The metaverse, an unknown universe
However, this new, increasingly fashionable technology is still little recognized by the general public. In fact, only 35% of the French say they see what it is, of which 14% “exactly”. If this result portrays the metaverse as a still niche universe, it also reveals a generational and social divide. For example, the youngest show a better knowledge of the subject (42% of 18-24 year-olds see what the metaverse is, compared to 28% of the over-65s), as do the higher socio-professional categories (59% of the higher compared to 27% of those without a degree). These two fractures, generative and social, also manifest themselves in the representations associated with the metaverse and in its possible applications.
In detail, the perceived use of the metaverse remains mainly centered around entertainment, the French do not yet see the diversity of outlets that the metaverse offers. In addition, 21% find them useless, the third item mentioned. Surprising lesson from this study: Only 5% of the French associate the metaverse with a way to get around health restrictions, despite the efforts of concert organizations, for example when the rooms were closed.
The metaverse arouses the fear of a clear majority of French people (75%), even within the most advanced populations in this area (49% of 18-24 year olds are afraid). Note, however, a correlation between the metavers’ level of knowledge and the level of fear toward them: the less people see what it is, the more they worry. This reluctance towards the metavers leads one of the most fearful people to expect state intervention to ensure that the virtual world respects the same rules as the real world (50% of people fearing the metavers are in favor of legislation, compared to 39 % of those who are not afraid).
The French seem to be aware of the limits of the virtualization of our activities: eight in ten believe that a virtual world would not make it possible to reduce CO2 emissions from the real world. However, those under 35 are more likely to think the opposite (31% believe the virtual world reduces carbon emissions, compared to 17% of those over 35). While young people tend to be more sensitive to the environmental cause, here they seem to be less informed about the impact of digital technology, perhaps creating a “tension” between two of their areas of interest: digital technology and the environment.
French people who don’t project themselves in a virtual world
The metaverse seems to attract few French people to date: less than one in ten (8%) plans to create their digital doppelganger. And in detail, a clear minority of French people say they are willing to invest their money in digital goods and services.
A virtual world limited to entertainment
Entertainment repeatedly emerges in this study as the strong axis of the metaverse. It is not only the first observed use (60% of the mentions), but also the first expectation of potential users. Entertainment indeed appears to be the first digital service for which the French say they are willing to pay. The players expected in the metaverse in priority are museums, theaters and concert organizers, for governments and private companies.
Facebook fails to establish itself as a reference of the metaverse in French opinion
Only 15% of French are in favor of their Facebook account being associated with digital profiles in the metaverse. In addition, less than one in three French (26%) say they trust the company to create and manage a metaverse. And when the latter is put in competition with other data protection players, the group is in last place, and its image is certainly still affected by the various scandals of data leakage of users of the social network. , including Cambridge Analytica in 2014. For example, 17% of French people trust Facebook to manage their personal data in the metaverse, far behind more traditional players such as banks (38%) or public institutions (25%).
For now, Facebook’s turn towards the metaverse, particularly illustrated by the group’s name change, doesn’t seem to be carrying on in French public opinion. In addition to the lack of trust in social networks, the lack of education of the general public can mainly be explained by the distance from the universe of the metavers.
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