The majority of the headlines are about the Metaverse after Facebook revealed its name changed as Meta, centred on VR elements. Along with the visuals, voice will be a huge factor when creating a virtual environment; sometimes, it is everything.
Voice is a critical factor in creating a 3D persona for the viewers. Voice and its effects are already present in video gaming, but only in disconnected gaming worlds. Voices are an increasingly important player in gaming. Meta promises to create a unified, interoperable experience rather than a diverse and immersive experience.
McGurk Effect research in the mid-1970’s observed the cognitive dissonance resulting from mismatched audio and visual perceptions.
Represent the Real You in 3D World
The Metaverse is currently promoted as a social environment valued by the unique individual. It will allow you to express yourself by dressing like a human, alien, animal, vegetable, cartoon, or a multitude of other things. Players sometimes try new outfits, and I believe that fluidity is achieved by gender and species. The art of attempting to change your identity is problematic, but one cannot change their sound and visual presence.
The key aspect is having your voice match the persona presented to other people. That is a scenario many people are already accustomed to from video games. A clack of armour and a deep gruff voice would be expected from the character. Voice actors and audio specialists carefully craft nonplayer characters to provide an immersive experience, and game companies make these.
Even if the knight represented a real person in the Metaverse, you would have something that will make you very different. A teenager may be startled by you rather than by your anticipated gravelly voice.
Advancing the Virtual World
The immersive quality of the experience is shredded by the drastic incongruence between sound and vision. Fully immersive can only be facilitated by Metaverse avatars if they allow people to create full digital experiences. In addition to enabling immersion, sonic identity technology can also allow players to slip into truthful pseudonymity.
They can turn someone into the person they want them to see. This can give them protection from the hostile crowd. It is possible to conceal a geographical accent to integrate with the player community easily.
In addition, voice changing technology can prevent online discrimination and harassment. In a study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction in 2019, female gamers often avoid verbal communication with others. Conversations may be played without gender, so they are more comfortable if fully pseudonymous. Voice transforms the online gaming experience, making virtual spaces more intensely social.
What is missing in this realm is a completely immersive experience that requires visuals and real-time audio to express themselves. A sonic representation of themselves is just as original and unique as their visual avatar. They want the tools to customize their voice as well. The player must have a harmonious marriage to keep the player immersed and engaged.
Providing real-time audio provides individuals with ultimate individuality in bringing individuality to their content. Audio provides the great equalizer in the Metaverse.
Unfortunately, the type of immersive qualities that will live up to the promise of an all-encompassing metaverse is challenged by the current voice experience. Some real-time audio personas are restrictive despite experimentation by dogged early adopters. To determine if a person’s voice is consistent with their digital self is a challenge, and sound quality does not yet match visual quality. A unique sonic identity can now be achieved because of recent advancements in the available audio technology.
Companies are investing in powerful tools that enable people to shape the visual representation in a digital space. The social audio experience should be respected to enable a seamless digital representation. The Metaverse wouldn’t be complete without it.