By Kan Hyeong-woo
The number of metaverse users across major virtual world platforms in South Korea has dropped sharply since social distancing measures were lifted, a report showed Sunday.
According to big data analysis firm Mobile Index, the number of Roblox’ weekly active users recorded 773,678 during the period between May 9 and 15, a nearly 18 per cent drop from the previous weekly figure. It was the lowest number recorded since the last week of June 2021.
During the same period, the amount of time spent on Roblox reached 150 minutes per user, the lowest since the final week of October 2021. It showed a steep decline of approximately 46 per cent when compared to the 276 minutes that Roblox users spent on average for a week between February 14 and 20.
South Korea’s leading metaverse platforms — Naver’s Zepeto and SK Telecom’s ifland — also showed similar decreases during the period, according to the report.
Zepeto’s number of weekly average users recorded 133,708, the lowest since the first week of July 2021, while the total amount of spent on the app by all users posted 190,961 hours to fall below the 200,000-hour mark for first time in 10 months.
The report showed that ifland logged 105,292 WAUs between May 9 and 15, setting a new low.
A business professor at Chung-Ang University, Wi Jong-hyun wrote in a post on his Facebook account that the popularity of the metaverse in the country stemmed from the restrictions on outdoor activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Wi, the phenomenon of “metaverse fatigue” has been spreading while companies and people get tired of chasing abstract mirages that were intangible.
The Korean government lifted most of its social distancing measures, including operating hour limits on restaurants and cafes as well as banning the maximum number of people in private gatherings, on April 18.