Seoul to conduct closed beta test for metaverse world mega project

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : August 30, 2022, 16:03 Updated : August 30, 2022, 16:03

[Courtesy of Seoul City]

SEOUL -- Seoul will carry out a closed beta test for some of the metaverse-based services that are part of a mega project to recreate the capital city in a virtual world. The project is designed to provide public services through metaverse platforms of every administrative sector. Selected test users can go for a stroll, interact with virtual animals, read books and enjoy fun activities such as playing in the water.  
In November 2021, Seoul unveiled its scheme to recreate the capital city inside a metaverse world by 2026. The adoption of metaverse platforms in various sectors will enable avatar workers to handle various civic complaints and provide virtual tourism experiences such as virtual traditional lantern festivals for foreign tourists. About 3.9 billion won ($2.9 million) will be injected.
After completing the closed test which will begin on August 31, the capital city will officially start the first stage of the metaverse project in November 2022. Seoul will reflect feedback from selected 3,200 test users who will participate in the closed test and create an upgraded version. During the closed testing period, users can enjoy fun activities in the metaverse-based city hall and plaza in central Seoul, frequently visited by families and children to enjoy their weekends in the real world. Teenagers can receive career-related advice in the virtual world.
Through the official service, Seoul will allow users to make inquiries for documents such as resident registration certificates and receive them using a mobile app. Metaverse Tax Square, a platform that provides tax-related advice, will be also created. "We will try to provide better services through participants' feedback on the metaverse platform that Seoul is pushing for," Seoul's digital policy official Lee Hye-kyung said in a statement. 

Metaverse platforms that can be accessed using avatars are mainly based on super-fast 5G networks and optical internet cable networks. The operator of South Korea's top convenience store chain CU is currently running an online convenience store on ZEPETO, a popular smartphone metaverse app, to invite customers to a virtual clone of a CU store located in one of Seoul's riverside parks. Visitors to the metaverse store can enjoy the famous night scenery of the Han River that flows through South Korea's capital city while resting on benches. 
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