Sonic Designers, Get Ready for the Metaverse


By Valentin Fleur

I owe you this honesty.

When the Metaverse came to my attention in the first place, I immediately thought about the way our species was represented in WALL-E. Remember those human blobs facing screens and sipping pop all day? Yes, them! Us! Tomorrow? 

I can’t deny that this pandemic, endlessly ending, has not quite changed my mind about the Metaverse, as most people around me are looking for more interactions, real ones, tangible ones with no rapid test involved. 

But “they” say that by 2025, nearly 75% of the global population and nearly all people who use social apps will be frequent augmented reality users (1). So, as most people around me fall in that category, yes, the social apps users, then the Metaverse is not the next “Videodisc,” it’s most likely to succeed, and as Sonic Branding experts, what are we going to do about it?

The Meta Quest 2 ad during the Super Bowl was eloquent, the Metaverse is open to everyone and pretty much anything. Sure, gaming comes first because VR and gaming already have an intimate relationship. But retailers are out there investigating, exploring, investing. 

Take Sephora for example, soon you’ll be able to shop, try the latest products and even star in your own make-up tutorial without setting foot inside the store. (2)

Nike, was one of the first to invest in the Metaverse, and chose to premier Nikeland on the gaming platform Roblox, reaching 47.3 million daily active users worldwide. (3)

71% of shoppers say that using AR would make them shop more often, and 40% would consider paying more for that feature (4). Given those numbers, the Metaverse will become part of a brand’s new reality and will need to be considered from multiple angles.

  • Identification: In the physical world, it’s easy to identify yourself, but what will the elements be that make up one’s identity in the Metaverse? Designing specific sonic cues would allow one person to be recognized, “approved” and welcomed to engage in a dedicated space. 
  • Payment: Paying in the Metaverse should/will be as easy as paying online (on-demand and instantaneously) (5). But having a “payment reassurance” sound could be crucial in a VR world in order to make the virtual feel tangible, secured and safe. Even now, brands with existing payment sounds in the physical world, are one step ahead of other brands because they would stand out in both Reality and VR.
  • Marketing: Grabbing attention has been a delicate task for marketers. We know that specific designed sonic elements can capture attention and also reconnect ones’ attention to a screen. But when your brand environment is a screen itself, what happens to your sonic cues? Our answer? Dull will die, if a brand wants to stand out for what it stands for as a brand, you should consider exploring multiple senses in your marketing mix (smell, sound, touch…)
  • Entertainment: This…I’m curious. What will happen in between my bank, my favorite jeans store and pop-up stores in general? Who owns that space? According to Forbes, a new digital commercial real estate industry is forming (6). Will advertisers pay for music to get people’s attention and prime them to spend as they stroll through a virtual mall? If that’s the case, you had better get your team to start composing on-brand music ASAP. 

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash