Online giants could dominate the metaverse, blocking out local companies, the European Commission warned Wednesday in a consultation on its new policy for virtual worlds.
The European Union’s executive arm is set to issue proposals in the coming months, but it likely won’t include a draft bill, said the call for evidence, which is open until May 3.
“There is a risk of having a small number of big players becoming future gatekeepers of virtual worlds, creating market entry barriers and shutting out EU startups and SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] from this emerging market,” said the draft, echoing earlier fears raised by antitrust officials about potential dominance from web giants like Meta Platforms.
The paper sets out a range of policy issues for what it calls Web 4.0, where physical and virtual worlds interact immersively, using connected smart devices. It cites issues including equality, data privacy, cybersecurity and openness, as well as finance for local businesses.
The EU recently passed a Digital Markets Act to rein in supposed anticompetitive behavior by internet giants such as Meta, Google and Amazon, but the bloc is worried similar trends could occur in later iterations of the internet economy.
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