While gamers might not immediately recognise the name or face of Michael Hollick, his voice might ring a bell. Hollick is the actor who gave voice to Niko Bellic, the main character in Grand Theft Auto IV, which has made over half a billion dollars since its release last month. What kind of pay does a man starring in such a blockbuster property bring home these days? According to Mr. Hollick, only around $US 100,000 over the course of 15 months, and residuals? Forget about it.
"Obviously I'm incredibly thankful to Rockstar for the opportunity to be in this game when I was just a nobody, an unknown quantity," Mr. Hollick, 35, said last week..."But it's tough, when you see Grand Theft Auto IV out there as the biggest thing going right now, when they're making hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don't see any of it.
Unlike other forms of entertainment, the Screen Actor's Guild doesn't have policy in place for video games, so actors don't get royalties on each game sold, even if the game becomes one of the best selling titles of all time.
Games companies aren't exactly itching to hop on the royalties bandwagon either. While it would be easy enough to institute, they fear that soon designers, graphics artists, programmers...basically everyone involved in the production of a video game would be wanting similar agreements. Dogs and cats, living together, total anarchy.
The issue more than likely won't see a resolution anytime soon, but the more games like GTA IV that get released, the hotter the topic becomes, until eventually they start selling kitschy retro t-shirts with cartoon logos on them.
A Video Game Star and His Less-Than-Stellar Pay [The New York Times - Thanks Campion!]