The bloc's Foreign Aid Department hosted a virtual-reality launch event in the metaverse for 18-to-35s who are "neutral" about the EU
An EU attempt to raise awareness of its digital presence among younger, politically disengaged audiences, has proven a disaster. A "24-hour beach party" in the metaverse has reportedly failed to connect, drawing just six attendees.
The European Commission's Foreign Aid Department reportedly spent a whopping 387,000 to develop its metaverse platform, which was intended to promote the EU's Global Gateway Initiative, aimed at bringing in 300 billion in investments.
A European Commission spokesperson told the media platform Devex that the party was supposed to "increase awareness of what the EU does on the world stage" among 18-to-35-year-olds who feel "neutral about the EU" and are "not typically exposed to such information," due to being found "primarily on TikTok and Instagram."
Devex journalist Vince Chadwick posted a clip of the festivities, which appeared to show a handful of floating screens flashing the same content while attendees questioned each other in chat about whether they had gotten the date wrong. Buzzwords such as 'Education' flashed across the screens momentarily.
Some avatars made a half-hearted show of dancing to the canned techno music, while others seemed to paw at the edges of the 'world' seeking escape. Chadwick declared himself "alone" after attempting conversation with a handful of similarly disappointed party-hoppers.
The EU has been pushing its metaverse platform since October as "the perfect place to get to know new people and reflect on global issues to make a difference for our shared future."
The platform is supposed to provide users with the ability to explore its Global Gateway Initiative "through a series of 'hero' stories in a virtual environment," according to the European Commission, but a Devex report citing anonymous interviews with employees claimed that even before the failed launch party, most found it to be little more than "digital garbage" that was "depressing and embarrassing."