Prolific voice actor Troy Baker, best known for BioShock Infinite’s Booker DeWitt and The Last of Us’ Joel, found himself in hot water with his fans after tweeting about a partnership with a “Voice NFT” company. The backlash was spurred not only by Baker’s decision to jump into the notoriously sketchy NFT game, but also by the tone of his message, in which he told followers, “You can hate. Or you can create something.”
“I’m working with VoiceverseNFT to explore ways we could collectively give new developers new tools to create new things and give everyone the ability to own and invest in the IPs they create,” Baker tweeted. “We all have a story to tell. You can hate Or you can create something.
The ratio is brutal:
I’m working with @VoiceverseNFT to explore ways we can collectively bring new tools to new creators to do new things, and give everyone a chance to own and invest in the IPs they create. We all have a story to tell. You can hate Or you can create. what will it be pic.twitter.com/cfDGi4q0AZJanuary 14, 2022
“This is a shitty scam,” Obsidian’s Josh Sawyer answered. “It has nothing to do with ownership interests in new IPs, everything to do with a (very bad) speculative asset class. It sucks.”
Twitch streamer CohhCarnage had some advice:
YouTuber Suzi Hunter was a little more apt:
Composer Austin Wintory made a joke that stayed shallow, but later clarified that he didn’t want to imply he was involved with NFTs:
Appreciate the kind words. right back to you It seems my very-obvious-a-joke joke wasn’t that obvious!January 14, 2022
Some followers have also seriously attempted to explain why this is a bad idea:
I’ve been a huge fan of yours for so long that you inspired me to start voice acting and I can’t believe you would just rush into a project like this when you know the kind of damage it’s doing to ours earth will inflict . you don’t create, you destroy.January 14, 2022
The Voice NFTs Baker is promoting are a little different from the low-quality monkey JPGs we’re used to – they’re based on audio and not crappy images. this thread from the VoiceverseNFT account pretends to explain what this is about, although to be honest I don’t understand what most of it is actually supposed to mean.
“Voice NFTs provide unlimited, uninterrupted access to the underlying AI voice owned by the NFT. If you own a voice NFT, you can create all kinds of voice content and you will OWN all the IP,” the thread reads. “Imagine being able to create custom audiobooks, youtube videos, e-learning lectures or even podcasts with your favorite voice! And all without the hassle of additional legal work. This also allows people with limited resources to access professional voices more easily. “
There is acknowledgment of the negative impact NFT creation has on the environment, but Voiceverse said it is trying to move its NFTs to a greener mainnet [a term used to describe a live, independent blockchain using its own cryptocurrencies or tokens] in the future. Of course, there’s also a nod to potential appreciation in value.
7/8If it’s just a SaaS product and not an NFT, we can’t build a truly decentralized solution to prepare for Web3, and the key really is that YOU fully own the IP and it’s publicly proven, NOT managed by us .January 14, 2022
There were scattered statements of support here and there in replies to Baker’s tweet, but overall the reaction was heavily negative. The backlash was enough to prompt Baker to clarify his reasons for taking up the NFT matter, although he gave no indication that he was reconsidering his position.
“I always want to be part of the conversation, even if sometimes that finds me in the middle of a loud conversation,” Baker said in a brief follow-up Twitter thread. “I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and giving me a lot to think about. I’m just a storyteller out here trying to tell my story to anyone who will listen and hoping I can help others do the same. Sometimes it works, sometimes it works. I’m thankful that there are those who are passionate about their position and not only feel confident about expressing it, but have the means to do so.
“The ‘hate/create’ part was maybe a bit antagonistic… I hope you’ll forgive me for that. Poor attempt at spreading hilarity to those with truth showing it, those with support offering it, and those with anger who do their best to express it.
Many major studios and publishers, including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Sega, have made it their mission to leverage NFTs. However, players have not done so: Discord rolled back plans to integrate NFTs and crypto into its platform late last year after, for example, strong negative user reaction, and GSC Game World has NFTs in Stalker 2 in the wake of a similar reaction from its fans.
And it’s not just the environmental cost of generating NFTs that’s of concern: NFT scammers have disappeared with millions of dollars in the last few months (more than once), and there’s currently little evidence that they’re doing anything which is not already offered by existing technologies.