Technologists have long sought to create a better parallel world rich with opportunity. Many fairy tales, fantasy novels, and films have been written on the subject. Usually, the main characters enter worlds that allow them to live completely different lives from those they lead in the physical world.
Over the past few years, the term “metaverse” has exploded in popularity — it is mentioned in the context of Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, Animal Crossing, and AR and VR technologies.
For example, in 2021, the heads of Microsoft, Epic Games, and Facebook simultaneously spoke about the development of their metaverse. And each company has its own unique vision of this virtual universe of the future.
According to Bloomberg, by 2024 the metaverse will be worth $800 billion. So it’s definitely the right time to figure out what the metaverse is, what it is not, how it can be created and for whom, what is needed to achieve success, and why audio plays such a significant role in its development.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a kind of platform that developers provide and users create. Each person independently contributes to the virtual world in accordance with their own imagination and desires.
The metaverse is a mix of virtual and augmented reality. The idea was invented by science fiction writers back in the 20th century with the purpose of creating a limitless three-dimensional digital world. Today, according to the plans of modern tech giants, this world will be as easy to access as the internet.
Unlike today’s virtual reality, which is used primarily for gaming, this virtual world can be used for almost anything — work conferences, games, concerts, watching movies, or just relaxing. To enter this world you simply take on the form of a 3D avatar.
The concept of the metaverse is directly related to blockchain and specifically to gaming NFTs. In this regard, it is possible to monetize the created game content.
However, the purpose of the metaverse is not just a “computer game”, but a place where people can work, study, communicate, and make purchases.
Examples of Metaverses
Interest in the metaverse concept was greatly accelerated by the pandemic. Against the backdrop of lockdowns, the demand for remote work and online entertainment has exploded. Although there are many concepts of what the metaverse should be, most of them are based on human interaction. And this of course didn’t go unnoticed by large companies. Among them are Facebook, Microsoft, and Epic Games.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the loudest proponent of the development of the metaverse in July 2021, even renaming his company Meta in the fall to confirm the seriousness of his intentions.
According to Zuckerberg, it will be a complete virtual world for communication, work, and entertainment, where users can literally feel the physical presence of other users.
Microsoft also announced the creation of its own metaverse and got started by changing traditional office life using its Azure cloud technology. The company announced that as early as the first half of 2022, its Teams video conferencing service will have virtual spaces and 3D avatars for communication, data exchanges, and routine work.
One of the most vivid examples of a metaverse is a Decentraland platform — a “decentralized virtual world” running on Ethereum. It is a virtual metaverse where users can buy and sell digital real estate while exploring the world, interacting with each other, and playing games. Decentraland users have their own avatars and nicknames. Similar platforms are Sandbox, Mirandus, and Axie Infinity, to name a few.
The Importance of Voice Avatars and Spatial Audio in the Metaverse
In the real world, people use their voices to express their feelings and better convey ideas. An objective of the metaverse is to achieve a feeling of maximum parallel reality on account of what is happening in it.
This is made possible by delivering a consistent world with both high-quality visual and audio components. Two audio components that play a vital role in creating a metaverse are voice avatars and spatial audio.
Since digital avatars define the presence of a user with a metaverse, it is critical to provide these avatars with all necessary audio elements that humans have in reality.
When creating a metaverse, so much attention is paid to the visuals and to the appearance of the avatars in the metaverse. Far less attention is being paid to audio in the metaverse and to what everyone’s avatar will sound like. However, in order to achieve consistent and natural conversations between avatars, it is critical to place a degree of importance on the way they sound. Robotic voices will need to be relegated to the dustbin of history.
A true metaverse demands flawless spatial audio. Companies like Meta and Microsoft have been investing in spatial audio for their VR hardware and platforms. Spatial audio is one of the most critical components needed to create a true sense of presence within a 3D environment. It is also vital for online business meetings, parties, and games.
Once a spatial audio ecosystem is established, it will deliver a truly immersive experience of contactless, or virtual, concerts that have grown in popularity amid the global pandemic.
The key to making a proper metaverse is narrowing the gap between the physical world and the virtual world. Spatial audio can help this process along because of its 360-degree sound delivery.
How Can Synthetic Voices Improve your Metaverse?
Synthetic voices can make your company’s metaverse experience more consistent and the interactions of your avatars more personal. Google and Amazon have long experimented with giving their respective assistants a variety of voices, these have included cameos from celebrities like John Legend and Issa Rae. This is probably the best part of using synthetic voices — you can actually give your avatars just about any voice you like.
With AI voices you can bring your in-game character to life or complete your online persona with a specific voice. Find out how to improve your metaverse presence with Respeecher’s voice cloning technology. Our voice swaps are virtually indistinguishable from the original voice — and never sound robotic. They convey all the nuances and emotions of human speech and are generated with the highest production value.
Respeecher works with leading Hollywood movie studios, game developers, and major multinational corporations. We know the importance of keeping sensitive data secure and take that responsibility seriously.
With Respeecher, you are in control of how you are heard. There are no more limits on your own voice when it comes to your voice avatar. Build your personal brand online, personalize your voice assistants, and attract more users to your metaverse with Respeecher.
This article was initially published on the Respeecher blog.