The Metaverse isn’t in one single defined space. As Neal Stephenson states in his novel Snow Crash, The Metaverse is a place parallel to the physical world where you spend your digital life. While some governments think of the Metaverse as just a passing fad, others are investing in the future. The latter is exactly what is happening in Seoul, South Korea. City officials believe that the city is set to become the first government with a virtual world that is full service. While uptake around the world for the Metaverse will likely be a gradual process, it may not be long until we are walking around a virtual version of Seoul.
Wen Municipal Metaverse?
The Seoul Metaverse is set to be released in phases with the first phase commencing in 2023. Make no mistake, Seoul is taking the Metaverse seriously, and their current strategy revolves around a 5-year plan with an investment of $200 million dollars. While other countries are experimenting with metaverse ambitions, Seoul is making an aggressive push to make a digital and interconnected ecosystem that may serve as the template for the rest of the country.
The first iteration of the Seoul Metaverse will likely appear on smartphones. This makes sense when you consider that South Korea has one of the highest penetration rates for smartphone usage with around 92% of the population using them. Later phases will see the integration of Augmented and Virtual Reality technology. The plan is not only to bring benefits to Seoul via the services a metaverse ecosystem can provide, but will also see the creation of new jobs.
Are There Any Benefits?
There’s no denying that the Seoul Metaverse will provide a lot of benefits for a city as immersed in technology as Seoul. For starters, it will help bring more opportunities for civic engagement between the officials and locals. It will also make it easy to access certain services and features. Citizens will be able to make reservations for different facilities around the city, file complaints, and even do virtual tours of commercial and residential real estate.
With more jobs moving towards remote work, Seoul officials also see the Metaverse as a great destination for co-working spaces. It definitely beats a rough morning commute in traffic if all you need to do is walk out of your bedroom every morning and strap on a VR headset.
What Does the Future Hold?
This Seoul Metaverse project is just the beginning. It wouldn’t be too hard to envision an ever-expanding metaverse in South Korea if the Seoul Metaverse becomes successful. Metaverse Seoul will likely serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country, and we can only assume that new revenue streams, streamlined approaches to bureaucracy, and the creation of new jobs would only help spur on this endeavor in other cities.
What’s even more promising is that it isn’t just Seoul that’s looking into a future in the Metaverse. Cities like New Rochelle are looking into a similar approach, and Wellington in New Zealand is exploring various options as well.
The Metaverse is bringing communities together while fostering a vision of creativity and collaboration. One thing is certain, the Metaverse isn’t well-defined yet, but different cities, organizations, and companies can already see its potential. It probably won’t be too long until we’re experiencing the Seoul Metaverse in style—maybe even—Gangnam Style!