The world is full of big plans for the metaverse, but not all countries are on board. In this article, we'll show you which ones want to make a mark in the space and how they plan to do it.
Welcome, Sliicers. bet you won’t guess the first county on our list with big metaverse dreams.
In June 2022, Barbados announced a plan to establish itself as a digital sovereign in the metaverse. This means that individuals worldwide can purchase virtual land with real land benefits on the island country, with full government support. Although we've seen some similar projects before, this might be the first time a nation has actually gone through with such an ambitious plan. The virtual embassy is scheduled to open in January 2023 and will include "a new type of visa" for people who want to live there permanently. The move demonstrates how governments worldwide are still trying to figure out how they will fit into this new technological landscape. Bravo to Barbados for such bold vision!
The virtual reality industry is hot in Korea. The country has been an early adopter of the technology and has become one of the top countries in terms of investment, with a network of labs working on VR innovations. The “Digital New Deal,” an ambitious $44.6 billion dollar plan by the South Korean government, includes $171.6 million earmarked for metaverse development. The Korean domestic metaverse will be worth $306.5 billion by then, the Korea Herald reports. The funds are being distributed as grants to academic institutions and businesses working on metaverse platforms and technology, but they hardly need any motivation since the nation already accounts for nearly one in five metaverse patent applications filed globally.
Canada is home to thousands of companies working in the XR field, including industry giants like Ubisoft and Electronic Arts. As if that weren't enough, the country also has its own industry association (the Canadian Immersive Digital Media Association) and government initiatives like The Virtual and Augmented Reality Fund, which aims to support entrepreneurship in this emerging field. Canada was extremely early to the now ubiquitous conversation on how the metaverse will change the world. In 1997, Canada published a Virtual World Committee Report titled "The Future of Virtual Reality: An Internet of Intellect," which set out specific recommendations for how governments could implement extended reality. While these recommendations are decades old, they reveal how much attention Canadians have paid to this important topic.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to increase investments in the metaverse and NFTs during a speech on public policy. Kishida made metaverse development one of the pillars of economic revival when he took office in 2021. The country advanced its embrace of a digital future by encouraging investment in games and animation, which is also leading the global Web3 initiative. The Kishida administration established a Web3 Policy Promotion Office in July 2022 to bring together Web3-related ministry departments. The policy makes recommendations for user protection, advances in security and implements regulations requiring crypto exchanges to provide user data.
5. United States
There are thousands of established VR companies in the US, including Meta and Unity Technologies. There are also thousands of new VR startups focused on leveraging XR technology. The Department of Homeland Security uses virtual reality technology to train law enforcement officials, first responders, and emergency personnel. Virtual Reality has been used by The Smithsonian Institute and other museums to immerse visitors into historical events like space exploration or World War II battleships being bombed at Pearl Harbor.
The Chinese government is investing huge sums in the metaverse. It has been made clear that this technology will be a key part of China's industries, including healthcare, education, entertainment, and retail. In February 2022, the China National Tourism Administration declared it will build its own metaverse theme park based on Beijing’s Temple of Heaven complex. This will give visitors an immersive experience of one of China’s most famous landmarks while also providing them with educational material about ancient architectural styles from around Asia. The Chinese company Alibaba has announced plans to launch a $5 billion fund dedicated to investing in XR technologies.
Brazil is home to a large population that is enthusiastic about technology and has a strong cultural interest in immersive experiences. The country is developing quickly, with many resources at its disposal for building out the metaverse infrastructure. Brazil’s economy is strong, meaning plenty of investors are willing to invest in technology.
8. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is the largest market in the Middle East for the metaverse. In fact, this country plans to build the first city that will be fully powered by AR/VR technology by 2030. The project will be built on 1,500 acres of land outside of Riyadh, with an expected cost of $500 billion dollars.
The Spanish government will provide 3.8 million euros to small and medium-sized businesses and independent contractors with residence in Spain or the European Union who are engaged in research, development, and innovation initiatives involving Web3 and metaverse technologies. This program supports Spain: The Audiovisual Hub of Europe initiative, which is a part of the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan. The awards are open to both EU and Spanish nationals.
To combat the existential threat posed by rising sea levels, the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu intends to construct a metaverse replica of itself. The "worst case scenario" involves creating a digital twin of Tuvalu in the metaverse to preserve the island nation's rich culture, according to Tuvalu's minister for justice. Tuvalu's people may be compelled to relocate, but the metaverse might still permit Tuvalu to operate fully as a sovereign nation.
Sliicer Question of the Week: Would you live in a virtual country?
These are just ten of the countries that have announced national metaverse plans. Keep your eyes on these countries, these are the ones that will lead the world into an age of virtual reality!