AFTRA Ratifies 3 1/2-Year Videogame Contract

Includes a first-ever streaming fee for actors in videogames

Videogame performers will be paid a streaming fee for their work under the terms of a contract the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has approved, the union announced Friday.

The 3 1/2-year contract replaces a pact that expired June 30. Members ratified the new contract by an 85-to-15 percent vote. About 2,000 AFTRA members are affected by the new contract.

"The new cloud gaming fee is an additional one-tie payment of 15 percent of the session fee that will be paid to every principal performer engaged on a videogame made available on streaming service," the union said.

In a written statement, AFTRA chief negotiator Mathis L. Dunn Jr., said, "Cloud gaming is where this industry is headed and AFTRA is in on the ground floor."

Scott J. Witlin, chief negotiator for the videogame companies, added, "This agreement settles disputes that created some uncertainty and promotes game development in areas of emerging technology."

AFTRA's new contract also includes a 3 percent increase on all minimum payments, with 1 percent effective immediately. That brings the new minimum fee for a 4-hour session to $809. On May 1, 2013, that will increase 2 percent to $825.

Additionally, the contract brings contributions to AFTRA's health and retirement fund to .5 percent, bringing the total contribution rate to 15.5 percent.

The contract will expire Dec. 31, 2014, but the union and employers agreed to begin early bargaining on the next contract before Sept. 30 of that year.