The ‘metaverse’ term was coined thirty years ago, and until recently was part science fiction, part speculation. But with Facebook’s rebranding as Meta last year, an increasing consumer acceptance of virtual interactions post-Covid, and a steady uptick of interest from new sectors (ranging from retail to public services), the metaverse suddenly seems very real. Against this backdrop, questions inevitably arise about its benefits versus causes for concern, and how these ought to be managed.
Global Counsel, led by Senior Practice Director Conan D'Arcy and Head of Research and Insight Raph Malek, has produced an original report on public attitudes to the metaverse, including representative polling, as well as interviews with thought leaders, across the US, UK and France.
The report reveals malleable attitudes to the metaverse and its regulation from both the public and regulators, but with key reservations around interoperability, online safety and data privacy. Businesses operating in the metaverse(s) will have to take into account the political brand issues associated with the ‘metaverse’ concept, diverging regulatory frameworks - with the EU and UK taking the lead on regulation versus a more market-driven US – and how policymakers will apply learnings from attempting to regulate the Internet 2.0.
About the methodology: the original, independent research was based on a three-pronged research methodology of representative public polling in the UK, US and France; anonymised thought-leader interviews in the UK, EU and US, including regulators, academics, journalists and analysts; and a citizens jury carried out in London with members of the public, aimed at measuring both base knowledge of the metaverse, and changes in attitude after discovering more about the technologies involved.
Download the report
The Global Counsel team have been analysing developments in metaverse regulation this past year, including:
- Conan D'Arcy's piece in January describing what the concept of the metaverse is, what technologies it includes, and how it has become a top priority for European regulators. You can read it here.
- The conversation with industry analyst Benedict Evans on the state of the industry, and how emerging technologies might be grappled with by national and international policymakers. It is part of GC' Top in Tech podcast, which you can listen to here.
- The in-conversation with former US FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the regulation of the metaverse in the US. You can watch the recording here.
- TMT Associate Josh Bates has written for TechUK about the implications of ownership, security and interoperability in the metaverse. you can read it here.