The more I read and write about AI, the more it seems like the AI bubble is going to burst soon, as the artificial intelligence criticism grows bigger by the day. It won't be surprising if those companies that use the "AI" tag in their marketing and naming might start concealing it soon. Recent news from the gaming world is telling, in a way.
As reported by PCgamesn, some players are unhappy with the AI voice acting in The Finals. The developer, Embark Studio, had previously explained that they used AI text-to-speech to save time and costs. Players, however, didn't appreciate the move and criticised the use of AI voices, urging others to boycott the game.
The discussion took place on the Steam forums, where players were arguing that the use of AI in voice acting "sets a harmful trend in the gaming industry," as real voice actors bring value to characters, while AI lacks the ability to infuse life into the game.
"Don’t support this trash," one user on the forums says. "The game is using AI voices for the narrators, don’t support this studio.”
Not all players are in agreement, however; there are players defending the use of AI, asserting that voice acting shouldn't be a significant factor in a multiplayer shooting game like The Finals.
Embark Studio had previously mentioned in a podcast that AI voice acting would continue to be a part of The Finals to maintain a focus on game quality. The developer has not yet commented on the backlash, and there's no indication of a change in their stance at this point.
This is not the first time the gaming industry is being accused of using artificial intelligence in the way it shouldn't. Earlier this year, players criticised Squanch Games for its use of AI-created art in High On Life. Former CEO of the company, Justin Roiland said "the art, created by Midjourney, was used to give the world of the game an otherworldly quality appropriate for its alien planet setting."
Microsoft and its M12 Ventures portfolio company, Inworld AI, which announced that they're developing generative AI tools for video games, is another case. The news wasn't met with admiration, though, as game developers, voice actors, game writers, and influencers took to Twitter to name it "a tone-deaf decision" since the industry has already been plagued with over 6,000 layoffs in 2023 alone.