Seoul to be the first city to enter the metaverse. Will other cities follow suit?

Published on | December 21, 2021
There has been a lot of talk lately about the metaverse, an online world where people interact via digital avatars. Brands and businesses are busy getting ready for the combination of virtual reality and augmented reality video, where users dwell in a digital universe. The Seoul Metropolitan took things a bit further by announcing a few weeks ago that it will be the first major city to enter the metaverse. Dubbed “Metaverse Seoul’, the city is expected to host a virtual communication ecosystem for all areas of its municipal administration. This would include economic, cultural, tourism, educational, and civic service. According to the plan, Seoul residents can visit a virtual city hall to do everything from touring a historic site to filing a civil complaint by wearing virtual reality goggles. Metaverse Seoul will kick off on New Year’s Eve when the traditional Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony will also be held on the platform for residents who want to take part virtually.  

Will other cities follow suit?

As Seoul is destined to be the first city to enter the metaverse, it certainly won’t be the last, as experts expect smart cities to turn into metaverse cities. Recently, it was announced that LA indoor Stadium Staples Center would be getting a new, $700 million replacement for its name: Arena. The arena’s new logo will debut on Dec. 25.’s chief executive, Kris Marszalek, said to reporters that he hopes that the new name will come to be seen as a sign of the times “In the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream,” Marszalek told the Los Angeles Times. Also, in the US, The Downtown Santa Monica District partnered with FlickPlay, a metaverse social app that uses gamification and social aspects to bring locations to life. Users of the app will be able to unlock collectibles and awards that can be redeemed for physical products at retail locations throughout the city using augmented reality and virtual reality. Meanwhile, Barbados could become the first sovereign nation with an embassy in the metaverse, according to a press release published on Coindesk. “The idea is not to pick a winner — the metaverse is still very young and new, and we want to make sure what we build is transferrable across the metaworlds,” Barbado’s ambassador Gabriel Abed was quoted as saying. Barbados will identify and buy land, build virtual embassies and allow users to transport their avatars from one virtual world to another. “This allows us to open the door, using technology diplomacy, which then extends to cultural diplomacy — the trade of art, music, and culture.” Meanwhile, soccer club Manchester City has joined forces with Sony to launch a virtual-reality world based around its state-of-the-art stadium. Based on the plan, the two partners will create a global online fan community within a virtual Etihad Stadium, according to a statement from Sony. Virtual experiences, customized avatars, and interactive loyalty programs will be available at the virtual stadium, which will be a reproduction of "Man City's" home stadium.