Metavers: a first major exploratory report

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10 proposals around the Metaverse. This is the result of the exploratory report submitted today to Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, and Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate in charge of the Digital Transition and Telecommunications.

Goals ? Give keys to understanding to clarify the debate, seize opportunities emerging, better understand the risks posed by metaverses and bring together French actors around a common horizon.

View the full report [PDF – 2,9 Mo]

The Metaverse, an abstract notion

The Metaverse is first and foremost a concept. That of achieving ” a virtual, persistent space, with three-dimensional synthetic data, which would be interoperable “.

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

Many other companies thus take advantage of the vagueness surrounding this concept to appear as actors of the Metavers, proposing their own definition of the concept, serving their interests. Thus, projects as different as virtual reality platforms, multiplayer video games, platforms for broadcasting concerts in augmented reality or online sales sites (marketplaces) 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 providing access to real-time, shared and persistent 3D space simulations, in which immersive experiences can be enjoyed together.

10 proposals around the Metaverse

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

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

  • seize the opportunity of the Olympic Games to bring together French players in the metaverse around concrete projects, within a public/private consortium placed under the management of theInria. Objective, to offer high visibility actions around immersive experiences that can be shared before, during and after the Olympic and Paralympic Games (training/competitions, transport/tourism, backstage/discussions with athletes),
  • reinvest in the bodies for negotiating technical standards, to ensure that France and the main French players (in the digital immersion sector, but also in research on these subjects) actively participate in discussions on the interoperability of communication technologies. the immersion,
  • bring the public authorities to bring out common and essential services allowing the advent of a plurality of interoperable metaverses,
  • develop a rigorous analysis of the different value chains of metaverses in order to best guide strategic investment areas on the one hand, and the risks of loss of sovereignty or value leakage on the other,
  • set up public orders that meet the objectives of cultural sovereignty and technological sovereignty in order to support hybrid couplings between French technological structures and cultural institutions,
  • start now the work of adaptation, in particular of the general regulation on the protection of data (GDPR), the legislation on digital services (DSA) and digital market legislation (DMA), with metaversic issues,
  • invest in tools and techniques for analyzing metaverses, and the transactions that take place there in order to allow both the detection of offenses to go back to the perpetrators and to collect taxes,
  • make investments in large-scale and long-term interdisciplinary research initiatives (computing, neurosciences and social sciences), using existing systems (France 2030, PIA 4, PEPR, ANR). Objective, to simultaneously develop experimental metaverses guided by societal needs (culture, health, education) and the means to assess their socio-technical risks through empirical studies,
  • create a research and coordination institute, on the model of theIrcam. 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 metaverses and an expertise counter for all the cultural institutions concerned,
  • explore eco-responsible solutions and develop a system for measuring the environmental impact of Metaverse infrastructures.

Major opportunities in various sectors

The authors of the report are formal. The metaverses announce themselves as bearers of major opportunities, from industry to health, through training and the economy. Because they will be able to contribute to the democratization of new forms of cultural expression and online creation tools, they represent an undeniable opportunity.

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

Metavers: a first major exploratory report