Seoul Government Launches City’s first Metaverse
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has launched its own metaverse platform, called “Metaverse Seoul“, which is a virtual world where users can play games, chat, file official forms, receive help with taxes, and access other city services. This makes Seoul the first major city to establish a public metaverse platform, with plans to roll out a range of government, business, tourism, and culture offerings over the next five years.
The beta version of Metaverse Seoul was launched last year for a limited number of users, but it is now available through the Google Play and Apple app stores. According to the Mayor of Seoul, Oh Se-hoon, the platform will serve as an important communication tool for citizens in the new normal, as it is an inclusive administrative service that can be accessed by anyone, at any time and place.
Seoul Metaverse, Initial Phase
During the initial phase of the rollout, Seoul citizens will have access to official city paperwork, the ability to file complaints, and receive personalized information about local taxes through the Metaverse Seoul platform. Additionally, businesses will be able to utilize the platform’s business support center, which includes remote consulting sessions with experts through various methods such as chat, voice, video, and screen-sharing. Additionally, an avatar-based counselling service will be available for adolescents and teens, offering mentoring and educational assistance.
Users of the Metaverse Seoul platform can participate in virtual activities such as playing games in a replica of Seoul Plaza, and taking virtual tours of the mayor’s office. In addition, 10 popular tourist spots in Seoul have been recreated in the virtual world, including Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul Forest Park, Han River and Lotte Tower. South Korea is embracing the concept of the metaverse, an immersive, shared digital realm where users navigate as personalized avatars, as a key driver of future economic growth.
World’s First City to establish a Public Metaverse
In February, the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT announced a $183 million investment to create a “national metaverse ecosystem” by supporting local companies, nurturing expertise, and developing legal frameworks for this emerging technology. The term “metaverse” became a buzzword in 2021, with several companies announcing plans to pivot to this digital realm, which is still more vision than reality.
The city government of Seoul announced that it invested $1.6 million in the development of the first phase of Metaverse Seoul, and plans to spend an additional $2.2 million on the project’s second phase. An official stated that the city will strive to provide stable initial services and maintain its position as the world’s first city to establish a public metaverse platform.
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