The Seoul Metropolitan Government launched the first phase of the Metaverse Seoul project, which allows the public to access the civil services in the metaverse: from tax returns to official documents.
Following the test of the beta version of the virtual environment, the mayor of Seoul, Oh Se-hoon, announced the opening of the first phase of Metaverse Seoul, which will be a “place of creativity, play, and communication for citizens.”
The beta version was only available to thousands of users in South Korea, and now the metaverse experience is open to everyone via Google and Apple app stores. In the first phase, Seoul citizens will be able to visit the city’s main landmarks, access official documents, pay taxes, and even file complaints:
In Metaverse Seoul, citizens who have become avatars can read e-books published by the city of Seoul at Seoul Plaza and submit various opinions to Mayor Oh by visiting the mayor’s office in the metaverse.
The government has spent about $1.6 million to launch the first phase of Metaverse Seoul. It’s not yet known when the second phase will start, but according to Oh Se-hoon, the next version will be more accessible to technically inexperienced older people:
It will take some time for older people to get used to it. KakaoTalk also started that way. If it’s easy and convenient to use, usage will increase.
Related: The Future of Metaverses: Can We Predict It and How Will It Impact Our Everyday Lives?
As for the younger generations, they may visit the main sights in Seoul and play a game in the virtual Seoul Plaza. Other places to visit include Lotte Tower, Seoul Forest Park, and Gyeongbokgung Palace.
South Korea is not the only country entering the metaverse. Tuvalu also announced the digitization of its land on Nov. 15, albeit for different reasons. With the metaverse, Tuvalu wants to protect the island from climate change and preserve people’s sovereignty and heritage.
Related: New life in the metaverse: how climate change affects the Tuvaluans
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