Web 3.0 in Italy: 2022 was the breakthrough year for extended reality (XR)

Interest by companies in Web 3.0 has exploded in Italy, with particular attention in extended reality (XR) projects. 

The Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan) has identified as many as 231 active XR projects in the Bel Paese since 2020. 

Web 3.0 in Italy: 231 Extended Reality (XR) projects from 2020 to date

According to reports from the first research of the Polytechnic’s Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory, the interest of companies in Web 3.0 has exploded in Italy

At the conference “Extended reality: the metaverse takes shape,” it was revealed how as many as 231 new XR (or extended reality) projects have been born in the Bel Paese since 2020.

These are named this way, as it is thought that the actual metaverse has not yet been fully defined. 

And indeed, there are 212 different virtual worlds, but since they are not yet interoperable with each other, they cannot be called the “metaverse.” At the moment, there are 445 projects internationally in the different worlds, with experiments in particular in Retail (37%) and Entertainment (27%).

In this regard, Marta Valsecchi, Director of the Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory said:

“The metaverse represents the next big evolution of online interaction, through interconnected virtual spaces where users interact through avatars. 
However, a digital universe does not yet exist today: there are currently several worlds populated by hundreds of millions of users globally, but without full interoperability between them. 
Although the metaverse is not yet fully realized, in the last two years companies have shown strong interest, testing their entry into virtual worlds to understand the business opportunities both in the relationship with consumers and other companies and in supporting their employees.”

Web 3.0 in Italy: there is a need for interoperability in the metaverse

The conference stressed the importance of interoperability of the different technologies used to create the different projects or virtual worlds.  

In this regard, Valeria Portale, Director of the Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory, said: 

“To shape the metaverse, making it an increasingly complete, immersive reality capable of creating value for all actors will need the collaboration of developers, companies, institutions and even users.
It will require defining shared standards to make virtual worlds interoperable through Web3 and blockchain technologies, improving the user experience of both virtual worlds (in terms of graphical quality, fluidity of movement and mode of interaction between users) and access devices, developing regulation on data collection and privacy, which is totally absent today, and, last but not least, populating the different worlds, getting users used to using this new mode of browsing frequently and empowering them to enjoy valuable content, services and experiences.”

This means that despite the explosion of interest from Italian companies, it is still necessary to figure out how to make these worlds interact with each other.

Not only that, in Italy there are an estimated 1.4 million Italians accessing virtual worlds, and for more than half of these, the main worlds are Fortnite and Minecraft, used mainly for gaming or socializing. 

ChatGPT ban in Italy

While Web 3.0 in Italy advances, Artificial Intelligence (AI), on the other hand, comes to a halt. Indeed, at the end of March, Italy took a stand against ChatGPT.

Basically, the Privacy Guarantor blocked the chatbot because it was not complying with Italian privacy regulations. 

The temporary restriction on the processing of Italian users’ data was imposed on OpenAI, the US company that developed and operates ChatGPT.