Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, outlined a three-step plan around the continent’s metaverse ambitions, while announcing the launch of a VR and AR coalition to encourage investment in the sector.

In a blog, Breton explained the metaverse was one of the European Commission’s (EC) most pressing challenges and its plan to foster the virtual world will focus on people, technologies and infrastructure.

Breton said the new environment must “embed European values from the outset”, with private virtual worlds developed based on interoperable standards and “no private player” effectively holding all the power or setting terms and conditions.

“Innovators and technologies should be allowed to thrive unhindered,” he said, adding the EC would not tolerate new private monopolies.

Technologies and infrastructure
Breton believes shaping the metaverse depends on its ability to master and develop cutting-edge technologies in Europe, and build a sustainable ecosystem.

To help its drive, the EC officially launched the VR and AR Industrial Coalition, first touted in 2020, bringing together stakeholders “from key metaverse technologies”.

The coalition will focus on a specific roadmap, endorsed by more than 40 EU companies spanning large organisations, SMEs and universities.

Breton added Europe was investing in a number of metaverse-related technologies including photonics, semiconductors and new materials, arguing there is a need to pool EU, national and private funding to truly push its vision.

Lastly, the EC will focus on building resilient connectivity infrastructure. Breton said the amount of data being exchanged in virtual spaces will be greater than ever, putting “intense pressure” on connectivity infrastructure.

Pointing to the challenge, he said even today increasing volumes of data was being carried on infrastructure, but decreasing revenue had reduced the appetite to invest and strengthen them.

To that end, the EC will call on all market players benefitting from digital transformation to make a fair contribution to goods, services and infrastructures.