EU Strategy for Web 4.0 & Virtual Worlds

What does it mean for the fashion industry?

Aug 2, 2023

The Commission has introduced a new strategy on Web 4.0 and virtual worlds, ushering us into the next technological revolution while ensuring an inclusive digital landscape for EU citizens, businesses, and public administrations.

The internet's rapid evolution with Web 3.0 brought openness, decentralization, and user empowerment. Now, prepare for Web 4.0, the next generation that will transcend boundaries, merging digital and real environments to create captivating interactions between humans and machines.

The EU's vision for the economy beyond 2030 emphasizes digitalization as a crucial driver, and Web 4.0 is set to create an interconnected, intelligent, and immersive world. The global virtual world market is projected to grow from €27 billion in 2022 to €800 billion by 2030.

Virtual worlds will have a profound impact on our lives, offering opportunities and risks that require attention. The new strategy aims to infuse Web 4.0 and virtual worlds with EU values and principles, safeguarding people's rights and empowering European businesses.

As we stride boldly into the future, fashion stands poised to become a formidable force driving this metamorphic odyssey. The landscape of style has taken a revolutionary turn, with fashion brands deftly incorporating cutting-edge mechanics that seamlessly merge the realms of metaverses and video games. Witness the magic of a unique QR tag with Martina Spetlova, transforming physical garments into digital twins, ready to be adorned and flaunted in the virtual realms.

In this era of technological marvels, fashion enthusiasts can now partake in awe-inspiring fashion shows such as Gucci and Balenciaga from the comfort of their own homes, courtesy of virtual reality devices. Say goodbye to the uncertainty of online shopping, as augmented reality try-ons enable customers to make well-informed choices when it comes to selecting the perfect ensemble and accessories.

In the world of fashion, the Commission aims to empower and educate people about virtual worlds. By the end of 2023, they'll promote virtual world principles from the Citizens' Panel and create a 'Citizen toolbox' by early 2024. They'll also support talent development and skills training, particularly for women and girls, in partnership with Member States and funding programs like Digital Europe and Creative Europe.

In the business sphere, the focus is on scaling up excellence in the European Web 4.0 industry and bridging gaps between virtual world players. The Commission proposes a Partnership on Virtual Worlds under Horizon Europe to foster research excellence and create a roadmap. To encourage innovation, they'll aid EU creators and media companies in testing new tools and developing regulatory sandboxes for Web 4.0 and virtual worlds.

Regarding governance, the EU aims to harness the potential of virtual worlds for societal progress and public services. Initiatives like Destination Earth, Local Digital Twins, and the European Digital Twin of the Ocean are underway. New public flagships include "CitiVerse" for urban planning and a European Virtual Human Twin for clinical decisions.

The Commission is committed to shaping global standards for open and interoperable virtual worlds and Web 4.0, ensuring diverse participation and avoiding dominance by a few big players. Collaboration with internet governance stakeholders worldwide will promote EU values in Web 4.0 standards.

The realm of fashion and technology remains a dynamic crucible of innovation, with continuous development and growth fueling its boundless potential. As the European Union's visionary strategy unfolds, Web4 emerges as the harbinger of an immersive and widespread customer experience, permeating everyday life across the globe.


This strategy is based on the groundwork laid by the European Commission about virtual worlds, incorporating insights gathered through consultations with citizens, academia, and businesses. To foster a comprehensive approach, the Commission initiated the European Citizens' Panel on Virtual Worlds, which took place from February to April 2023. In this event, 150 citizens were randomly selected and invited to develop recommendations concerning the vision, principles, and necessary actions to ensure the fairness and suitability of virtual worlds within the EU for all individuals. These 23 recommendations have been pivotal in shaping specific actions outlined in the strategy focusing on Web 4.0 and virtual worlds. Additionally, on 14 September 2022, the European Commission established the Virtual and Augmented Reality Industrial Coalition, an alliance that brings together industry stakeholders and policymakers.

Moreover, the Joint Research Centre has recently released a new report, offering valuable insights into the potential opportunities that next-generation virtual worlds may bring across various sectors, including education, manufacturing, health, public services, and more.