Troy Baker, the voice actor who you probably know from roles like Joel from The Last of Us or Snow from the Final Fantasy XIII series, has had a loud morning today after announcing at 1 a.m. Eastern that he was entering a partnership to make NFTs. Specifically with Voiceverse NFT, which makes voice NFTs. Its official site describes this as providing “an ownership to a unique voice in the Metaverse.”
Baker’s announcement in the dead of night said this “might bring new tools and new creators to make new things, and allow everyone a chance to own & invest in the IP’s they create.” But even announcing it when most Americans would be asleep, or not looking at social media for their own sanity, the backlash was loud, and it was immediate. Not only for Baker’s involvement in an NFT project to begin with, but also the antagonistic tone of his tweet, which more or less implied anyone who was against the process was a hater and getting in the way of True Creatives Doing Creative Work. It was also met with criticism from other voice actors, who believe the technology being used will affect actors’ ability to get work.
I’m partnering with @VoiceverseNFT to explore ways where together we might bring new tools to new creators to make new things, and allow everyone a chance to own & invest in the IP’s they create.
We all have a story to tell.
You can hate.
Or you can create.
What’ll it be? pic.twitter.com/cfDGi4q0AZ
— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) January 14, 2022
and pls gawd im beggin, especially once you've realized just how intense the negativity is in the reactions to this, pls dont just stomp your foot and pout. the Conversations That Matter matter most when the conversation is best informed. PLEASE take this as a learning moment.
— ???????? MANGO | She/They ???????? (@MangoThey) January 14, 2022
A lot of folks will come at you with a lot of info about why this is no good. I hope you'll be the type of man you seem to want to be, and listen to them. And not just the ones telling you what you wanna hear. You're one of the greats, but I won't be with you on this one, sir.
— Gianni Matragrano (@GetGianni) January 14, 2022
This really really hurts, man.
You’re the reason I got into this career/industry, the performance that inspired me to get involved and start entertaining others.
I owe so much of what I’ve become to you.
To see you do something like this feels like I’ve lost a personal hero.
— Sean Chiplock ???? @ IchibanCon (@sonicmega) January 14, 2022
As Baker’s post blew up, Voiceverse NFT posted a thread on its Twitter account, attempting to describe the utility of a voice NFT. Some examples included creating audiobooks, YouTube videos, or podcasts with AI voices the NFT owner would have rights to. As well as using the voice in multiplayer games to sound like a certain character in voice chat. As for what actors like Baker would stand to gain here, Voiceverse says voice NFTs would provide royalties to actors whose voices were being recreated with AI, and as the hypothetical value of an NFT rises, the actor would receive “benefits,” but that’s as specific as the post got. The thread also acknowledged the environmental impact of NFTs, and said it was working to move its NFTs to a “much more environmentally friendly mainnet.” Basically saying that it’s going to be more environmentally friendly in the future. Scout’s honor.
In the thread’s sign-off tweet, Voiceverse NFT “[admits] some of the short-comings” of the entire process, but asks for people to give it a chance before writing it off entirely.
We aren't saying Voice NFT is the perfect-child in the family of NFTs. We admit some of the short-comings, but we ask that you give it a chance without shunning it from the get-go, and look into what value and utility it can provide to the creator and gamer communities
— Voiceverse NFT (@VoiceverseNFT) January 14, 2022
More on NFTs in video games:
- Konami Embraces NFTs with Castlevania Anniversary Because Of Course
- Square Enix Publishes New Year’s Letter Committed to Fueling NFT Hell
- I Am Selling This Review as an NFT: A Review
Anyway, all that happened in the early hours of the a.m., and Baker’s follow-up thread was posted about nine hours later. In it, he says he appreciated people “giving [him] a lot to think about.” Then goes on to say that he’s a storyteller who is trying to tell his story…through lending his voice to AI voice generators for people to pay money for. He also admitted the hate/create section of his announcement was antagonistic, and a “bad attempt to bring levity.” So, that’s not really anything. Baker’s original tweet is still live, and he hasn’t said anything about whether or not he’s going to get out of whatever agreement he’s signed up for. But he has much to consider.
If you want a real breakdown on NFTs and what they mean for video games, take some time to check out this episode of Thanks for the Knowledge, where John Warren spoke with The Verge’s Adi Robertson about it.