Talks about the metaverse were on every lip in the weeks following Facebook rebranding into Meta. Since then, though, this revolutionary technology has been somewhat stagnant. But the reality of the metaverse is more complex than meets its eyes. And the levels of acceptance toward this nascent technology wildly differ from one country to one another. The concept of an all-virtual world has been making headway, as a 2022 survey by market research firm Ipsos showed over half of all adults surveyed across 29 countries were familiar with the metaverse. But it turns out first-world nations show little interest in the metaverse, as opposed to developing countries across the globe. So, which countries are leading the way in the metaverse? Let’s find out.
Metaverse has become a buzzword of sorts in China. Despite cracking down on cryptocurrency trading, China has shown no such prevention with the metaverse. According to the Ipsos survey conducted by the WEF, 78% of all Chinese respondents harboured positive feelings toward using the metaverse on a daily basis. And the excitement for the potential applications of the metaverse goes beyond mere netizens. Tech giants quickly invested in that burgeoning business, such as Baidu launching a metaverse app in late 2021. Early in November of 2022, the Chinese Ministry of Information and Technology (MIIT) disclosed a 4-year action plan alongside top regulators to support metaverse development within its industry. A first national-level policy, the decision was followed by plans to implement China’s first VR manufacturing centre in the city of Nanchang to boost the sector.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is now the world’s fastest-growing region in terms of crypto adoption. And Turkey has long paved the way. The Turkish lira sinking into record lows has proven a powerful driving force behind the soaring crypto market. Incidentally, enthusiasm toward the metaverse has followed a similar curb. 86% of all respondents surveyed by Ipsos were familiar with the metaverse, proving time and again that Turkey boasts a highly knowledgeable population in the crypto sphere. Some crypto innovators were quick to take notice. In 2021, leading gaming platform The Sandbox introduced a virtual world exclusive to its Turkish users in a bid to turn Turkey into one of three leading countries in metaverse adoption within two years. Local developers are also having their say in the metaverse ecosystem, with Solana-based MetaAge platform undergoing development in Turkey. Meanwhile, Istanbul Fair Centre will host the world’s first-ever blockchain tech expo in December 2022.
Saudi Arabia made the news worldwide with a $1 billion investment in AI projects. But the UAE is just as committed to moving into the metaverse. The Emirati Ministry of Economy recently opened a futuristic office in the metaverse. Similarly, the Emirate of Dubai devised a bold strategy to turn into one of the top 10 metaverse economies in the world. The metaverse is also a game changer for the entertainment industry. Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island theme park is launching its own metaverse. A Dubaiverse is coming to The Sandbox, while virtual reality gaming centres are popping up all over the UAE. The metaverse has not yet revolutionised the local iGaming industry, though, as gambling remains off-limits. Still, Arabic players may access online casino reviews to take a gamble. Expert reviewers have rated the most profitable gambling sites, accounting for everything from bonus offerings to reputation. Players can also find invaluable tips to approach online gambling safely. Therefore, MENA players can enjoy a range of classic card games and slots on top websites before the metaverse may impact the local gambling scene.
Latin America comes a close second to the Middle East for metaverse enthusiasm. Favourability toward this new technology is especially peaking in Peru, Colombia, and Mexico. But Brazil is far from lagging behind. A study commissioned by American telecommunications company Ciena found that a whopping 92% of all Brazilian business professionals were prone to using virtual reality to host formal meetings. The South-American nation is also embracing the metaverse gaming-wise. Closing a strategic partnership with gaming DAO BAYZ, The Sandbox will expand the metaverse in Brazil. And despite the crypto bear market, the NFT hype is still going strong as Brazil ranks third in the world for most NFT traffic. With countless blockchain conferences and crypto events to boot, Brazil is definitely a metaverse force to be reckoned with.