UK has the highest metaverse curiosity in Europe

23 March 2022 3 min. read
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As the hype machine continues to laud the metaverse as a ‘revolutionary technology’, internet users across Europe are becoming increasingly curious about the concept. According to new research, individuals in the UK are the most curious about the metaverse in the entire continent.

A concept historically more linked with science-fiction, the ‘metaverse’ has become the latest technological trend to excite investors around the world. Metaverse technology seeks to build a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection, and is forecast by some as the next iteration of the internet – with the global network finally manifesting a single, universal virtual world.

The idea has taken on particular prominence in the last year, thanks to Facebook’s rebranding as Meta – a Metaverse company. This has coincided with many more large companies throwing even larger amounts of money at their own metaverse preparations – and as such, the metaverse is increasingly becoming viewed as a watershed opportunity in the privatisation of social interaction.

France and UK lead average online ‘metaverse’ searches per million internet users

With the deployment of mechanisms such as blockchain and NFTs, users are compelled to spend money to buy into interactive spaces such as the Sandbox metaverse, where their interactions are recorded as ‘transactions’ in a permanent, and publicly available ledger. Whatever the security and privacy concerns this has stoked up, many businesses view this as a major opportunity to open up new revenue streams.

With all this gathering momentum, it is only natural that metaverse concepts seem to have caught the interest of internet users across Europe. In particular, individuals in France and the UK are the most curious about what it is, and what it means for their futures.

France tops the continental table for average online searches per million internet users, according to research by The company utilised the latest data from online analytics tool SEMrush to establish which countries in Europe are most curious about the metaverse – and found that an average 1,020 in every million French internet users had searched for the metaverse. This is just ahead of UK users – at an average of 942.

Brave new world

However, those looking for the metaverse in the UK were more likely to repeatedly search for information on the subject. The average number of monthly online searches for the topic in France was lower, at 60,640, compared to the UK’s 61,220. This suggests that those looking into the matter in the UK might be marginally more committed to exploring the concept – be that because they are excited, or worried about metaverse technology’s impact on society. The research does not distinguish between positive and negative searches.

UK hosts heighest average monthly online searches for ‘metaverse’

Indeed, not everyone is so optimistic about the outlook. Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen recently told The Associated Press that she fears the ‘metaverse’, the all-encompassing virtual reality world at the heart of the social media giant’s growth strategy, will be addictive and rob people of yet more personal information.

Speaking on the metaverse prospects of her former employer specifically, she noted immersive environments metaverse environments could become addictive while encouraging people to “put many, many more sensors in our homes and our workplaces,” relinquishing control of more of their data and their privacy. Meanwhile, employees of companies that use the metaverse would have little option but to participate in the system or leave their jobs.

Haugen argued, “If your employer decides they’re now a metaverse company, you have to give out way more personal data to a company that’s demonstrated that it lies whenever it is in its best interests,” she said.