- The EU spent €387,000 ($407,000) on a metaverse venue to promote a new strategy.
- But the 24-hour launch party saw just a handful of attendees.
- One journalist who attended said he was one of just six people at the event.
The European Union hosted a 24-hour party in its $407,000 metaverse, but only a handful of people turned up, according to journalist Vince Chadwick, one of the attendees.
Last week’s event was billed as a “beach party” offering “music and fun” to launch the EU’s “Global Gateway” strategy.
When the costly virtual-reality world was first shown in October, EU staff were already raising concerns, per Devex.
“Depressing and embarrasing” and “digital garbage” were among the department’s first responses to the underwhelming €387,000 venue.
The EU told the news site that its metaverse aimed to increase awareness among 18-35 year olds “primarily on TikTok and Instagram” who aren’t politically engaged.
But as it moved from promotional video to virtual reality, it seems the message didn’t reach too many people.
Discover the new #GlobalGateway digital platform – https://t.co/DHAdsfwbA1— EU International Partnerships 🇪🇺 (@EU_Partnerships) October 13, 2022
Our shared digital space is the perfect place to get to know new people and reflect on global issues to make a difference for our shared future. #WhoWeAre pic.twitter.com/IAA01vIYbo
Chadwick tweeted about his experience at the party, saying that there were just five other people in attendance.
He described “bemused chats” with the other partygoers, as they couldn’t figure out where it was supposed to be.
“The concert is the same DJ spinning the same music,” said one user, while Chadwick questioned if he had the date wrong.
The other attendees then gave up – leaving the singular journalist as the only person at the gala, less than an hour after its advertised start.
The “Global Gateway” strategy aims to raise €300 billion of investments by 2027 to help the world recover after the pandemic, in an attempt to counter China’s influence.
After seeing the metaverse party, one EU diplomat told The Times of London: “Beijing must be wetting themselves with laughter. It would be funny if it was not a serious project, and if we had not paid for it all.”
The EU did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
The metaverse has faced renewed criticism since Mark Zuckerberg announced losses and layoffs at his company, Meta, where the virtual reality division has lost $30.7 billion.
The Financial Times reported that investors were “more disgusted” after Zuckerberg then doubled-down on his vision for the metaverse.