The Video Game Voice-Actor's Strike Is Over

Photo: Taylor Weidman / Getty
Photo: Taylor Weidman / Getty

A dispute between the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and some of the world’s biggest video game publishers is officially over, just over a year after it began.

The union first went on strike on October 20, 2016, with its members refusing to work with 11 major companies including Electronic Arts, Disney, Insomniac Games and Take Two. As we’ve reported, the stoppage was over two issues: a lack of royalties and residuals being paid to voice actors (something regular actors enjoy), and a need for better protection for performers against the vocal stresses endured doing repetitive tasks like screaming and crying for sometimes days on end.


The new contract doesn’t meet all of SAG-AFTRA’s demands, but 90% of those voting in September (only 10% of the guild’s membership actually cast ballots) decided it met enough. Last month the union’s board approved the new deal, and today the contract has been ratified, formally ending the disagreement between the two sides.

It ends the longest-running actor’s strike in US history.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs

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So did they end up getting residuals? That’s the one part where I thought they were being completely unrealistic. Videogames aren’t movies or songs, the voice acting is nice when done well, but it usually doesn’t make or break the game unless it’s totally narrative driven. I think you could make a stronger argument for programmers and artists that work on the game to get residuals, or at least they should be getting them before the voice actors do. Who’s really making the game good here?