The European Union (EU) has set its sights on taking an active role in the creation of virtual worlds as part of its strategic plan to shape Europe’s digital future. The objective is to support EU businesses and reduce reliance on tech resources outside the EU, with a specific focus on bringing the concept of a ‘Metaverse’ into Europe’s digital landscape.
The EU’s approach to virtual worlds involves emphasizing the development of “Web 4.0” and leveraging 3D and extended reality (XR) technologies to create immersive environments. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for regular reviews of existing digital regulations and the creation of new ones as necessary. They believe that the EU should take charge of virtual world creation to ensure that these digital spaces reflect EU values and standards, as well as make it easier for European businesses to enter this field.
Pablo Arias Echeverría, an important EU figure, emphasized the importance of positioning Europe at the forefront of the next digital revolution. He stressed the need to lay a foundation rooted in strong EU digital rules, guiding principles, and values, while placing citizens at the heart of the digital future.
While the EU sees significant potential for the economy, employment, and education in virtual worlds, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have also expressed concerns about potential risks. These include the health implications of using these technologies, such as addiction and adverse effects on children’s brain development, as well as data protection, cyber violence, and financial scams.
In response, the EU has proposed measures to address these concerns, including plans for information campaigns, promoting digital literacy, ensuring parental controls, and conducting further research into potential risks. This approach is in line with the European Commission’s plans for the future of the metaverse, which emphasizes the establishment of new standards and regulations in these digital spaces.
As the EU continues to prepare for the integration of the metaverse into daily life, the focus on safety and EU standards is paramount. This approach aims to safeguard users while recognizing the metaverse’s potential, ensuring its development aligns with the EU’s vision of a secure and inclusive digital future.