The European Union (EU) has made a groundbreaking move by announcing its “Web4 and Virtual Worlds Strategy,” bypassing the web3 phase. The strategy, revealed by the European Commission (EC) on Tuesday, aims to establish web4 and virtual worlds that embody EU values and principles.
Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for the EU’s internal market, expressed the intention to invest in new technologies and provide individuals with the necessary tools and skills to safely navigate and engage with virtual worlds.
The European Commission (EC) has defined Web4 as the fusion of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, virtual worlds, and augmented reality. Positioned as the successor to web3, Web4 is envisioned by the EU to enable the seamless integration of digital and physical environments, fostering enhanced interactions between humans and machines.
The EU’s strategic plan focuses on nurturing local web4 businesses while also positioning itself as a global standard-setter for regulations in this domain. One of the initiatives supporting EU enterprises is the Partnership on Virtual Worlds under Horizon Europe, which aims to develop an industrial and technological roadmap for virtual worlds.
In addition, the EU is implementing web4 in public authorities through two major initiatives. The first is CitiVerse, an immersive urban environment for city planning and management. The second is the European Virtual Human Twin, designed to model clinical decisions and personalize treatments.
Recognizing the competition from the United States and China, the EU aims to prevent its domestic technology from falling behind. A related report highlighted leading U.S. companies such as Meta, Apple, Microsoft, and Nvidia, as well as notable developments by Chinese firms including Alibaba, Baidu, NetEase, and Bytedance in the metaverse technology space.
While the EU may lack tech giants to drive virtual world development, the region excels in research and innovation for middleware and software, according to the report.
The EU’s Web4 and Virtual Worlds Strategy intends to harness the benefits of these technologies, ranging from advancements in healthcare to contributing to the green transition and enhancing disaster preparedness. The EU’s emphasis on innovation and regulation in this field signifies its commitment to shaping the future of virtual worlds within its jurisdiction.