A recent attempt by the European Commission’s foreign aid department to get young people excited about the EU with a virtual party in the metaverse backfired after only five attendees showed up.
On Tuesday, Vince Chadwick, a reporter at Devex, tweeted that he was eventually the only person left after the other guests left mid-event, apparently after getting bored.
“I’m here at the “gala” concert in the EU foreign aid dept’s €387k metaverse (designed to attract non-politically engaged 18–35-year-olds). After initial bemused chats with the roughly five other humans who showed up, I am alone,” wrote Chadwick.
The virtual party on the sidelines of a climate change conference in Brussels was depicted in strange-looking avatars dancing to house music on a tropical island. A welcome message was also tucked on the right side of the screen saying, “This is the perfect place to meet new people and enjoy some music. Step into the crowd and take a selfie. Also, did you know you can fly here? It might be useful to see that art installation from up close.”
Based on a live chat seen by ZyCrypto, a few participating online also seemed uninterested, with one complaining about the same DJ spinning the same music for too long. “Is anybody out there?” another asked, prompting a reply from one of the attendees, “I’m still here wondering if I got the date wrong.”
The flop comes after the European Commission’s foreign aid department spent €387,000 to develop a metaverse platform aimed at helping promote its “Global Gateway” investment plan earlier last month. A source familiar with the matter reportedly said that the purpose of the metaverse was to “intrigue that audience, primarily on TikTok and Instagram, and to encourage them to engage with the broader substance of the campaign, which will increase awareness of what the EU does on the world stage among an audience that is not typically exposed to such information.”
That said, with the commission projecting to fork out €300 billion from aid grants by 2027 to help build new infrastructure around the world, the idea of a metaverse seemed to have been a bad idea for many who now hope the commission will change its communications strategy.