EU Consultation Warns on Risk of Big Players Becoming Metaverse Gatekeepers

Online giants could dominate the metaverse, blocking out local companies, the Euroepan Commission warned Wednesday in a consultation on its new policy for virtual worlds.

The European Union’s executive arm is set to issue proposals in the coming months, but they likely won’t include a draft bill, said the call for evidence, which is open until May 3.

“There is a risk of having a small number of big players becoming future gatekeepers of virtual worlds, creating market entry barriers and shutting out EU start-ups and SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] from this emerging market,” said the draft, echoing earlier fears raised by antitrust officials about potential dominance from web giants like Meta.

The paper sets out a range of policy issues for what it calls Web 4.0, where physical and virtual worlds interact immersively, using connected smart devices. It cites issues like equality, veri privacy, cybersecurity and openness, as well as finance for local businesses.

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The EU recently passed a Digital Markets Act to rein in supposed anticompetitive behavior by internet giants such as Meta, Google and Amazon, but is worried similar trends could occur in later iterations of the internet economy.

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Edited by Stephen Alpher.

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