The Metaverse and its opportunities

Executive summary

The concept of the metaverse, a virtual world accessible to all, has recently gained popularity and investment. However, despite its potential for various fields such as advertising and data acquisition, the reality of the metaverse’s benefits remains uncertain. While numerous metaverse projects have emerged, their economic and reputational returns have not matched their efforts, leading to skepticism from users who see them as a means for digital companies to capture user data and push spending through microtransactions. Nevertheless, the idea of the metaverse continues to fascinate and attract investment, and the base from which it derives, virtual worlds, remains a legitimate opportunity for profit and innovation.


The concept of “metaverse” has gained widespread attention and become somewhat a buzzword in recent times. It is indeed difficult to define the term, although its origins can be traced back to the virtual world that computer and video game enthusiasts have been familiar with since the 1990s.
The metaverse appears to offer numerous opportunities in a wide range of areas, including advertising, commerce, data acquisition, and information. It is a digital space where anyone can express their identity and interact with others in a virtual world accessible to everyone. However, the reality is that there is not just one metaverse, but rather multiple versions of glorified commercial virtual worlds.
The most well-known example of a metaverse is Facebook-Meta, but many others have emerged, such as Decentraland, Sandbox, Galaverse, and Ubisoft’s attempt to introduce metaverse-like features in its video games. While these projects have generated some economic and social interest, their effectiveness is questionable, and their return on investment has not been adequate.
Despite this, the concept of metaverse still fascinates and attracts investments. While the modern features of metaverse that are mainly profit-driven may be questionable and ineffective, the underlying concept of virtual worlds is not likely to disappear anytime soon. It is still relevant and offers potential opportunities for innovation and gain. However, users are now usually cautious of these projects, which they perceive as another way for big digital companies to gather user data and promote microtransactions.


The objective of this project is to provide advice on the concept of “metaverse”: what it is and what are its fundamental characteristics, and to trace back its historic origins to determine whether it can be successful in the current market, and if so, how.


One deliverable has been prepared, in which the “metaverse” is first and foremost defined using precise criteria extrapolated from the history of virtual worlds, videogames and the internet in general. Then, the documents offers other definitions and explanations of the most common technologies usually associated with the metaverse, such as virtual reality or augmented reality.
It then traces the historic origin of the metaverse back to the 1980s, with the birth of the genre of the role-playing game, first as tabletop, then as videogame, and later as MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game).
The documents analyses the most recent publications of the European Union regarding the metaverse, and explains what the future could hold, especially in economic terms.