Voice actor Troy Baker has announced he is partnering with an NFT company, and his fans are less than impressed.
Baker, who is most famous for his role as Joel in The Last of Us, revealed on Twitter that he's partnering with Voiceverse, a company that helps create and promote AI powered voice NFTs. These text-to-speech voices are designed with the intention of being used to create audiobooks, podcasts, read scripts, and other projects that require voice over without the need for an actual voice actor.
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
"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," said Baker, before signing off "You can hate. Or you can create. What'll it be?"
At the time of writing, the tweet vastly more replies and quote retweets than likes. I think it's safe to say Baker has been ratioed.
troy, this isnt just an "i hate NFTs for the sake of having sth to hate" thing, NFTs have such huge consequences. "you can hate or you can create" is so petty and such a middle finger to all the artists who have already been affected negatively by NFTs. you're better than this.
— 🥭🌈 MANGO | She/They 🌈🥭 (@MangoThey) January 14, 2022
The largely negative response to Baker's announcement includes a variety of concerns, including those about how NFTs impact artists, actors, and the creative industries at large.
This is an outrageously bad idea. On top of the NFT bumf, it's "Here is an AI tool that can render voice actors useless". You're not only pulling up the ladder for voice artists just finding their feet, you're also *devaluing your own work*. Staggeringly, blisteringly terrible. pic.twitter.com/FJLVc7txB7
— Bison 'Guy Kelly' Sexhorn Twitch.tv/Brainmage (@Brainmage) January 14, 2022
Replies have tried to draw Baker's attention to how many artists have fallen victim to NFT scams, and that the NFT movement as a whole has fundamental flaws in regards to its use as a creative platform.
Super disappointed. So many artists I know are victims of art theft due to NFT marketplaces. This enriches nobody but the wealthy and least of all the art community. Do better.
— 💀🌈denise🌈💀 (@dinnasaw) January 14, 2022
Just a reminder we already have a way to support creators and give a way to own things its called an invoice and contract. No NFT acts as an authoritative proof of ownership in and of itself. Now excuse me as I toss this whole ill-conceived post into the void.
— Notorious C.A.T (@_Script_Daddy_) January 14, 2022
Others have draw attention to the environmental impact of NFTs, and their use in potential fraud and tax evasion.
— The Drunk Cat™ (@Alcoholikaust) January 14, 2022
Essentially, the reaction can be summed up succinctly with this tweet:
— Joe C (@JCosta197) January 14, 2022
The NFT debate seems like it's going to be a major games industry talking point in 2022; Square Enix's President noted that he was exploring them in a New Year's letter, and this follows EA's claims of NFTs being an important part of the future. Sega has also hopped on the NFT bandwagon, but says it will drop plans if fans see it as "simple moneymaking".
While the industry does seem to be pushing into the field, it hasn't stopped fans fighting back. STALKER 2's developers cancelled its own NFT plans in less than an hour after fan backlash.
Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer.