The video game companies targeted by the SAG-AFTRA voice actors' strike have responded with a website that clarifies their position and offers more detail on what they have tried to offer the union in order to prevent the strike.
The coalition of eleven companies - which includes EA, Activision, Warner Bros, Insomniac Games and more - protests that the action is harming "the very video game companies that are the biggest advocates and largest clients of SAG-AFTRA talent" and "is a strike that did not have to happen".
It is further claimed that SAG-AFTRA "never communicated" the companies' offer to the union's members before it declined the counter-proposal on October 19th and pushed away from negotiations in order to strike.
The companies reiterated that a 9% wage increase was offered that would "accelerate the entire payment into the first year", positioned as an improvement over the three-year, 3% per year rise the union requested.
Central to the argument is a comparison chart that shows the companies' proposals on the afternoon of October 18th, as well as SAG-AFTRA's response, followed by further proposals made in the evening, GamaSutra reports. According to the chart, many of the points were agreed upon by both the union and the companies, but a few outstanding issues remained.
One of the principle disagreements was over what the companies propose as "additional compensation". SAG-AFTRA claimed one of the key issues over which it was striking was the lack of secondary compensation for voice actors based on how well a game sells - similar to royalties, based on set sales milestones.
While the games companies refused sales-based royalties payments, it has offered an up-front payment bonus referred to as "additional compensation". The chart claims SAG-AFTRA disputed this offer and suggested another payment strucuture, something the companies claim they took into account and slightly modified with their evening counter-proposal. The companies claim this is "so close to what SAG-AFTRA is demanding monetarily that we believe most performers would conclude the differences are not worth striking over".
Another major complaint by the union was the lack of transparency for voice actors, who often don't know which games they are contributing to. The companies say they offered to provide code names for the project, as well as information on the game's genre, length of the performer's role, use of any unusual terminology and more.
The chart is the companies' attempt at proving they have done all they can, or are willing to, in order to meet SAG-AFTRA's demands, and the repeated claim that these proposals were not communicated to members suggests the strike may no longer be necessary.
"Let your members vote on [our] proposals," the companies urged SAG-AFTRA. "A prolonged strike only benefits non-union video game producers and non-union performance interests within the video games industry. It will also discourage the unorganised majority of developers and publishers from working with SAG-AFTRA in the future."