The metaverse has often been described as a digital world for people to get lost in, but what about actually living in there? In a startling new development, Beijing is planning to regulate “digital humans” for metaverse living, implying that people can live their whole lives in the metaverse.
We’ve already seen plenty of interesting metaverse developments, from dating to clubbing, but actually living there is surprising. Is metaverse living going to be a normal thing in the future? Or will this be another online fad that doesn’t catch on?
Metaverse living coming soon?
According to RestofWorld, Beijing is planning to invest in digital humans for metaverse living as part of the Five-Year Plan for Digital Economy Development. While the plan doesn’t outright state what counts as a “digital human,” this seems to be a focus on avatars from games like Roblox.
Since there is a trend of digital avatars becoming stars in the metaverse, this investment in digital humans makes some sense. But trying to make metaverse living a thing is still odd, as it implies that these avatars are living beings.
“Other countries like the U.S. might have overarching policies or agendas for the tech sector in general,” said Hanyu Liu, who analyzes China’s metaverse and gaming industries at Daxue Consulting in Shanghai. “But in China, [the government] has delved deep into the industry itself.”
Is metaverse living actually avatar investment?
Due to the popularity of VTubers and other online avatars, it makes sense that Beijing would want some of that success. Why they refer to these avatars as digital humans and make them a part of metaverse living is a bit odd but weirder things have happened.
“As we can see from the plan, [the government] has really concrete ideas on how to lead this industry to the point where they want it to be,” said Liu. “They’re trying to centralize as well as isolate the Chinese metaverse or digital ecosystem from that abroad.”
With other countries wanting to have the best metaverse for living, focusing on all of these digital celebrities makes some sense. It will be interesting to see if this leads to an actual online-only community.