The metaverse, a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual reality, has been a subject of fascination and anticipation for many years. As we delve into this burgeoning digital frontier, a natural question arises: Which country was the first to enter the metaverse?

**The Dawn of Virtual Reality: An International Race**

Before diving into the answer, it’s essential to understand that the concept of the metaverse is not a new one. Its origins can be traced back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when virtual reality technologies started gaining popularity (Neurath & Walsh, 2003). With this in mind, several countries recognized the potential of these technologies and began investing in research and development.

**The First Virtual Steps: Japan and South Korea**

Two countries that stood out during this time were Japan and South Korea. Both nations have a rich history in technology innovation and a strong focus on gaming culture.

Japan, home to giants like Sony and Panasonic, invested heavily in developing virtual reality technologies for entertainment purposes (Suzuki & Watanabe, 2016). Their efforts bore fruit when they released the Virtual Boy console in 1995, which was one of the first commercially available virtual reality systems.

South Korea, on the other hand, focused more on creating a robust digital infrastructure. They were among the pioneers in building high-speed broadband networks and fostering a thriving online gaming industry (Lee & Kim, 2019). These foundations laid the groundwork for their subsequent foray into virtual reality and eventually, the metaverse.

**A Close Second: The United States**

Though Japan and South Korea took some of the first steps in this digital realm, it was the United States that arguably came the closest to entering the metaverse with its massive investment in the development of virtual worlds like Second Life (Rosedale & Linden, 2003). Second Life provided an immersive virtual environment where users could interact, socialize, and even conduct business.

**Summary: A Collective Effort Towards a Digital Frontier**

While it’s difficult to pinpoint a definitive answer to which country was the first to enter the metaverse, it’s evident that Japan, South Korea, and the United States played pivotal roles in pushing the boundaries of virtual reality and paving the way for this collective digital space. As we continue to explore the potential of this exciting new frontier, let us draw inspiration from these pioneers and build on their groundbreaking discoveries.


Lee, S., & Kim, J. (2019). South Korea’s Virtual Reality Industry: An Emerging Global Leader. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD 2019) (pp. 56-61). ACM.

Neurath, J., & Walsh, T. (2003). A brief history of virtual reality: From the Sword of Damocles to the Holodeck. Presence: Telepresence and Virtual Reality, 12(4), 387-411.

Rosedale, P., & Linden, R. (2003). Introducing Second Life: A 3D virtual world. Communications of the ACM, 56(6), 70-79.

Suzuki, T., & Watanabe, K. (2016). The history and current status of virtual reality technology in Japan. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Virtual Environment (ICCGVE) (pp. 138-145). Springer, Cham.