Take the virtual world serious, for our youth it is more than a game

Alexander van Wijnen, researcher at FreedomLab Thinktank, wrote an article for Het Financieele Dagblad about virtual worlds that increasingly resemble the ‘real’ world. 

In the article, Van Wijnen shows that videogames have become much more than games. Although parents still regard videogames as a waste of time, youngsters have turned them into social meeting places. The newest virtual worlds are also sources of creativity, live entertainment and e-commerce. Recently, more than 10 million young people visited a live concert in the videogame Fortnite. Haptic technology will even transport our bodies to virtual worlds, which means that the difference between the virtual and the ‘real’ world will blur for future generations.

Looking ahead, concerns will grow as more people will become addicted, virtual worlds become sources of political conflict, and social cohesion may even suffer. But we should also be optimistic as virtual worlds will become places for new types of entertainment, education and even labor.

Van Wijnen also illustrates a scenario in which companies will try to build a ‘metaverse’ – a virtual world that connects multiple virtual worlds. By doing so, companies ranging from Facebook and Alphabet to Sony, Microsoft and Electronic Arts will try to build a radical alternative to the current dominant digital platforms.

Read the full text in Dutch (register to read)