The Metaverse, a virtual universe where people can interact with each other in a 3D environment, is rapidly gaining traction as an emerging market, attracting businesses, investors, and talent from all over the world.
However, despite the hype surrounding the concept, Europe still faces significant challenges if it wants to establish a strong presence in the Metaverse. This article will explore the current state of the Metaverse in Europe and examine the obstacles it needs to overcome to achieve its potential.
Europe’s Metaverse Market: Niche Operators and Start-ups
While the US and Asia dominate the Metaverse market, Europe has yet to establish a major presence in the industry. According to Rolf Illenberger, co-founder of VRdirect, a virtual reality platform in Munich, none of the big European tech companies are currently relevant to the future of the Metaverse.
Instead, the technology has been limited to niche operators and start-ups, such as Finland’s Varjo, which makes high-end headphones, and Estonia’s Ready Player Me, a cross-game avatar platform.
Jake Stott, chief executive of Web3 and metaverse ad agency Hype, is optimistic that the European fintech industry may see payment providers in this space. However, he also admits that they face major challenges.
Historically, European startups have lagged behind the US and Asia regarding nurturing unicorns. Europe has also lagged behind the US in venture to finance. Governments may be able to provide support in these areas by removing barriers to growth and spurring venture capital to help Europe’s fledgling Metaverse ecosystem.
The Challenge of Talent and Funding
FOV Ventures, the first venture capital firm in Europe to invest exclusively in early-stage Metaverse companies, has announced €25 million in funding for early-stage or seed-stage startups.
Talent retention is one of the biggest challenges facing Europe’s Metaverse industry. Even though Finland offers free and high-quality education, it cannot compete with Silicon Valley regarding salaries.
FOV Ventures aims to provide early funding and go-to-market expertise to keep talent in Europe and has established an “edge network” of Metaverse professionals to provide funding and advice for partnering with large platforms. The goal is for European investors to join forces to challenge American resources and keep talent in Europe.
The Role of Regulation
Members of the European Commission and Parliament have called for the regulation of the Metaverse to address issues related to user privacy, data protection, and competition. Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice-president of the European Commission responsible for digital affairs in the EU, is considering new antitrust regulations.
However, the vague concept of the Metaverse has brought both problems and opportunities. Some critics argue that Metaverse suppliers are just “old wine in new bottles.”
The Metaverse is a collection of technologies that have been around for years, such as virtual worlds, online gaming, social media, and augmented reality.
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