Metaverse, an important digital opportunity according to EU officials

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has published her ‘2022 State of the Union Letter of Intent’, underpinning the Metaverse as an important digital opportunity and trend while also setting out plans for potential regulations of the Metaverse. The president acknowledges that Europe must adapt to the digital age and added that the EU ‘will continue looking at new digital opportunities and trends, such as the metaverse’. However, the letter provides little specifics on EU actions. Another EU official, Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for Internal Market, wrote about the Metaverse in a blog post. Breton explained the Metaverse was one of the European Commission’s (EC) most pressing challenges, and its plan to foster the virtual world will focus on people, technologies, and infrastructure. Breton said the new environment must ’embed European values from the outset’, with private virtual worlds developed based on interoperable standards and ‘no private player’ effectively holding all the power or setting terms and conditions. He underlined the EU will not tolerate private monopolies. In his opinion, the EU, with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA), Europe now has solid ‘regulatory tools for the digital space’ to address these challenges. Breton believes shaping the Metaverse depends on the EU’s capacity to master and develop cutting-edge technologies and build a sustainable ecosystem. To help its drive, the EC officially launched the VR and AR Industrial Coalition, first touted in 2020, bringing together the most critical metaverse stakeholders. Lastly, the EC will work on creating a resilient connectivity infrastructure. According to Breton, there would be an increase in the volume of data transferred in virtual environments, placing ‘severe pressure’ on the connectivity infrastructure. The commissioner continued by appealing for financial support from the businesses that benefit from digital transformation.