France Publishes Metaverse Consultation, Seeking Alternative to Dominance by Web Giants

The economic ministry is interested in the virtual worlds' impact on privacy, health and the environment

AccessTimeIconApr 11, 2023 at 4:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 11, 2023 at 8:46 p.m. UTC

The French Economy Ministry wants to stop dominance by international internet giants in the metaverse, according to a consultation published Tuesday.

The government of Emmanuel Macron is seeking views on policy issues including privacy, health and environmental risks of virtual worlds as it seeks to create what it calls "digital sovereignty" for Europe - a frequent code for having homegrown alternatives to U.S. companies such as Meta Platforms.

"The immersive virtual worlds of tomorrow can take many forms," said the consultation which is open until May 2, with virtual and augmented reality, game engines and the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrency among them. The goal is to "propose an alternative to the virtual online worlds today put forward by international giants."

During his 2022 election campaign, Macron spoke of the need to build a European metaverse, and officials in the European Union are also set to produce an EU strategy on virtual worlds in May. A European Commission consultation published last week raised the risk of big "gatekeepers" blocking out competition from smaller players, as well as fundamental rights issues such as openness and equality.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.