According to a leaked European Commission paper, the metaverse requires new global governance to ensure openness and legality. The document, revealed in July, proposes relaxed regulations to facilitate innovation and remove barriers to new digital cooperation models, like decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
The paper highlights the need for international cooperation to shape the metaverse as an open, secure space that respects E.U. values and regulations. It calls for a new multi-stakeholder governance process for virtual worlds and Web4 on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) model that establishes rules and processes for today’s Internet.
According to the report, the Commission’s work for the rest of this year will focus on digital cooperation models, like DAOs, and barriers preventing their adoption. Next year, “regulatory sandboxes” will be set up to test short-term projects in a less regulated system.¹
Meanwhile, Bank of America is already leveraging AI, virtual reality, and the metaverse to provide immersive training to 2,000 new hires, signalling a broader trend of VR in the banking sector.
The new employees use VR headsets to experience a 360-degree view of a bank branch, enabling them to learn by doing and receive virtual credit. The training also offers real-world scenarios, such as dealing with customer requests or complaints and engaging in AI-based conversations with client bots. Other modules cover the bank’s history, benefits packages, and even “wellness” experiences on virtual islands.
Bank of America has already implemented this technology for over 200,000 staff globally, with positive feedback and faster absorption of training material than traditional methods. 97% of participants who trained in VR reported feeling more comfortable performing the real-world version of tasks after the simulation.
The bank is also exploring use of the metaverse at career fairs to attract younger potential hires, providing a glimpse into the life of an associate through VR experiences.²
Company Specific Updates
Following the splashy debut of its new Vision Pro VR/AR headset in June, in July, Apple announced that the headset’s retail launch would begin in select U.S. markets early next year and be appointment-only, following the 2015 launch strategy of the Apple Watch.
The headset will be available for purchase in early 2024, both in-store and online, but only in the United States. Apple plans to create special areas in their U.S. stores featuring seating, headset demo units, and sizing tools. The initial rollout will target major centres like New York and Los Angeles before expanding across the U.S.
The company aims to launch Vision Pro internationally by the end of 2024, with the UK and Canada among the first markets, followed by Asia and Europe. Apple engineers are currently localizing the device for France, Germany, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.
The headset, priced at $3,500 US, is considered Apple’s most significant launch since the Apple Watch. Apple has already announced plans to introduce a cheaper model and a second-generation Pro version by 2026.³
Meta Platforms Inc
Meta is revamping its Horizon Worlds virtual reality app to attract a larger audience. The free social platform, where users can create avatars and interact with others, has struggled to gain popularity as the public waits for a compelling VR experience.
To make Horizon Worlds more compelling, Meta has established Ouro Interactive as an in-house studio developing first-party VR games. Their debut game, Super Rumble, offers better graphics and gameplay than previous VR games on the app. More games are expected to follow as Meta improves the platform to support more complex, higher-quality games, as well as roll out third-party developer tools.
Meta also plans to release a mobile version of Horizon Worlds as a bridge between smartphones and its Quest VR headsets. Despite significant investments, the Reality Labs unit, responsible for VR and augmented reality technologies, has incurred losses of over $21 billion since 2022, highlighting the massive investment required to develop a compelling metaverse experience.4
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Portfolio Strategy and Activity
For the month, Coinbase Global Inc made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by eXp World Holdings Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Snap Inc, followed by Roblox Corp and Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg Ltd.
- Schickler, J., “EU’s Leaked Metaverse Strategy Proposes Regulatory Sandbox, New Global Governance,” CoinDesk, July 6, 2023; https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2023/07/06/eus-leaked-metaverse-strategy-proposes-regulatory-sandbox-new-global-governance/
- Doherty, K., “Bank of America Is Using AI and Metaverse to Train New Hires,” Bloomberg, July 13, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-07-13/bank-of-america-is-using-the-metaverse-ai-to-train-its-hires
- Gurman, M., “Apple Plans a Slow, Appointment-Only Rollout of Its $3,500 Vision Pro,” Bloomberg, July 7, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-07-07/apple-vision-pro-headset-to-launch-in-us-stores-by-appointment
- Vanian, J., “Meta is rebooting Horizon Worlds as the VR platform struggles to grow,” CNBC, July 28, 2023; https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/28/meta-horizon-worlds-metaverse-is-getting-an-update-with-more-games.html