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Friday, June 03, 2005

Grumpy on SAG

Somehow I thought that title would come out sounding lewd, but it totally didn't.

Any way, witness Grumpy Gamer taking on SAG:

The Developer won't make royalties until they've paid back what they spent, but they are getting a much smaller cut than the Publisher is. It is very common for the Publisher to break-even on a game, and the Developer is nowhere near recouping the advance on the royalties.

What does this have to do with paying Actors royalties? That depends on who's cut the extra royalties come from. If the Developers have to pay these royalties out of the development budget, then the Publisher gets away close to scott-free, while the Developer takes it in the...

This has been drifting around a bit, but I think Grumpy manages to more or less nail it on the proverbial head. I personally think professional voice actors can add a lot to a cinematic experience ... but c'mon, games once survived on less. Plus, there's a wide berth of talented voice actors out there that aren't hardcode hollywood talent. Using A-list talent is a luxury. As soon as the big publishing houses really give into these kind of forces, a part of the gaming industry will be swallowed into the games-are-movies dark side.

But wait, what does Wesley Crusher have to say?

Yeah -- $275 an hour would be a huge amount if actors did that kind of work several times a week but the average, working-class actor is lucky to get four of those jobs a year.
-- Wil Wheaton []

Wil supports the strike, and let's face it ... he's got a valid perspective. But I don't see where the fact that voice actors are underpaid really takes any wind out of Grumpy's arguments. What seems to be needed here is way for quality talent - whether that's a coder, artist or actor, to be paid justly without stealing from each other's pockets. I don't think Grumpy is saying that's impossible ... just don't trust the publishing houses to do it that way.

Especially remembering that the next generation of titles are probably going to cost you an extra $10.

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