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Saudi Arabia Launches Cultural Metaverse on Founding Day

 

The initiative of the Saudi government’s Cultural Universe within the metaverse serves as a comprehensive journey through the extensive history of Saudi Arabia, tracing back to the year 1727.

Launched by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture to commemorate the nation’s founding day, this metaverse initiative is a testament to the commitment to both showcase and preserve Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage. Utilizing Oracle’s Hyperledger Fabric 2.5 blockchain technology and developed by droppGroup’s Generative Media Intelligence AI system droppPhygital, this virtual realm came to life on February 22.

The user interface of Saudi Arabia’s metaverse initiative. Source: cup.moc.gov.sa

In navigating this virtual landscape, users adopt a first-person shooter approach, enabling them to explore the metaverse freely. Along a designated path, users encounter virtual representations of historical events, which trigger detailed audio explanations in Arabic, enhancing the immersive experience. However, it’s worth noting that the audio content is currently unavailable in English.

Beyond historical narratives, the Cultural Universe encompasses diverse sectors dedicated to music, art, history, food, crafts, and even mini-games, all centered around Saudi heritage. Accessible for free across various platforms including websites, mobile devices, virtual reality headsets, and other digital platforms, this initiative embodies the Ministry of Culture’s commitment to inclusivity, allowing a global audience to engage with Saudi culture.

The Ministry of Culture sees this venture into the metaverse as a transformative moment and a cultural revolution, aligning with its mandate to safeguard and promote cultural heritage while fostering contemporary artistic expression. Samuel Huber, CEO of LandVault, a metaverse firm collaborating with government agencies in the Middle East, notes that the region, including Saudi Arabia, is leveraging the metaverse beyond mere hype, aiming to capitalize on its potential for economic growth.

According to Huber, governments in the Middle East, notably the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, are leading the charge in digitizing infrastructure and cultivating dynamic economies for their citizens. Much like blockchain and AI, the metaverse represents a cornerstone in the region’s strategy for economic advancement.

Wasif Shakir

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