The European Union invested $400k into a 24-hour metaverse “beach party” full of “music and fun,” only to attract less than ten guests who all left within an hour.
The event was organized by the European Commission’s foreign aid department, which was looking for youth excitement for its newly-announced Global Gateway strategy.
However, things did not take the expected turn.
“I’m here at the ‘gala’ concert in the EU foreign aid dept’s €387k metaverse (designed to attract non-politically engaged 18-35-year-olds),” tweeted Vince Chadwick, a journalist who attended the digital event. “After initial bemused chats with the roughly five other humans who showed up, I am alone.”
The event had received reservations from even the EU members to attend as after its announcement, several EU employees spoke to Devex and they did not seem very thrilled with the idea of the celebration.
One called the digital beach party “depressing and embarrassing,” while another referred to the event as “digital garbage.” When told how much money the agency had spent on the project, someone else simply said: “Jesuuuuus.”
“We were [like]… WTF?” added yet another. “Who validated this?”
The commission’s Global Gateway project, which the event was meant to promote, is in part a strategy for countering Chinese influence post-pandemic.
“Beijing must be wetting themselves with laughter,” one EU diplomat told The Times of London. “It would be funny if it was not a serious project, and if we had not paid for it all.”
Four hundred thousand dollars is a huge sum of money and it could have been used somewhere else, somewhere better! But, the EU did not see it going down the drain.