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Virtual Seoul opens on metaverse

The South Korean capital has become the world’s first major city to launch a metaverse platform for official business and entertainment.

The Metaverse Seoul project is a virtual reality space where citizens can play games, fill in official forms, get help with taxes, and access various other city services.

There is a fintech lab and a corporate support center offering remote consulting to businesses, as well as an avatar-based youth counseling service.

The space also hosts virtual replicas of Seoul’s leading tourist attractions, including the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Lotte Tower. Users can tour the mayor’s office, while the virtual Seoul Plaza is an entertainment space.

Some services are available in English to promote tourism. The app is available on Apple and Google Play app stores.

It is the first phase of the planned three-stage rollout of the project, which was opened to the public following a beta version last year.

Virtual Seoul would expand further to eventually handle all administrative services in the city, Mayor Oh Se-hoon said during the project’s launch on Monday (16 January). He said he expected it to become an important tool “in the new normal.”

The city has spent $1.6 million on the first phase of Metaverse Seoul and plans to spend $2.2 million on the second phase.

The move reflects South Korea’s national metaverse ambitions. The country’s government announced it would invest $187 million to build “a metaverse ecosystem” for its creative industries last year.

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