Only 4.2% of South Korean citizens have said that they regularly use metaverse services, according to a survey conducted by the Korea Information Society Development Institute.

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Fast facts

  • The research, which surveyed 9,941 individuals last year and was published in April, revealed that children and teenagers under the age of 20 made up 39.2% of South Korean metaverse users. 
  • Approximately 70% of surveyed individuals reported using the metaverse for entertainment, notably games. A smaller fraction, about 8.5%, said they use the metaverse for social interactions. 
  • The survey’s scope of metaverse platforms included video games such as Nintendo Co.’s Animal Crossing, Minecraft or Roblox. 
  • Although the “metaverse” currently lacks an official descriptor, South Korea defines it as a convergence of virtual and physical reality where people can interact and create economic, social and cultural value. 
  • The survey results show that the South Korean government’s official investment in the metaverse industry as a core growth sector has not accelerated local metaverse adoption.
  • In February 2022, the country’s science ministry announced its plan to invest 223.7 billion Korean won (US$169.7 million) in the local metaverse sector, which was followed by major South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics Co., SK Telecom Co., and Shinhan Financial Group Co. expanding metaverse businesses. 
  • Subsequently, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol identified the advancement of the domestic metaverse industry and the creation of digital economies within these virtual platforms as key national objectives. He intends to achieve these goals during his five-year term, which commenced in May 2022. 
  • South Korea’s capital city also launched its digital replica, “Metaverse Seoul,” in January to provide citizens with virtual channels for public services. However, the metaverse’s mobile application garnered less than 10,000 mobile downloads in the first month of release, according to local news outlet the Korea Herald. Seoul has over 9.4 million residents. 
  • Google Trends data shows a gradual decline in interest in the search term “metaverse” over the past year. Its popularity has dropped 75% from its peak in October 2022.
  • Meta Platforms Inc., the operator of social media networks Facebook and Instagram, posted a US$13 billion loss in its metaverse division last year as its virtual platform Horizon Worlds failed to attract a significant number of returning users. The company changed its corporate name from Facebook to Meta in 2021 to signal its belief in the metaverse. 

See related article: South Korea launches online metaverse replica of capital city Seoul to improve public services