While Meta and other companies are investing billions of dollars in the “Metaverse,” we’ve had a pretty clear sign this week that Mark Zuckerberg and other Metaverse enthusiasts probably need to go out of their tech bubble. As reported by Devex (via Politico), the European Commission’s foreign aid department just spent €387K on a “Global Gateway Gala” Metaverse experience that very, very few people attended.
The EU’s Global Gateway campaign aims to connect EU citizens interested in climate, connectivity, health, education, and other societal issues. On November 29, the EU’s Global Gateway Gala was supposed to be “the perfect place to get to know new people and reflect on global issues to make a difference for our shared future.”
Devex reporter Vince Chadwick attended the EU’s Metaverse party on Tuesday and shared his impressions on Twitter. “After initial bemused chats with the roughly five other humans who showed up, I am alone,” the reporter tweeted. Yeah, it was that bad, as you can see in the video footage of the event below.
I’m here at the “gala” concert in the EU foreign aid dept’s €387k metaverse (designed to attract non politically engaged 18-35 year olds — see story below). After initial bemused chats with the roughly five other humans who showed up, I am alone. https://t.co/ChIHeXasQP pic.twitter.com/kZWIVlKmhL
— Vince Chadwick (@vchadw) November 29, 2022
Ahead of the event, many people on Twitter had pointed out the EU’s questionable choice to spend so much money on a Metaverse event that clearly wasn’t going to attract the targeted millennial audience. “Massive waste of taxpayers money though. For something five people will enter and get bored of within 5 minutes,” a quick-witted Twitter user replied to the EU Twitter account which had started teasing the event last month.
Mark Zuckerberg and other tech execs may have been banging the Metaverse drum for quite some time, it will likely be years until their vision for virtual interactions starts to really materialize, if ever. Someone like Mark Zuckerberg has to be chasing the next big thing after leaving the mobile market to Apple and Android, but other organizations may really need to think twice about spending any money on Metaverse projects.