Depending on your perspective, it is either the next revolution in human interaction, or a Mark Zuckerberg fever dream likely to amount to nothing more than a fistful of Shiba Inu Coin. Nevertheless, serious corporations, with serious money, are getting on the bandwagon. Facebook and Microsoft are early leaders, but the metaverse has piqued the interest of retail brands, gaming businesses, and now academic institutions are starting to take notice. (https://theconversation.com/facebook-the-metaverse-and-the-monetisation-of-higher-education-171036)
If you’re a voice actor who works in E-Learning, you’ll already have noticed the trend towards gamified, interactive, and personality-driven content. While there is still quite a lot of old-school formal E-Learning narration out there, the shift towards more creative content is impossible to ignore.
The advent of the metaverse will only accelerate this trend. Imagine an academic E-Learning program in which students come to a virtual classroom or auditorium, and you’re the professor. Except you’ve pre-recorded the core material, and hundreds of possible responses to student questions and interactions which will be delivered responsively in real time by AI. Or training narration for surgeons where you walk them through a fully-immersed simulation of an operation, with your character wearing the skin of a senior colleague. Even something as boring as corporate onboarding may take pace in the metaverse in the future, with a smart-alec trainer voiced by an actor trying to keep it real with the new hires.
If you’re worried that AI will take some of these jobs, well, it will. But probably fewer than you think. Why? Character-driven content requires acting, and at its best AI can only hope to be as good as we are, never better. Low budget projects will migrate towards AI, but major brands and institutions that are less cost-sensitive will want the quality that only a real VO can provide.
What does this all mean for voice actors who play or want to play in E-Learning? Like so much else in VO, it’s time to sharpen your acting skills. If the metaverse truly takes off, E-Learning will start to resemble commercial, animation, video game, and other genres that have gone considerably more conversational. The days of “click next to move to the next slide,” might finally be numbered.
Are you ready?