Hollywood unions strike deal with video game publishers

After months of threats that the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) would strike if a new deal was not made with game publishers, a settlement was announced earlier today. According to the terms of the deal, Hollywood actors will get higher pay instead of the profit-sharing they sought originally. In the new agreement, union performers will see a 36 percent increase in minimum pay over the three year term of the deal, along with better benefit contributions and protections. The agreement is still subject to approval by the unions however.

The unions which stuck the deal vowed to continue to seek payments for actors based on each game sold. Currently, actors who appear in television and movies receive residual payments when those works are shown again. "While we did not get all that we want ... and deserve ... this contract is another important step in building artists' power in this growing sector of the media industry," said John Connolly, AFTRA's national president.

SAG President Melissa Gilbert said "We will spend the next three-and-a-half years devoting resources to further organize this industry, and return to the bargaining table with renewed strength and vigor to establish a fair participation in the enormous profits generated by video games." The video game industry has an estimated annual revenue of $10 billion, and as such, Hollywood actors are playing an ever important role in games. Games such as 2004's biggest seller "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" had voice talents that included Samuel L. Jackson of Pulp Fiction fame and Peter Fonda. Popular Xbox game "Halo 2" included voice talents from Miguel Ferrer and Keith David.

News source: Yahoo News

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