Video Game Law Blog

June 06, 2005

As previously discussed , the Screen Actors Guild is in discussions with video game makers about the proper remuneration for voice actors in video games. The talks have stalled again, and on June 6, 2005 the SAG will announce whether there will be a strike.

The sticking point is whether voice actors should share profits in successful games. This simple-seeming question actually opens a large can of worms "? who should be able to share in video game profits? The video game makers claim that allowing voice actors to share in profits would cause other parties in the production chain (e.g., programmers and animators) to demand the same. And with the costs of making video games constantly rising, game producers are reluctant to make any concessions that will cut into their profits.

On the flip side, the movie and television industries routinely use profit-sharing schemes so that various participants receive bonuses if their product sells well. The video game companies say that their industry is different, but that claim is questionable given the monstrous successes of recent video games and the increasing number of links between video games and movies.

In any event, keep an eye on this stand-off it will potentially define how video game contracts work in the foreseeable future.

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