Foreword

Dear reader,

Welcome to our metaverse report in collaboration with Newzoo.

What is the metaverse? This is by no means a simple question. In sci-fi literature it is referred to as a convergence of physical, augmented and virtual reality in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. Although this would seem to be a simple definition, it is one that has complicated layers in practice. Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist who wrote an influential essay on the metaverse in 2020, set out several key characteristics of what a metaverse needs to include, namely:

  • Scaling (ability to increase the size of the metaverse).
  • Persistence (unlocking technical limitations to improve the immersiveness of the metaverse).
  • Interoperability (the merging of different virtual worlds and systems).
  • Economy (allowing for trading across the metaverse).
  • Identity (evolving current online identities for avatars for a stronger connection to the user).
  • Digital and physical (spanning across many aspects of life).
  • Multiple contributors (content from all sorts of stakeholders from individuals to commercial organisations).

As you can see from these characteristics, the concept of a metaverse is a complicated one.

Understanding the metaverse requires looking at the world differently. Like many modern-day technological advancements, the metaverse was conceived in science fiction, but the games industry has always been a driver of new technology. While the metaverse has yet to live up to its true potential - and will take some time to do so - there are already early signs of the metaverse all around us. These early-stage metaverses, or proto-metaverses, take many forms, including games embracing blockchain technology and online games hosting non-game social events, such as live musical performances. The early metaverse is already here, and the sector (and its underlying technology) is already attracting considerable investment. The development of the true metaverse is no longer an "if" but a "when."

We are excited to release this report in collaboration with our partners at Newzoo, which is proud to work with some of the world's most successful businesses in entertainment, technology, and media, helping them target their audiences, increase brand awareness, spot opportunities, and make data-backed strategic and financial decisions.

In this report, we examine how the video games industry has started to shape the metaverse. We analyse the legal issues connected with the metaverse from three separate viewpoints: the user, the make-up of the metaverse and regulation.

We hope you find our report interesting. If you would like to discuss any aspects of it, please get in touch with your usual Osborne Clarke contact, any of the authors, or Newzoo.

Peter Warman Co-Founder and CEO, Newzoo peter@newzoo.com +31 20 66 35 816

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