Metaverse: a first major exploratory report

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10 propositions about the Metaverse. This is the result of the exploratory report that was submitted today to Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture and Jean-Noël Barrot, Delegate Minister responsible for Digital Transition and Telecommunications.

The goals? Give the keys to understanding to clarify the debate, seize opportunities appearing, better understand the risks presented by metaverses and gathers the French actors around a common horizon.

View the full report [PDF – 2,9 Mo]

Metaverse, an abstract notion

The Metaverse is first and foremost a concept. She to achieve ” a virtual space, continuous, with three-dimensional synthetic data, which would be interoperable “.

However, the authors of the report insist on this fact that there are several metaverses. In effect, Metaverse is a bunch of services and spaces, more or less open.

Thus, many other companies take advantage of the ambiguity surrounding this concept to emerge as actors of the Metaverse, proposing their own definition of the concept, serving their own interests. Thus, various projects such as virtual reality platforms, multiplayer video games, platforms for broadcasting concerts in augmented reality or online sales sites (markets) based on blockchainsall use the term “metaverse” to define themselves.

To see more clearly, more than 80 personalities were consulted : virtual reality and blockchain entrepreneurs, cultural actors, artists, video game professionals, researchers in social sciences, artificial intelligence and computer science. The authors of the report propose a definitionbased on some constituent elements of a metaverse in general.

A metaverse is an online service that provides access to real-time, shared, and continuous 3D space simulations in which immersive experiences can be enjoyed together.

10 propositions about the Metaverse

Through this first report on this topic, the co-missioned parties formulate a series of proposals and calls to bring together experts, private and public actors, researchers and citizens to discuss them.

The report calls for the definition of a true French and European metaverse policy. He proposes ten levers of action that aim to develop technological infrastructure, support innovation, focus on uses, orchestrate regulation and take into account social and environmental issues :

  • take the opportunity of the Olympic Games to unite French players in the metaverse around concrete projects, within a public/private consortium placed under the management ofEnvy. Objective, to provide high-visibility action around immersive experiences that can be shared before, during and after the Olympic and Paralympic Games (training/competition, transport/tourism, behind-the-scenes/athlete discussion),
  • reinvest in the bodies for the negotiation of technical standards, to ensure that France and the main French players (in the digital immersion sector, but also in research on these topics) take an active part in discussions on the interoperability of communication technologies.
  • bring public authorities to highlight common and essential services that allow the arrival of a multitude of interoperable metaverses,
  • to develop a rigorous analysis of the different value chains of the metaverse, in order to better guide the areas of strategic investments on the one hand, and the risks of loss of sovereignty or value leakage on the other,
  • to create public orders that fulfill the objectives of cultural sovereignty and technological sovereignty to support the hybrid connections between French technological structures and cultural institutions,
  • start the adaptation work now, especially the general data protection regulation (GDPR), the digital services legislation (DSA) and digital market legislation (DMA), with metaverse issues,
  • invest in tools and techniques for analyzing the metaverse, and the transactions that occur there, in order to allow the discovery of works to be returned to the authors and the collection of taxes,
  • make investments in large-scale and long-term interdisciplinary research initiatives (computing, neuroscience and social science), using existing systems (France 2030, PIA 4, PEPR, ANR). The objective, the simultaneous development of experimental metaverses guided by social needs (culture, health, education) and the means to assess their socio-technical risks through empirical studies,
  • to create a research and coordination institute, according to the model ofI’m going. This would be both a computer research laboratory dedicated to immersive arts, a place of coordination between researchers and artists for the creation of innovative immersive works in the metaverses, and an expertise desk for all cultural institutions concerned.
  • explore eco-responsible solutions and develop a system for measuring the environmental impact of Metaverse infrastructure.

Great opportunities in various sectors

The authors of the report are officials. Metaverses are heralded as bearers of great opportunity, from industry to health, through training and economics. Because they will be able to contribute to the democratization of new forms of cultural expression and means of creation on the Internet, they represent an undeniable opportunity.

For France and for Europe, the development of the metaverse should enable the emergence of new world leaders in digital uses and strengthen the French cultural influence. According to the report, encouraging this innovation in the territory would thus promote the export of Francophone culture, in Francophone and beyond.

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