- Seoul is the first major city to launch a metaverse platform for public services.
- The city plans to fully roll out more government, business, tourism and culture offerings over the next five years.
- Users can take virtual tours of the 10 most popular attractions in Seoul.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government officially launched its public metaverse platform on Monday.
The platform, named Metaverse Seoul, allows users to play games, chat, hold meetings, receive advice on starting a business, file public documents, and visit famous tourist attractions in Seoul.
Metaverse Seoul is available on Google Play and the Apple Store for all users travelling into Seoul. Conversations on the platform are translated into English for foreign users.
Services in Chinese and Japanese are being developed and will be available in the second or third phase of the platform, which will be launched in the next three years, said Kim Jin-man, director general of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Digital Policy Bureau.
During the platform’s first phase, residents of Seoul will be able to file official city documents and complaints, as well as get personalised answers on local taxes. Companies can also remotely consult experts via chat, voice, video and screen-sharing features in the platform’s virtual business support centre.
There is also an avatar-based counselling service called Metaforest, where students can communicate their personal and academic struggles without revealing their faces.
Users can play games in a virtual replica of Seoul Plaza and virtually tour the mayor’s office. They can also take virtual tours of the 10 most popular attractions in Seoul including Blue House, N Seoul Tower, Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul Forest, Han River, Lotte Tower, Gwanghwamun Square and the Bukchon Hanok Village.
Seoul City Hall Mayor Oh Se-hoon said that Metaverse Seoul “is an inclusive administrative service that everyone can take advantage of without any time and space obstacles.”
However, he acknowledged the digital divide between older residents and the younger, tech-savvy population, and said that the city government is considering running an “easy mode” program in the second phase of development, which will allow older people to use the services offered on the platform.
The city government has spent about 2 billion won ($1.6 million) and expects to spend an additional 2.8 billion won ($2.26 million) this year on the second phase. The final phase will be launched in 2026.
Seoul is the first major city to launch a metaverse platform for public services. The city plans to fully roll out more government, business, tourism and culture offerings over the next five years.
Since launching its three-year metaverse industry promotion act last September, Korea’s government and businesses have been developing metaverse platforms for different sectors including banking, education, a digital twin of an industrial city, and others.
The Korean government has already set aside approximately $186.7 million to support the metaverse industry. The country’s metaverse will be a platform that supports the virtual growth of cities, education and media.
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