Metaverse has set off no alarms or need for controls yet – EU’s Vestager
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The metaverse, shared virtual worlds accessible through the internet, has not triggered any concerns so far or the need for legislation to rein it in, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday.
An initiative that she will present on the metaverse next week aims to help competition regulators understand the industry’s dynamics, Vestager said.
Facebook owner Meta Platforms, Microsoft and Apple are working on metaverse products or services, prompting fears that the companies may get an unfair advantage over smaller competitors such as Roblox .
Vestager said she does not have any competition concerns.
“Actually we see that there is a lot of innovation when it comes to virtual worlds. I don’t think that any company can claim that they will own it, so to speak, but that is what we hope to find out,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.
The initiative to be announced next week proposes a toolbox with guidelines on taking part in virtual worlds and one to fight counterfeiting, according to a document seen by Reuters.
It also proposes standards for open and interoperable virtual worlds to avoid the dominance of a few and the introduction of regulatory sandboxes.
“The (European) Commission aims for a Web 4.0 that is powered by open and highly distributed technologies and standards that enable interoperability between platforms and networks and freedom of choice for users,” the document said.
Vestager said a raft of legislation adopted in the last five years to regulate Big Tech, ranging from privacy to market power and upcoming artificial intelligence rules, can also apply to the metaverse.
“In Europe, now we have a body of digital legislation, I think we do have time to explore, to know that we should not jump to regulation as the first sort of safety pad,” Vestager said.
“We should really be careful because now there will be a lot of work to be done to implement, both for the Commission but also for member states.”
(Reporting by Foo Yun CheeEditing by Ros Russell and Devika Syamnath)