The crypto industry continues to throw NFT-shaped boulders at the gaming industry’s hornet’s nest, and today we waded into some pretty bizarre territory. Prolific video game voice actor Troy Baker, best known for playing Joel in The Last of Us, has announced a partnership with “Voiceverse,” a company that claims it will turn AI-generated voices into NFTs.
Baker seems to have anticipated the backlash this would cause, and boy, was he right.
There are a number of complaints filed by fans and other members of the gaming industry here.
1) Supporting NFTs, which critics say encourage creative theft and environmental damage, is one “hit the stove” position among many in the industry at this point.
2) Baker seems to be promoting technology that would theoretically aim to devalue or even replace what he and his fellow voice actors are doing.
3) Reading the actual Voiceverse plans, it’s hard to believe the logistical reality of much of this, with pitches full of “imagine it was possible!” language, with barely anything concrete to show.
Baker’s social media is shut down and Voiceverse doesn’t even have a contact page, so I explored their website which makes some…interesting statements about the future of these NFT voices. Here is part of his “roadmap”:
“8,888 pfp of Origins associated with unique AI-generated voice patterns are down in January. The AI voice model will be available for use in the metaverse for real-time communication or for content creation! The Voice NFT will give you unlimited access to this AI voice model.
“Existing Voiceverse NFT holders will receive an Emotion Shot to add various emotions to their Voice NFTs to create a new Voice NFT capable of expressing hundreds of different emotions.”
“Proud of your voice? For existing Voiceverse NFT holders, we will open the platform to create your OWN voice as NFT.
“Forget TEXT to Speech, now it’s SPEECH to Speech! When you speak, your voice will be converted to your NFT voice, automatically, in real time. Low latency, so when you scream for care, you’re not already dead.
It’s unclear if Troy Baker is hitting his own voice for this project, or what his exact role is. Voiceverse has also nabbed Overwatch voice actress D.Va Charlet Chung, and he claims you can “find her NFT voice in the Voiceverse”, so the implication seems to be yes, these actors are giving their actual voice to this project.
This, of course, raises even more questions. Let’s take a big step forward and assume that Voiceverse can actually do everything it claims. Can you buy Troy Baker’s voice and make him say… whatever you want? If you punch your own voice and sell it, can someone else do it to you? The problems with this are immediately obvious and vast, and this whole project makes next to no logistical sense.
Baker posted his Voiceverse tweet at 1 a.m. and has been split for hours now, with no further comment on his involvement. 99% of his replies are “hate”, as he would say, many of which say they no longer follow him or support his projects.
I’ll update this article if I hear from Baker or Voiceverse with more information.
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