performers. Furthermore, they want the gaming companies to follow this increase with a 4% increase in the second and third years of the agreement.

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They are basing this demand on the increasing rate of inflation every year, asking for a fair wage for their members. However, the union has also raised concerns over the use of AI in the gaming sector. They have advised the companies to prefer their members over the use of AI.

The union is also targeting AI in its demands on gaming companies

In a statement issued by SAG-AFTRA’s president Fran Drescher, she targeted the gaming companies for their “greed and disrespect” by using AI in the games. She said, “Once again, artificial intelligence is putting our members in jeopardy of reducing their opportunity to work. And once again, SAG-AFTRA is standing up to tyranny on behalf of its members.”

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With these words, the union has started to prepare for a second strike against the gaming companies; the first one happening in October 2016. However, the representative of gaming companies Audrey Cooling is still trying to keep a conversation going with SAG-AFTRA.

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Cooling has also said they are looking forward to reaching an agreement with SAG-AFTRA before their second strike begins. However, with increased pay and AI limitations as their major demands, the union is holding a vote to determine the best course of action from their end.

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Written by:

Ajitesh Rawat

987Articles

One take at a time

Ajitesh Rawat is an up-and-coming eSports writer at EssentiallySports. An avid gamer himself, Ajitesh grew up just like the majority of the gamers out there by simply falling in love with Need for Speed and Grand Theft Auto. He likes to dive into these vast imaginative worlds and experience the fun himself.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri

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