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: Videogame stocks outperform broader market slightly as actors strike threatens to spread to game publishers

Videogame stocks performed slightly better than the broader market Tuesday after striking actors voted late Monday to expand their strike to work on videogames, which constitutes an even larger market than movies or television.

Monday evening, members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted 98.3% in favor of a “strike authorization on the Interactive Media Agreement that covers members’ work on video games.”

That agreement includes such companies as Activision Blizzard Inc. ATVI, -0.05%, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. TTWO, -0.99% and Electronic Arts Inc. EA, -1.13%, as well as Blindlight LLC, DIsney’s DIS, -1.19% Disney Character Voices Inc., Formosa Interactive LLC, Insomniac Games Inc., Epic Games, VoiceWorks Productions Inc. and Warner Bros’ Discovery’s WBD, +0.28% WB Games Inc.

Shares of Activision Blizzard declined less than 0.1%, while Take-Two shares declined 1%, Electronic Arts shares fell 1.1% and Playtika Holding Corp. shares PLTK, -3.03% dropped 3%. Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -1.70%, which faces an Oct. 18 deadline to close its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saw shares down 1.7%

SAG-AFTRA said the authorization does not mean it is calling a strike against videogame makers but that companies have “refused to offer acceptable terms on some of the issues most critical to our members, including wages that keep up with inflation, protections around exploitative uses of artificial intelligence, and basic safety precautions.”

Read: New Unity fees are ‘critical to the foundation of the company,’ exec tells videogame developers

With bargaining sessions beginning Tuesday and set to run through Thursday, the union said it hopes “the added leverage of a successful strike authorization vote will compel the companies to make significant movement on critical issues where we are still far apart.”

Shares of game-monetization companies were split, with AppLovin Corp. APP, +1.02% closing up 1% and Unity Software Inc. U, -2.90%, which also hopes to better monetize its game engine, down 2.9%.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 SPX closed down 1.5%, while both the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP and the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector exchange-traded fund IGV finished down 1.6%.

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