is the anti-nft movement working? voice actor troy baker and team 17 drop plans, ea's enthusiasm cools

Why it matters: Is the backlash against NFTs within the gaming industry having an effect? While some companies continue to hold on to the claim that non-fungible tokens are the way forward, others, including The Last of Us actor Troy Baker, Team 17 and, to a lesser extent, EA, aren’t so sure.

Baker, whose voice can also be heard in Bioshock Infinite, Fortnite, and more, had been a much-loved gaming personality until two weeks ago when he announced a partnership with VoiceverseNFT. The company says it lets people buy and sell AI voiceovers in NFT form that can be used in games.

Baker’s decision to join the project did not go down well with fans. He also managed to exacerbate the bad feelings by tweeting: “You can hate. Or you can create. What’ll it be?”

Not unexpectedly, Troy was faced with plenty of the former from gamers and those in the industry. People raged against the environmental impact of NFTs, the danger that he was depriving other voice actors of work, and the wording of the tweet, which he later admitted “might have been a bit antagonistic.” Nevertheless, Baker didn’t back down, but he finally threw in the towel on Monday:

Thank you all for your feedback and patience. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to not continue the partnership with VoiceVerseNFT. Intentions aside, I’ve heard you and apologize for accusing anyone of “hating” just by simply disagreeing with me.

— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) January 31, 2022

It’s not just Baker who seems less loving of NFTs. In November, EA CEO Andrew Wilson called non-fungible tokens “the future of our industry.” However, Wilson’s enthusiasm seemed to have cooled when he revisited the subject in a recent earnings call, possibly the result of the backlash from those who buy the company’s games.

“I believe that collectibility will continue to be an important part of our industry in the games and experiences that we offer our players,” Wilson said. “Whether that’s as part of NFTs and the blockchain, that remains to be seen. And I think, the way we think about it is, we want to deliver the best possible player experience we can, and so we’ll evaluate that over time. But right now it’s not something that we’re driving hard on.”

Team17 is today announcing an end to the MetaWorms NFT project.
We have listened to our Teamsters, development partners, and our games’ communities, and the concerns they’ve expressed, and have therefore taken the decision to step back from the NFT space.

— Team17 (@Team17) February 1, 2022

Additionally, developer/publisher Team 17 received so much criticism after revealing it would turn its Worms characters into (non-game) NFTs that it pulled the project 24 hours after announcing it.

Not everyone has lost their faith in NFTs. Ubisoft recently doubled down on them, again, insisting that gamers just “don’t get it.”

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