SAG-AFTRA Strikes Landmark AI Voiceover Deal – What It Means For Video Games


SAG-AFTRA, the prominent Hollywood union, has signed a groundbreaking agreement with AI voice studio Replica Studios.

This allows members to license their voices for use in video games developed using AI technology.

This means the actor will sell his voice sample to the gaming studio.

And from that audio sample studio can make whatever character voiceover they want.

There is no need to call actors again and again in the studio to record.

Actors will also get a hefty amount for the use of their voice samples.

The Key Details of the AI Voiceover Deal

  • SAG-AFTRA members must consent before their voices are replicated by AI
  • Their digital voice clones will be protected and securely stored
  • New opportunities were created for actors to sell voices for game voiceovers
  • This applies only to replicating real actor voices, not creating fake AI voices

Why This Matters for Video Game Voice Acting

This deal gives video game studios ethical access to accurate AI recreations of real actors’ voices, with consent.

It also opens up new revenue streams for SAG-AFTRA members by letting them sell voice licenses for AI voiceovers.

The terms aim to protect actors’ likenesses while embracing new tech – striking a balance between innovation and responsible use.

How It Could Impact SAG-AFTRA’s Gaming Strike

Major game studios are in talks with a union regarding the use of AI and actor likenesses.

But none of them come to a conclusion.

SAG-AFTRA showed continued reluctance towards AI during their strike.

If unresolved issues persist, the union is authorized to strike.

However, a recent agreement with Replica Studios on the terms for AI voice looks like a major shift by the union.

This could help resolve the ongoing negotiations.

Replica Studios’ AI Voice Marketplace

Replica Studios provides an AI voice marketplace for gaming/entertainment with ethically sourced voice clones approved by talent.

Their “Smart NPC” characters engage players through natural conversations powered by AI like OpenAI.

This deal expands their catalog with SAG-AFTRA member voices.

Contrast With 2023 SAG-AFTRA Face/Image Deal

Previously, SAG-AFTRA fought studios for using AI to fake actor images/faces without consent.

The new voice agreement takes a collaborative approach, allowing consensual voice cloning by AI under controlled conditions.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), represents 150,000 industry professionals and actors.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA, considers this agreement a significant milestone.

However, some actors and the broader actors’ community are expressing dissatisfaction with the agreement.

Some actors said they prefer to be directly involved in recordings instead of providing voice samples.

What’s Next for AI Voices in Games

This deal signals a major shift in actor attitudes toward AI voice replication for interactive entertainment.

It lays ethical ground rules for the technology’s application.

As AI voices keep improving, we can expect more studios to license official voice clones with proper consent rather than create synthetic fakes.

There are still many uncertainties, but SAG-AFTRA’s embrace of next-gen voice tech is noteworthy.

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