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User information for Kevin Andrew Stich

Real Name Kevin Andrew Stich   
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Nickname Steazy
Email Concealed by request - Send Mail
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Description I'm supa old school, but BluesNews doesn't recognize my as a valid ISP anymore
Signed On Jul 19, 2012, 15:24
Total Comments 76 (Suspect)
User ID 57499
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News Comments > etc.
16. Re: etc. Oct 26, 2016, 17:16 Steazy
Yes my opinion in is flux, because I continue to do research on the issue. There's a word for people who hard-line on one position regardless of what new information or facts come to light.

"... which sounds like a lot until you realize these people are living in expensive markets like SoCal, Seattle, or Austin."
Where do you think the programmers, artists, game designers and testers live?

I've been posting sources, such as this one - SAG Strike Bad Idea

The game companies effectively agreed to everything except the residuals, they even agreed to raise the base rate significantly (can't find reference, something like 9%). SAG failed to show this agreement to any of its members before calling for a strike. Game companies made an offer, SAG decided to call for a strike anyways without even letting its members know about it. If that's not true then SAG should come forward and explain what really happened.

Source: Companies take aim at SAG
Source: Video Game Strike: Companies Cry Foul

The strike is *purely* about residuals, and the health and safety concerns are just a smoke screen to draw public sympathy.

I appreciate you pulling real statistics into the conversation. If you actually look at the rest of that page though you'll see that $30k is the median *nationally* for general voice actors. If you look in California where the majority of video game VAs are, the median is $54,640 - about half of what I estimated, which sounds about right for a median. Yea, someone in Arkansas doing VA for the local auto body shop's commercial isn't making much. That guy isn't on strike right now.

If a VA is making $30k they are working 1/4th as much as they could be. That is a fact. Talk to any other contracted profession and they would identify that instantly as well. If they can't find enough work, or it takes too much time to do so, they should hire an agent.

I'm sorry if they don't make six figures, but they're working part-time. They have free time they can spend on other things, like protesting. Shit, look at Will Wheaton's blog, that guy is on vacation most of his life (strawman, I know). Show me a game developer who travels to five/six countries a year for pleasure? It's not a lucrative industry, why should it be lucrative for VAs?

There's nothing to indicate that those stats are even collected from full time VAs, or even from SAG members. My impression, based on the stats I can see, is that most VAs are not working full time. I don't think that part-time work should come with a full-time salary + additional bonuses (residuals).

I just don't understand all the sympathy for VAs here. They have a sweet gig. No, it's not easy. Yes it is real work. But they *chose* to work as VAs and they *chose* to work in video games. Please, think back everyone, to before VA was big in video games - this is the same group of people that lobbied congress to censor video games and label them as non-art media. It was only once the actors started making money in video games that they changed their tune.

They are hard lining the mandatory residuals for all VAs issue because it will make them a lot of money. There are other alternatives (see gravy for brain link above) and there are other structures that wouldn't be so obnoxious. For example, they could agree to receive the proportional and comparable residuals to the other game developers on the project. That number would be currently be $0, and then VAs and the game devs could work together to get everyone residuals.

If it isn't clear why mandatory fixed rate residuals don't fit with the game industry model - consider this - if I make a free to play game, and I use a voice actor, and I get 8 million downloads before making any money (very common) - who pays for the residual? If I want to have a free weekend for my game, and it blows up, I now am paying residuals without having made any money. What about steam sales, what about a humble bundle where the creator may be getting pennies per copy? What about a game that's re-released on a new platform? What if a developer wants to give their old games away for free? Well, fuck the developers, they don't do anything to make games.

The argument that "there's so much money, they should get some!" sounds insane to me, because that "so much money" is what pays everyone else in the industry. Those profits don't just go to CEO bonuses, they go to marketing firms, they go to publishers, they go to fund new games, to hire new staff, pay for servers, pay for patches, and to invest in new hardware and software to push the envelope even further. I agree CEOs shouldn't get as much of that, that's why I don't work for EA. Personal responsibility man. Personal accountability. That's the glue that keeps the industry together. You can see when it fails.

For example, at the company I work at currently the CEOs bonuses are based on user growth and employee satisfaction. Explain to me how these residuals will be coming out of his bonuses?

Why games are so expensive

As it is the VAs are making public statements like "We are the creative energy in video games" and "Video games would be nothing without us", "Programmers are drones who just do what they are told, they bring no creativity to the product" It sounds like they're trying to antagonize me and everyone in my industry. I know they don't speak for SAG, but they do come off as arrogant, entitled pricks. So yea, fuck them. Sorry Video Games don't pay as well as other industries, that is case for *everyone* - even the CEOs. No one else deals with it by fucking up everyone's production schedules. You find a new job.

Ok, fair enough, most games do not sell 8 million copies, but a many do - Best Selling Video Games
Looking at how many voice actors are in GTAV, I can't even guess how many hours of VA work there is in there... but you're talking a lot more than a few hundred thousand dollars in residuals. Yea, rockstar made a lot of money on GTAV - take a look at how long that money needs to last them though.

"0.01% of game industry employees who contribute 0.001% of the man hour" You say I made this up - you've realized by now that I work in the industry right? Almost a decade. I tried to find a source, but I recall that Doom 3 logged a million man hours of development time, at 0.001% I estimated 10 hours for one VA. Two sessions? Maybe it's more than that, but is 0.002% or 0.003% contribution the point where they should get 0.0002% (projected $10M @ 2M sales) of the profits when they took no risk, opportunity or fiscal? Investors don't get that return rate man, and they put money in. Please do some research before you discredit these numbers.

The industry is far more complicated and nuanced than anyone seemingly wants to consider when discussing this topic. I guess I get it, most people don't have a horse in this race so it's easier to side with the people asking for more money than the people witholding it from them. It seems like a lot of folks like to think that this is a SAG vs EA thing. It's not, this affects every game studio in the US that uses voice acting. Big and small. So whenever you think about SAG fighting to take bonuses from some EA fat cat, also consider SAG fighting to take rent money from an indie developer.

If you think SAG can get their residuals, and it won't result in more studio shut downs... I think you need to do some research on the history of the game industry. I'm sorry, but I'd rather see hundreds of people keep their jobs than a few dozen people make a little more money.

And if one more ignorant person tells me game devs should "just form a Union" and stop being jealous...

Since no one will probably read this days old comment thread... I do have a plan to stop being jealous of VAs. I am, for sure jealous, who wouldn't be? You know how much gaming you could do w/ a 15 hour work week? I'm going to start doing voice acting, w/ the strike right now there are a lot of openings Then I can use my VA money to self-fund game projects and actually create something new for the world instead of just demanding money someone else earned.
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News Comments > Watch Dogs 2 Trailer
17. Re: Watch Dogs 2 Trailer Oct 25, 2016, 22:22 Steazy
Cutter wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 20:13:
No, I have a lot friends down in Oregon and NoCal. Mostly Eugene, SF and Berzerkely. I used to head down there once or twice a year when I lived on the west coast and go get bombed out in Napa and Sonoma for free. Good times.

Shit - we may have run into each other at some point. 95% of my life has been in those places Fortunately we were probably both too bombed to remember it.
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News Comments > etc.
14. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 22:11 Steazy
sdgundamx wrote on Oct 25, 2016, 20:58:
Give voice actors a token residual rate and get back to making games.

Wait, give VAs what they're asking for, even though we don't think they either earned it or deserve it - and then STFU and get back to work? Are you a C-Suit at EA?

Voice actors are fuckin newbs in ~44 year history of the video game industry. Because they have so much free time to be SJWs for themselves as the result of not having to do any actual work - because they're backed by an immensely powerful lobbying firm (SAG) - they deserve benefits no one else gets? Why? Because life is so hard for them?

Since when are the people who make more money, have more power, and wield the most influence the downtrodden of America? Did I miss Trump getting elected?
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News Comments > etc.
13. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 22:01 Steazy
$825 per day, 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. That's a $128,700 annual income working 12 hours a week. That's three times the national average full-time salary working a third as much. Unless you think voice actors are spending 28 hours a week auditioning/job-hunting (hint: they have agents)?

You argue -
A) Well their schedule isn't always full
B) That's still not *that* much money relative to CEOs
C) Salaried employees get benefits!

I respond -
A) Well then, they haven't really made it have they? Acting is a tough gig to break into, they have some free-time since they aren't working and should get another job to supplement their income - I hear waiting tables is a popular choice.
B) Well, CEOs make too much... I agree. This is base pay. If you're experienced in a field you shouldn't be making the same hourly rate as a novice (and from what I can find, they aren't, successful VAs make many times more than base rate).
C) Salaried employees get benefits, they also have limited time off, mandatory hours, have to commute into work every day, pay higher tax rates, and have to find a meal every day outside their home (time or money cost). Salaried employees are generally still paying for some part of their benefits. Salaried employees also get laid off, and it takes longer to be hired on in a new position - game programmers can spend 20+ hours on a job application + interviews and get nothing. Fuck I've spent 30+ hours interviewing for some roles if you count transportation. That's just how it goes, sorry, finding a job is hard for everyone. If you don't like it don't work in a profession that requires you to do it frequently.

I'm not arguing that talented, experienced, hard working voice actors shouldn't make boat loads of money. They should be filthy rich, just like other actors. Fine, sounds good. It's a risky industry I get it.

But SAGs current proposal requires VAs get paid, minimum, $1000 an hour on a game that sells 8 million copies. 5x the current rate. Minimum, not $1k an hour for Dave Hayder or Jennifer Hale, but for Jim-bob "Dropped outta high school moved to hollywood" Dip-shit VA on his first gig in his life. Just being paid to the voice actor, never mind the recording engineer, sound designer, audio engineer who are all working many more hours to actually put that voice into the game.

VA then becomes extremely expensive, so either
1) CEOs suck it up and stop giving them selves fat bonuses (impossible)
2) Studios stop using voice acting and cutscenes as a crutch to sling games (unlikely)
3) Working class person in the games industry gets fucked (very likely).
4) Video games get more expensive (possible, probably best case realistic scenario)

Question: Would anyone supporting SAG in this strike be willing to pay $5 extra per game, on every game they buy for the rest of their life, to allow 0.01% of game industry employees who contribute 0.001% of the man hours going into a game, working 12 hours a week, so they can make up to five times as much as they make now, which is already higher than 85% of the country, so they can work on fewer games?
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
5. Re: Following layoffs, Wooga confirms the death of Black Anvil Games. Oct 25, 2016, 21:26 Steazy
Yea, no-one ever tried to unionize software or game development. There definitely hasn't been decades of anti-union legislation making it nearly impossible.

I got on my high horse the other day about how SAG should just accept game devs into their union if they really cared. I was informed today that's 100% illegal. They couldn't if they wanted to.
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News Comments > etc.
10. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 20:22 Steazy
Found a smart person who understands VO to explain my points for me

^All for this plan, sounds good. The concept of a "royalty buyout" seems incredibly appropriate. VOs want residuals, game industry doesn't have residuals, require game companies to buy the rights to those residuals for an agreed upon rate. I don't feel screwed by VOs getting residuals over everyone else, VOs get some extra money to last between gigs. Sweet.

Safety stuff is a no brainer.

I do think it kind of sucks that neither side will be reasonable on allowing non-union voice acting in roles though. If I'm making a game, and there's a character I can relate to and I want to voice him because I know it'd be perfect... I have to join SAG first or I can't have any SAG actors in my game. Just seems dumb. (To be fair, I get that EA et. al are asking for *WAY* more than that, and then SAG's naturally reaction is "Uhhhhhh, no you can't undermine the main foundation of a union.")
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News Comments > etc.
9. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 18:24 Steazy
I finally found an outlet for my frustration so I'll probably drop this around blues for the time being...

Thanks (Whistle)ill!

Still can't find a SAG response to the residuals issue that isn't just "we get them in film/tv/commercials!" Well then go do that stuff if it's so fucking great! Oh, wait, *they are doing that right now*. That's why the picket was only two hours, everyone is still working. What a tough, courageous, bold statement.

I wish I could find it, but I found one quote from a VA who said "These games would be nothing without us." Huh, wonder why they're antagonizing so many people? Maybe telling thousands of educated people that years of their life are worth nothing did it?

(Whistle)ill's response

"I can’t speak to the fairness or unfairness of residuals or lack of residuals for programmers, artists, composers, and others who game developers and publishers, because that’s not my job, and I don’t know what, precisely, their contracts are. I certainly don’t believe that there is some sort of feud or lack of shared interest between us (the actors) and them, and I fully support all the people who work on games — especially the huge blockbuster games that pull in profits that are in line with the biggest blockbuster movies — getting the very best contract, with the best compensation and best working conditions that they possibly can."

Errr, why does this sound like Donald Trump saying "nobody has more respect for women than I do, nobody... especially the hot ones. They're my favorite". Because he doesn't know "precisely" what everyone else in the game industries contract is, he just assumes that they're getting residuals? Even though it's very clearly obvious that they aren't? He couldn't even state "they should get residuals too"? Oh Wesley, the academy changed you

Again, if one of these Film Actors Guild (sp?) peeps could just acknowledge that it's not just them being abused in this system... I would be 100% behind them. Everything except the residuals seems like a (relatively) no brainer, although they are arguing that VAs can't have their pay docked if they're late for, are distracted during, or leave a session early? Uhhhhh... what? Isn't that just... the basic ruleset of working a job? I'll just assume that's being blown out of proportion.

But the residuals man.... the residuals... and the absolute lack of acknowledgement for the plight of anyone else in the industry. A blindness to it, or as I see it, an indifference because these people do in fact think they are entitled to more than everyone else.

BTW: The residual payments are a repayment of the original rate, which is helpfully publicly available -

So, back of the envelope... looks to me like actors wage growth has beaten the national average healthily... and at a very consistent rate... the national average that includes the top 1% of earners. Definitely the downtrodden under class.

$825 for 4 hours, up to $1600 a session for atmospheric voices. Who was it who told me VA's didn't make $200 an hour? They were right, they can make up to $400 an hour *base*. Sounds pretty tough. Then they want 4x more in residuals. Cool. Jennifer Hale does 3x rate? So that's $600 an hour (assuming no one would hire her for atmospheric voices). Sounds so freaking tough. There are pro athletes who don't make that. So, base rate actor works on a game for two weeks, makes ~$5,000, and stands to make another $20,000 if hundreds of *other* people bust their ass. Those other people, putting in thousands of man hours? People maintaining live servers and releasing patches and DLC? You know, the things necessary to hit those sales numbers? Fuck them, their only purpose in life is to help VAs get their residuals. Nothing they do matters.

If you want residuals... here's an idea. Take all that fat TV/Film/Commercial money and fund a fucking game. Then you can flip EA the bird on the way out, win win. You'll also save $10's of thousands of dollars on voice acting which is worth an artist or two.

This comment was edited on Oct 25, 2016, 18:32.
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News Comments > etc.
6. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 17:29 Steazy

"The top games make money. This industry has grown, boomed and morphed into something bigger and more lucrative than many other segments of the entertainment industry, and it continues to do so. The truth is, secondary compensation is not uncommon in the video game industry. In 2014, Activision's COO took home a bonus of $3,970,862. EA paid their executive chairman a bonus of $1.5 million. We applaud their success, and we believe our talent and contributions are worth a bonus payment, too."

Interesting they couldn't cite a single example other than "The people that everyone agrees are overcompensated are making lots of money! GIVE US SOME TOO! Obviously it will come out of those bonuses and not anywhere else, because executives are honest straightforward people." It is news to me that executives and voice actors were the only people involved in making video games.
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
1. Re: Following layoffs, Wooga confirms the death of Black Anvil Games. Oct 25, 2016, 17:18 Steazy
Feeling really bad for voice actors since they're the only people who get screwed in this industry.  
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News Comments > etc.
5. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 17:16 Steazy
HorrorScope wrote on Oct 25, 2016, 16:14:
Sounds like the devs need to grow a pair and get in a union and fight for their bigger share of the pie. It's all up to each and every one of us to obtain leverage and use it if we like and then see where it leads. No guarantees.

People have tried, they got fucked. Gaming is a world-wide industry and individual projects have employees literally all over the world working on them together. Please cite example of worldwide labor union.
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News Comments > etc.
4. Re: etc. Oct 25, 2016, 17:13 Steazy
Mr. Tact wrote on Oct 25, 2016, 15:14:
Those programmers may indirectly be rewarded for the performance of the game. If it does really well, there could be bonuses given out, perhaps more significant raises, or if the company has an ESPP they could benefit from a rising stock price. So, while I think residuals might be an overreach, their contribution is not insignificant and without being direct employees their chance for additional gain due to excellent performance of the product is non-existent compared the programmers possible additional gains.

I think this is a fair point but I just want to add a few notes...
1) Full-time employees at large game corps get screwed out of bonuses, raises, and even ESPPs more often than they get them. See the New Vegas fiasco. See all the studios that get shut down as soon as they ship their game (can't get any raises if you don't work there). Game devs sometimes are not even allowed to state what they worked on in their resumes, so they get to tell their next interviewer "yea I worked on stuff at EA for two and a half years. I can't tell you about it, or show it to you... But seriously trust me it was awesome! I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP BUT IF I PROVED IT I COULD BE SUED PLEASE BELIEVE ME!"
2) Full-time employees work on far fewer projects than part-time roles (ie: voice actors). A triple-A game dev can realistically work on maybe 3-4 games a decade. Jennifer Hale looks to be involved in ~100 in the same time frame. That's a singular example, it's not "fair" I will admit, but I want to demonstrate that the scale is orders of magnitude off. I would easily believe that lesser known voice actors are involved in *more* projects, not less.
2) ESPPs require investment, so the employees are accepting tangible financial risk. Company could go bankrupt and then employee loses all their investment (C-Suits get to sell all their shares first, dicks). Generally ESPPs can be manipulated on termination as well. Those terminations can be very strategically timed. Stock went down? Yea, you totally bought that stock. Stock went up? Oh no, we're keeping that, needed to stay two more days to earn those! Certainly not 100% of the time, but at a place like EA? I would be willing to bet that 75% isn't an exaggerated number. There are generally restrictions on when full-time employees can sell there shares, so they could be legally prohibited from selling their stock for *years* if they're working on a secret project. Potentially, a worker could be laid off and still prohibited from selling their stocks... while they're unemployed making no money! Years is a long time to sit on volatile stock. I don't see the risk VAs are taking, except for the legitimate health concerns. I think carpal tunnel is a legitimate health risk as well, not to mention the health risks of working 120 hour weeks, constant stress, etc. Which is to say, everyone is accepting health risks. Note to self, need to double check how many hours are in a week before I claim someone is working more than that
3) I think it's a stretch to say that chances of additional gains for VAs due to excellent performance are non-existent. Notoriety for having worked on a successful/popular game is what most game devs realistically strive for. Make one great game, then you can go to investors, kick-starter, etc make something of your own, then you can get residuals. I think voice acting in a popular game would make lining up future VA work much easier, and even at higher rates. Sounds like a raise to me. Not saying that's enough, but that's about all anyone else in games is realistically hoping for these days.

I think there's a great misconception about the stability offered by full-time positions in the game industry. It's so easy to pull up real world examples of people getting screwed over it's depressing and I don't want to (right now, maybe later). People getting laid-off after many years of "stability" and losing most of their stocks in the process is not uncommon at all. Being forced to relocate their family across the country. People expect it, they prepare for it, they worry about it a lot. They know a bird in the hand is worth a dozen in the bush. They know they can't count their chickens. They use lots of silly metaphors. Is it a good thing? Hell no!

Someone please explain to me how someone who works hours on a project deserves more than someone who spends years on it?

Someone please explain to me why SAG is "sticking it to the man" and why they're going to make CEOs pay for this? I believe there's a better chance of Mexico paying for a wall than CEOs paying for fair treatment of their employees. The cost of this will be born by other exploited workers.

Unrelated, media bias or clickbait?
"As SAG-AFTRA strikes, video game companies hit back"

I don't see any responses from actual game developers or companies. All I can find is a some hot-shot mouthpiece-of-a-lawyer (don't even want to know his hourly rate...) from a legal firm hired to defend the game companies spouting some bullshit that "paying residuals to actors would be “fundamentally unfair” to the programmers and developers who put in far more man-hours on a game and who aren’t compensated based on a game’s performance."
^ Yea it is unfair asshole who is in a position to make things better, but instead just serves as an instrument in carrying out these unfair practices!? DON'T USE MY ARGUMENT TO DEFEND THE SHIT I'M ARGUING AGAINST! Arguing that the status quo is broken so obviously we just need to leave it the way it is... what a cunt.

Here's my real beef, hopefully this works better than my BLM metaphor...

SAG is like Occupy Wall-Street on this one. They have good intentions, I agree that shit is fucked. But how in the god-damned world is what they're doing going to make a hills beans worth of difference? They're drawing the wrong type of attention to the wrong aspects of the problem and making a legitimate issue look super silly.

If they really wanted to fix things with the resources they have - it would not be difficult to organize a class-action suite against these companies for general abuse of employees. All they'd need to do is acknowledge that there are other people in the games industry who are also human beings, treat them as peers, talk to them as peers, collect a list of all the illegal bullshit these companies have been doing to employees for decades, SUE THEIR PANTS OFF! Prove a pattern of systemic employee abuse coming down from the C-Suits. Make them pay for it. Ride that bandwagon all the way to your retro-active residuals! I would be 150% in support!

Let me tell you, borderline unemployed paycheck-to-paycheck game devs get fucked over on the regular, and they can't do shit about it cause they're broke. You know who has the resources to do something? SAG. But if a two hour picket is all they could muster to look out for their own self interests, how much effort would they put forth to help out anyone else?

If someone could show me any of these SAG talking heads even acknowledging that there are other people besides themselves involved in making video games, I would be offically un-triggered and would reward you mad internet points (as residuals, of course). I mean, look at their page! ( )

"You might call them residuals, secondary payments, royalties, pay bumps or whatever suits your fancy. It is simply the idea that, if a video game is wildly successful, actors should share in its financial success."
With all the possible words to use to describe who should share in the financial success.... it's actors. Just them. No one else. I mean, I know this isn't the writers guild but c'mon. Could at least try to veil their repulsion towards the other human beings they have to deal with working in this industry.
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today
51. Re: SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today Oct 25, 2016, 16:00 Steazy
First off - yes, C-Level salaries are where the money *should* be coming from and C-Level positions are *definitely* where these problems are stemming from. It's really mind-blowing how out of touch the top execs are game companies can be, and generally are. Even at companies much smaller than EA.

If I thought C-Suits (sic) were going to do the responsible thing and bear this cost themselves I wouldn't be nearly as incensed by this whole thing. I'd be like, yea voice actors! Stick it to the man! FUCK THAT GUY!

Quick anecdote: Someone worked at a game studio, They were developing a super top secret code-name only project as a partnership with... let's say Mickey Mouse. New hires were not allowed to know the actual property until their first work day (just like VA's are complaining about... everyone deals with it though - does suck but is necessary many times). Hell, there were actual full-time employees working on the project who didn't know what the IP was (not many though). They all felt pretty good about what they were doing, internal play tests from other teams were getting great feedback. Project was green-lit and they were given the opportunity to purchase discounted shares (about as close to rev share or residuals as you're likely to see).

So lots of people buy the shares, seems like a no-brainer.
Company value goes up significantly, shares become valuable - but anyone working on this super top secret project is prohibited from selling them because they have "insider knowledge". This came down from corporate legal, explicitly to them. CEO sells *millions* of dollars in shares at this time (They can't sell any... even though he knows everything that They know).
CEO selling that much of the company plus bad quarterly projections sends out bad signals, stock price plummets.
Workers still can't sell the shares. They are assured, however, that once the project is completed/announced price will go back up and everything will be made right (bonuses, etc).

Fast forward a couple weeks. Literally, about two weeks.
C-Suite cancels the project (the secret IP, AKA the reason workers couldn't sell stock when the price was high)
C-Suite asks team to prototype a new game, no big deal - sounds fun, they love games, let's do this!
C-Suite lays off the entire team (conveniently, literally days before most workers RSUs were scheduled to vest, Silicon Valley style)
C-Suite outsources prototyped games.

Fast forward a quater -
Quarterly projections look better (profits down, but expenses down even more due to laying off ~100 people). Stock prices up! Not enough for workers to actually be above water though (they still spent more on the shares than they are worth).
C-Suite sells a few more million in shares. Stock goes back down.

People involved were legally prohibited (coerced probably a better term) from publicly discussing the events that took place. So obviously this isn't a real story, and definitely not something that really happened. And absolutely, definitely, did no one in this fictional story ever happen to run into the fictional CEO at a bar a few months later to be stunned by the fact that the chief didn't even remember what game they were working on, where their officers were, or the names of decade long veterans of the company who got ousted in the debacle. There also definitely aren't any details of this fictional story about a fictional company that are even more galling, but perhaps too obvious to be posted publicly .

I guess all of that is to say... I don't know if SAG is clever enough to structure this deal in a way where C-Suits (sic) won't be able to easily pass the cost on to the developers.

Also, as hopefully highlighted - there's a huge amount of risk involved in creative endeavors. Even at large "stable" companies. In music and games, that risk is born by the musician and developers. I think it's fair for someone taking on that risk to receive residual benefits.

What bothers me is someone taking on a tiny fraction (IMHO, next-to-none for VAs) of that risk and feeling entitled to receiving residual benefits when others aren't. If everyone was getting residuals, and VAs wanted a residual proportional to how much time/risk they put in, that's cool.

As it is, the residuals on average are 0%, and I think it's absolutely fair for VA's to get their work proportional split of that 0%.

If VAs get their residuals - I think it will definitely cause other professionals to stand up and ask "Hey, WTF?". I just don't see the other non-unionized professions have a snowballs chance of getting jack or shit. Good chance of getting laid-off and outsourced though.

BTW: When a game looks like shit and runs like ass, outsourced art (particularly 3d meshes) is *generally* the reason. Not that artists in other countries can't do good work. They generally aren't given the time, and generally don't have the experience of say, a 20 year game industry veteran who knows how to make an awesome shotgun out of 17 triangles. IMHO that industry vet is a master craftsman, and should probably be a part of some kind of union

Re: Risk - Consider, if an artist works on a game, and the game is ugly, even if it isn't that artist's fault it will be harder for them to get their next job. People look at their resume and say "Ugh, they did art for THAT GAME? That game's art was TERRIBLE!? This guy must be terrible!" Even if maybe the artist only worked on marketing material that was all beautiful. Certainly the artist highlights what they worked on to guard themselves from this, but they must trust their future interviewer to actually understand that they didn't work on the bad parts. That's a big ask.

For a voice over actor, I do not think there is any kind of stigma for having worked on a "bad" product - because people know the voice acting didn't make or break it. I mean, sure, Peter Dinklage's VA career is done - that's one example - but that's a very rare case. It's easy for people to assume the VA just came in, did what they were told, and any issues were someone else's fault. For every other professional, it's generally assumed that it was their fault for letting the bad product get made. A friend of mine was an artist on Hellgate: London and found he was better off having a gap in his resume than being associated with that game.
*In fairness - this is a completely different issue than we were discussing*

Note: I absolutely realize that CEOs effectively are getting residuals and effectively taking no-risk. When a game industry CEO gets booted out, they generally find themselves another cushy C-Suit job in short order. They're not putting in their own money, and they're barely putting in their own time. That's stinkier bullshit for fuckin' sure. They're weasels and they weasel extremely well. I expect them to squish and squirm and lie their way out of anything they don't want to deal with/pay for. They are experts on passing the buck, that's basically their job. Wish I had any ideas how to fix that

Well, I guess don't work for them, that's my play, doesn't seem like it's making for any large scale change though

- I *have* to stop talking about this, but I do find it an extremely interesting complex multi-faceted issue. Wishing our elections were about stuff like this
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Statement
51. Re: Morning Mobilization Oct 25, 2016, 14:41 Steazy
I found this yesterday after arguing with jdreyer and NKD about basically this same topic.

No real answers, but I found it an interesting read - particularly Tim Williscroft response.

My take, in a nutshell, is that software development (in that case) and game development are too young to be unionized. Not because they haven't been around long enough, but because anti-union legislation and sentiment shut it down hard. There are some examples of software development unions that tried to form, they all failed.

It seems to me the deck is now stacked against workers trying to unionize. Voice actors are fortunate enough to be grandfathered into an existing union from a different industry (film). Which, I will briefly interject, is what really grinds my gears

Here's how it would likely play out -
1) Game devs unionize
2) CEO bot 3007 decides this is too much trouble - it puts his seven figure bonus at risk
3) CEO bot fires all the devs who unionized once he doesn't need them anymore - this is already happening regularly
4) CEO bot outsources work
5) CEO bot gets the biggest bonus of his career, tells the other CEO bots how well it worked out for him
6) CEO bots refuse to hire union developers
7) Game devs leave union so they can get a job and feed their families

Would be curious to know why it would go any other way, I'm not an expert in these issues by any means.

I would have been really stoked if SAG just spun off a video game focused branch, since they already are an established union, and allowed other industry professionals to join and band together for actual meaningful change.

As it is, to my eyes, it looks like SAG doesn't give a rats ass about the industry - it's just another revenue source that isn't being maximized. I think SAG wouldn't care if they inadvertently destroyed the industry, because it wouldn't affect them, it isn't their passion, they can just go back to doing cartoons and commercials - I don't think they *really* care about video games or the working conditions in the industry, they care about getting more money for the work they are going to do anyways.

"I think" means I'm stating my personal opinion - I would love to be proven wrong. Having a brighter outlook on life is a nice thing

I don't believe that SAG is intentionally trying to destroy the industry. I'm not even sure they would have the power to do that. If they did destroyed EA, Disney Interactive, and all the other companies they were picketing that'd *probably* be a net good thing for the industry.

Also, I think there's way too much voice acting in games today anyways - if this results in big studios no longer relying on 1000's of hours of voice acting to sell their game - and forces them to actually design interesting games... well... that'd also be a win in my book.

RE: (Whistle)ill (Whistle)eaton - I guarantee you Will was properly compensated for his time and work or he would have never agreed to do the project. I am very curious to hear rational arguments for why someone who spent a dozen hours they were well paid for working on a project they were barely familiar with deserves residuals/royalties before someone spending years of their life on the same project. Especially given that the product would never exist without the people putting in the long hours. Because Will Wheaton is famous? I don't think Warren Spector is getting Deus Ex royalties (I could be wrong...).
Seems like just another bullshit mechanism for the rich to get richer, to me. Note: I'm jaded as fuck, and probably misinformed.

Does anyone else find it somewhat silly that 99% of the game industry is complaining that they're working too many hours (12+ a day) and thus can't spend time with their families, and then one group is complaining that they work too many hours (4+ a day) and that they can only work 3 days a week... so they have a bunch of free time, and thus need to get paid more? Sounds like one group has plenty of time to spend with their families If they were game devs, they would be moonlighting in that time just to make rent.
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today
48. Re: SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today Oct 25, 2016, 13:45 Steazy
jdreyer wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 23:12:
Steazy wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 16:55:
No, unions don't form anymore because individual skilled employees have the freedom to negotiate their own working conditions and can leave a job they don't like. Just like these voice actors can.
We have the largest wealth gap in 100 years. That correlates directly to the fall in union membership over the past 40 years. So how's that "freedom to negotiate " working out? American productivity has increased by 30% over the past 40 years. Adjusted for inflation wages have increased 0.2%. Exec pay has doubled or tripled over the same period. They wouldn't be striking if they had been able to get these concessions individually.

Why don't you think you deserve protections and some residuals too?

100% agree. I do think game devs deserve protection and residuals. Honestly I feel that I personally as a programmer don't need them as much as other professions. I have the option to go work in a different industry where these issues more or less don't exist. A game designer though? What other industry are they going to work in... fast food? These are people with college degrees in many cases, although I am skeptical of the value of a game design degree

I think that's what triggered me so much about this. Voice actors can go work in film, television, commercials, you-tube and more. Many game industry professionals basically need to restart their career from square one to change industries.
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today
47. Re: SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today Oct 25, 2016, 13:39 Steazy
jdreyer wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 22:56:
@ Steazy. No crucifixion. I agree with much of what you say.

A. I agree game devs are the hardest working lowest compensated devs in the software industry. It shouldn't be tolerated "because games. " If anyone was ripe for unionization, it's game devs. Let's not blame VAs for that.

B. That's why this strike is happening, to negotiate hazard pay into the standard contract. A single voice actor alone doesn't have the leverage. But working together in union (see what I did there?) the can get that protection as standard.

Whoa, you read what I wrote? Crazy.

I guess I'm just irrationally afraid that this action is going to make it much harder for game devs to effectively unionize by reducing the size of the pie available for the people putting a lot more hours into these projects.

I see now that it's very reasonable to argue the reverse - that if the voice actors can get their demands met, that could set a good precedent for other professionals in the industry.
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today
40. Re: SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today Oct 24, 2016, 21:11 Steazy
Yes, someone always has it worse. Child workers being whipped to death don't exactly have the freedom to go work for another company, in another media, or in another industry though so I think you can only reasonably carry that argument so far.

But for sake of argument I'll concede those points.

I'm not trying to argue "Some other people have it just as bad or worse, so you're not allowed to ask for anything until they get theirs."

I'm saying, that *literally* everyone else in a "working class" roll (excluding CEO's, execs, directors of whatever) in the games industry has it worse. VA's already have a comparably cushy gig *because* they have a powerful union that can push the industry around. I don't think it's reasonable to expect comparably powerful unions to form around other disciplines in any reasonable amount of time (look how long SAG has been around).

I would like to see the state of the games industry improve before 2050, when programmer and game designer unions as powerful as SAG would likely come to be, based on historical observation. I think trying to change things discipline by discipline in the games industry is a very selfish way to go about it. Most workers in gaming do not have that option, now or in the foreseeable future.

Everyone knows there are systemic problems ruining the industry, and it's not because one particular type of worker is being exploited. It's because they all are. The wrong people (execs) are rewarded when things go well, and the wrong people (workers) are punished when things go poorly. Hmmm, wait, I think someone else has said that before

All in all I suppose it's good that they are at least raising awareness of the issue. Looking at their list of target companies I definitely don't have any sympathy for the corporations. Indie gaming is real, so there's at least some hope for improvement through other avenues.

But seriously, everyone I've ever worked with would kill for 4 day work week, and royalties? Holy fucking shit they'd all be retired making indie games for Steam That would be awesome.
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today
38. Re: SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today Oct 24, 2016, 20:21 Steazy
NKD wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 19:53:

As to your bizarre BLM reference, you are basically All Lives Matter at this point. "Why isn't this black advocacy group ALSO advocating for WHITE PEOPLE who have it rough????!?!!" Because it's not their fucking job. If you try to advocate for everyone, you'll accomplish nothing. This is why industries have separate unions and it's not all just one big workers advocacy group.

Sorry, I can't follow your logic here. The group that works the least, has a powerful union backing them, and wants more than everyone else is the one being overworked and overlooked? I think you got that backwards buddy.
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News Comments > SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today
37. Re: SAG-AFTRA Picketing EA Today Oct 24, 2016, 20:18 Steazy
Agree BLM metaphor is heavy handed - triggered that you flipped it on me but fair is fair The only point I was trying to make is that voice actors, in the game industry, have it better than most, in the game industry.

Artists, especially concept artists, spend a lot of time job hunting and bouncing company to company for short stints of work - they get none of the things SAG wants. They make a lot less than $200 an hour. They work a lot more than 4 hours a day. Please, ask a concept artist how good it is for their wrists (their livelihood, their "voice") to be drawing 10-12 hours a day 5-6 days a week? Explain to them how voice actors have it so much rougher because they have to work 4 hours a day up to 3 days a week in order to make more money.

A QA tester before release could easily be forced to work 100 hour weeks with no overtime and make less than the 40 hours a voice actor spent on the entire project. Oh, the QA tester will probably also get shit-canned as soon as the game ships. Back to the job hunt. No royalties for them.

There are plenty of people working on games at these companies, many with degrees, making barely above minimum wage. Those people are commuting in to work every day, staying late, buying their own lunches the whole time. Voice actor rolls in for 4-5 days and makes as much money as they do in 6 months. Except the voice actor doesn't have to commute in to work every day, doesn't pay for child care all those days, doesn't pay for lunch all those days. Yea, I get that voice actors are the minority, but I don't see how they're being oppressed on the same scale.

At the companies SAG is striking against, no programmer, artist, modeler, game designer, producer, or writer is getting royalties on any of the games they make. By and large, no one in the games industry is getting royalties on their games unless they funded it (indie/startup).
Someone pointed out stocks - that sort of works assuming the company doesn't lay off the team before vesting (hint: they almost always do). Even if that's not the case, the profits from a game a developer worked on can easily get swallowed up by bad decisions/investments made higher up the chain of command, everyone here knows what I'm talking about. So one could easily work on game that made $100 million dollars, lose money on their stocks because EA blew $200 million dollars marketing {insert terrible EA game here}.
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News Comments > Evening Safety Dance
1. Re: Evening Safety Dance Oct 24, 2016, 19:39 Steazy
Yup, just like everyone was always saying - Apple develops the worlds most secure operating systems!

Oh wait, no, all those people were idiot fanboys.
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News Comments > Watch Dogs 2 Trailer
12. Re: Watch Dogs 2 Trailer Oct 24, 2016, 18:56 Steazy
Cutter wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 14:29:
The Half Elf wrote on Oct 24, 2016, 13:22:
I watched about 20 mins of a 2 hour gameplay and it seems they have made quite a few improvements.

Def on my radar.

Will you go to the virtual Castro and bang a virtual lumberjack?

I'd check this out for no other reason to check out virtual SF. Hang out in North Beach. I wonder if they included Berkeley?

Oh god does Cutter live in/frequent the Bay Area? One more reason to never leave home!
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