‘the-last-of-us’-actor-troy-baker-angers-fans-with-‘voice-nft’-support-–-forbes

The Last of Us Part 2


Naughty Dog

The crypto industry keeps flinging NFT-shaped rocks at the hornet’s nest of the gaming industry, and today, we’ve waded into pretty bizarre territory. Prolific video game voice actor Troy Baker, best known for playing Joel in The Last of Us, announced a partnership with “Voiceverse,” a company that claims it will be turning AI-generated voices into NFTs.

Baker seems to have anticipated the backlash it would bring, and boy, was he correct.

There are a number of complaints being made by fans and fellow members of the gaming industry here.

1) Support of NFTs, which critics claim encourage creative theft and damage to the environment, is a “touch the stove” position among many in the industry at this point.

2) Baker appears to be promoting technology that would theoretically aim to devalue or even replace that he and his fellow voice actors do.

3) Reading through Voiceverse’s actual plans, it’s hard to believe the logistical reality of much of this, with pitches full of typical “imagine this was possible!” language, with barely anything concrete to show for it.

Baker’s social media is closed and Voiceverse doesn’t even have a contact page, so I’ve been exploring its website which makes some…interesting claims about the future of these NFT voices. Here’s part of its “roadmap”:

“8,888 Origins pfp’s paired with unique AI-generated voice models are dropping in January. The AI voice model will be available for use across 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 get an Emotion Shot to add various emotions to their Voice NFTs to create a new Voice NFT that can express hundreds of different emotions.”

“Proud of your voice? For existing Voiceverse NFT holders, we will open up the platform to mint your OWN voice as NFTs.”

“Forget TEXT to Speech, now it’s SPEECH to Speech! When you talk, your voice will be converted to your Voice NFT, automagically, in real-time. Low-latency, so when you are screaming for heals, you aren’t already dead.”

It’s not clear if Troy Baker is minting his own voice for this project, or what exact his role is. Voiceverse has also nabbed Overwatch D.Va voice actress Charlet Chung, and it claims you can “find her voice NFT in the Voiceverse,” so the implication does seem to be yes, these actors are giving their actual voices to this project.

This, of course, raises even more questions. Let’s make a huge leap and assume Voiceverse can actually do all the things it claims. Can you buy Troy Baker’s voice and make him say…anything you want? If you mint your own voice and then sell it, can someone else do that to you? The problems with that are immediately obvious and vast, and this entire project barely makes any logistical sense.

Baker posted his Voiceverse tweet at 1 AM and has been getting ratioed for hours now, with no further commentary on his involvement. 99% of his replies are “hate,” as he would say, including many saying they will no longer follow him or support his projects.

I will update this article if I hear back from Baker or Voiceverse with further information.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.