One of the most high-profile voice actors working in videogames today, Troy Baker made an announcement on Twitter that he is partnering with company for NFTs.
And I gotta tell you, Troy Baker getting into NFTs was absolutely on my 2022 Bingo card. That speaks less to my opinion of Baker and more to the feeling that some company was inevitably going to try to expand the blockchain to encompass even more things, and have an associated celebrity to back it.
Baker, whose voice can be heard in hundreds of games like The Medium, Batman: Arkham Knight and Far Cry 4, said that the partnership will involve exploring ways to “bring new tools to new creators to make new things,” as well as give them “a chance to own and invest” that which they create. “We all have a story tell,” added Baker.
In a thread posted not long after, Voiceverse NFT described its core product of Voice NFTs as providing “unlimited, perpetual access to the underlying AI voice that represents ownership of.” The companby claims that with it, one can create all kinds of content and own the underlying IP created.
The announcement doesn’t really give a lot of clarity on what role Troy Baker will play in the company’s NFTs. Will he be lending his own voice to be sold on the service, or is he simply serving as a spokesperson. The reaction has been largely negative, with Baker’s announcement tweet having been ratio’ed to hell.
Our very own John Philip Corpuz has written about NFTs before even though we’re reluctant to pursue this topic too aggressively. The fact remains that most of what we’ve seen in the space of gaming regarding NFTs feels like applications wedded to unnecessarily complicated technologies associated with environmental devastation.
Chasing down a new hustle shouldn’t be too surprising for literally anyone living under capitalism. However, as a product, automated voice acting seems like a sketchy product. Voiceverse NFT suggests that royalties can be paid to actors whose voice is sold as an NFT, but it remains to be seen how they compare against union rates.
Video game actors have fought for years to get better compensation for their work. They don’t get profit participation or residuals of any kind for their work. And video game work differs from film, with a large amount of grunts, screams, death cries and other taxing sounds required by most projects.
In exchange for a quick buck, Voiceverse NFT is asking actors to surrender a key asset of their livelihood. For lesser known actors, this is problematic. You can’t make a name for yourself or stand out when your own performance is part of a digital library. High profile actors like Baker, have the clout to protect themselves from this, but not upcoming performers.
Baker for his part said, “You can hate. Or you can create. What’ll it be?”