European Metaverse Tips to Impress Your Neighbors
Creative duo build adland offices in the European Metaverse – you can have one … looking to impress your clients with how future-thinking you are?
Across European Metaverse, corporations, investors, and upper-edge individuals are racing for positions in the emerging metaverse industry. Even major political players are taking action or at least making statements. To compete with the United States and China, French President Emmanuel Macron proposes creating “a European metaverse.”
Meanwhile, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s digital director, is considering tougher economic regulations. However, they still have a long way to go until their goals come true. Entrepreneurial virtual reality platform VRdirect was founded in Munich by Rolf Illenberger, who laments the lack of a significant European tech player in the emerging metaverse. American and Asian participants are shaping it. Those are the two areas where this innovation will flourish.
In the United States, digital giants like Meta, Microsoft, and Apple are poised to take the reins, while proto-metaverse platforms like Roblox and Decentraland have already found widespread success. The majority of their worldwide competitors are located in Asia. The greatest competitor is Bytedance, the owner of TikTok and VR hardware manufacturer Pico, but new entrants like Huawei, Tencent, and the Sandbox virtual world are quickly gaining ground.
In contrast, small businesses and start-ups dominate Europe. Varjo, based in Finland, makes high-end headgear; Ready Player Me, based in Estonia, is an avatar platform that works across several games; and VC powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz led a $56 million fundraising round for Ready Player Me.
Web3 and metaverse ad agency Hype CEO Jake Stott is confident that Europe’s renowned finance sector will give rise to future payment providers in the field. He does, however, concede that they have serious obstacles to overcome. “When compared to their US and Asian peers, European start-ups have historically lagged” in creating “unicorns,” he argues.
Compared to the United States, Europe lags in venture capital raised. The continent’s emerging metaverse ecosystem may benefit from government backing in this sector, as doing so would remove obstacles to expansion and provide incentives for venture capitalists.
The financial crisis in Europe’s metaverse
Petri Rajahalme is coming up with ways to fill the budget hole. Just recently, the Finnish businessman and his partner, Dave Hayes, established FOV Ventures as the first European VC firm dedicated to funding start-ups in the metaverse industry. They unveiled the $25 million fund in March, targeting early-stage companies.
That we have enough talent is not in question, as Rajalhlme puts it. As one expert put it, “If you look at history M&A, many of the companies that US [businesses] have snatched up have talent coming from Europe.
How can we ensure that this talent stays in Europe?
The best financial incentives attract the most qualified applicants. For instance, Finland has a free and excellent education system, yet its graduate incomes are significantly lower than in Silicon Valley. Some help with scaling may be available through EU subsidies; however, the application process is tedious, and the funding is minimal. To that end, FOV Ventures offers seed money and advice on how to break into the European market to companies that would otherwise have to send their best minds elsewhere. The plan relies heavily on an “edge network” of specialists working in the metaverse from major entities like Meta and Decentraland. These professionals can help your secure finance and offer guidance on partnering with major platforms.
Rajahalme also advocates for European investors to pool their resources to compete with the United States. He recommends that European venture capitalists work together to “exchange expertise, transaction flows, and ideas” and “assist at the grassroots level.” This is a huge wave, but it’s just beginning, so we need as many people as possible to ride it.
Because 2016, Rajahalme has been riding this wave, although he freely admits that the metaverse has only become widely known since Facebook rebranded as Meta. That is not to say that everyone now has a firm grasp on the metaverse, though. Indeed, the concept’s fuzziness creates challenges as well as opportunities.
Structures of the Unknown
There has been a push for metaverse legislation from the European Commission and Parliament. But there’s a catch: they don’t know what they’re regulating just yet. At a recent roundtable, MEP Axel Voss remarked, “As a lawmaker, we now have to think about how we can govern something [that is not there] or [that is] currently present but in a lesser dimension.”
There is a plethora of different ways in which the metaverse might be defined. The word was first used by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash; he calls the actual implementation a “3D internet.” But Mark Zuckerberg wants “an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at” and “a virtual environment where you can be present with others in digital locations.”
There is a wiggle area in these criteria for various applications—and con artists.
Virtual or buzzwords?
Assuming you have faith in Meta (and who wouldn’t?), the metaverse will make it possible for us to effortlessly switch between different kinds of virtual environments, whether they’re related to work, school, or play. A portion of this extensive plan is already in place. Virtual reality (VR) vacations, immersive workspaces, augmented reality (AR) training simulations, and “industrial metaverses” are just some of the other options available to customers today.
This wide range of uses can benefit many ecological systems across Europe. The Nordics, for example, can capitalize on the gaming industry’s success there. At the same time, Germany’s established industrial economy offers a solid basis for developing business-to-business services in the metaverse.
However, many “metaverse” suppliers have been accused of rebranding older technology with a new marketing phrase. Likewise, there is a significant lack of integration across their many uses. There will be a lot of design problems with trying to force interoperability between systems. The founder of VRdirect, Illenberger, is more skeptical of decentralization in the metaverse. He foresees that large tech companies in China and the United States will continue to play the role of gatekeepers for the industry’s most important platforms.
He predicts that the ecosystem will be dominated by companies like Meta, Apple, and Bytedance. “If you’re a programmer, you could create an app for a Varjo, but your potential user base is small. You’re planning to make apps for both Meta and Apple. European Union politicians have set their sights on the future monarchs of the metaverse, arguing that strict privacy and antitrust laws give them an edge in the marketplace.
The majority do not think so.
There is apprehension among some metaverse companies, developers, and investors that European Union regulation may stifle creativity. Rajahalme, the founder of FOV Ventures, tells a story about a panel debate about advances in AI in the United States and China. The EU attendees claimed that becoming the greatest AI regulators was a top priority. He laughs, “That’s like if the Europeans said we want to be the best at making stop signs when you started manufacturing vehicles.”
Illenberger has seen firsthand the negative effects of overbearing regulation at his company, which creates unique virtual reality experiences for businesses. Using external cameras in VR headsets to detect their environments has led to some issues.
As a result, they can easily go against European Union regulations that necessitate getting permission from anyone whose employment could be the subject of unintentional filming. Because of these dangers, major companies like Siemens have introduced virtual reality (VR) rooms designed to lessen the likelihood of security breaches. However, these locations are inconvenient for some enterprises and out of reach for others.
Using metaverse technologies while abiding by European data privacy rules is “a nightmare,” he argues. For the gadget to function, “you must film your surroundings.” This kind of rapid regulation can stifle innovation and drive pioneers to other regions, like Asia or the United States.
Existence of a European metaverse
Macron’s hope that European businesses can compete with American and Chinese tech giants in the metaverse is unrealistic.
European businesses might do better if they collaborated with the established players rather than trying to displace them. For instance, VRdirect has become successful by catering to users of Meta, Pico, and HTC headsets. Illenberger claims that such compatibility opens up possibilities in a competitive and disjointed market. He is also certain that his business will profit from the EU’s strict restrictions since clients will choose him and his company over Silicon Valley giants that care little about the rules. But Europe is a significant barrier compared to the United States and Asia. To what extent can Macron’s proposed European metaverse successfully compete with the internet giants while safeguarding European values and norms? What we’re saying is, “We hope so.”