AI Voice Deal: Gaming Actors Feel Left Out

Surprise, Surprise!

AI Voice. Imagine you’re a voice actor, and out of the blue, you find out there’s this groundbreaking deal about AI-generated voices in games. Well, that’s what happened to many prominent voice actors who claim they were kept in the dark about a deal between US actors’ union Sag-Aftra and AI company Replica Studios.

The Unseen Deal

So, Sag-Aftra and Replica Studios shook hands on this agreement, ensuring “fully informed consent and fair compensation” for the actors. But guess what? The actors, who have been sweating over the fear that AI might take their jobs, are fuming about not being in the loop.

Voices of Fury

In an email to its members, Sag-Aftra said the deal craft by a committee with experienced game performers. They claim it’s tailor-made for voice actors, promising the right compensation and informed consent. However, some actors aren’t buying it.

Fallout and Mortal Kombat voice actor Sunil Malhotra, who sacrificed half of last year in a strike, feels like he’s been played. He said, “I sacrificed to strike… not to shop around my AI replica.”

Clash with Past Strikes

This dust-up comes after Sag-Aftra led a massive strike in 2023, fighting tooth and nail for protections against studios using AI in film and TV. Now, some actors are scratching their heads, wondering if this new deal is kinda going against the whole point of that big industrial showdown.

Union’s Take

The union, on its blog, insists the deal got a thumbs-up from the voiceover performer community. They argue that as AI tech advances, it’s crucial to protect voice talent rights. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s chief negotiator, claims they’ve nailed informed consent and fair compensation in this deal.

AI Agreement 101

So, what’s this deal all about? Sag-Aftra spills the beans. It lays out the rules for AI-generated voices in video games. Replica Studios can license these voices in gaming and other media forms. The deal demands the AI company to get a green light from actors before using voices based on their likeness. Actors also have the power to shut down their voice being used indefinitely without their say-so.

Actors Ain’t Happy

Despite the union’s positive spin, the performers are far from pleased. World of Warcraft voice actor Andrew Russell bluntly called it “garbage.” Shelby Young, the voice of Yuko in Persona 3: Reload, expressed being “really disappointed” in the union.

Outcries Beyond Gaming

The discontent stretches beyond the gaming world. Joshua Seth, known for Digimon, slammed it as a “big mistake.” Audiobook narrator Paige Reisenfeld is “ashamed” her union payments contributed to it. And Veronica Taylor, the voice of Ash in Pokemon, is scratching her head, wondering how this deal slipped through without a vote.

President’s Perspective

Sag-Aftra president Fran Drescher defends the deal, claiming it’s a “great example of AI being done right.” Well, the actors seem to have a different take on that.

AI Firm’s Ethical Stand

On the flip side, Replica Studios CEO Shreya Nivas thinks they’re taking an “ethical approach” to AI. They’re excited about the possibilities for AAA studios to tap into AI voice tech while ensuring fair recognition and compensation for the talent.

In a nutshell, while Sag-Aftra and Replica Studios are praising this deal as the future of AI, many voice actors are feeling left out and not entirely thrilled about it. The clash between protecting jobs and embracing AI is on, and it’s clear the actors want their voices heard.