What to expect from Abu Dhabi’s metaverse version of Yas Island

Last month, Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, announced plans to launch a metaverse version of its 25-square-kilometer Yas Island. The metaverse project will replicate the real-world version of the island’s points of interest.

It will be built using three of the most popular platforms in the current metaverse landscape — Roblox, The Sandbox and Super League Gaming. Once finished, visitors can ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World or drive a race car on the F1 track virtually.

The replica will include the island’s world-class shopping centers, restaurants and cafes, beach clubs, aquariums, hotels, leisure and entertainment venues, theme parks and sports facilities. It will be accessible to everyone once completed in Q1 2023.

The Abu Dhabi Ministry of Culture and Tourism partnered with local companies to develop the project. These local partners are Aldar (real estate development), Miral (destination management), twofour54 (media production), Abu Dhabi Motorsport and Flash Entertainment.

“With the Yas Island metaverse, we are inviting the world to experience the excitement of Abu Dhabi’s incredible leisure and entertainment destination—virtually—like never before,” DCT Abu Dhabi undersecretary Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani said.

He added that the project’s innovative, interactive platform is ideal for showcasing the extraordinary lifestyle, cultural and entertainment experiences Abu Dhabi offers. It will give both virtual residents and travelers the ability to personalize their own unique Abu Dhabi journey.

Miral CEO Mohammed Abdalla Al Zaabi said his company had collaborated with key entities to provide visitors with a new way to experience and explore all Yas Island has to offer, from world-class theme parks to global events.

Aldar CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi added that the company was proud to be part of the project. He said the digital Yas Island would provide partners with a memorable and exciting chance to discover new ways to provide world-class experiences to digital adventurers.

UAE’s venture into the metaverse

Over the last fifteen years, the UAE has been striving to transform the emirate by shifting its reliance on the oil industry to a focus on knowledge-based industries.

In September, more than 300 experts gathered in the country for the two-day Dubai Metaverse Assembly to explore opportunities in the virtual world.

“We are setting up a third office, this time in the metaverse, to complement our physical locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” UAE Ministry of Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri said during the event.

“The metaverse is a new economic equalizer, and under the vision of our leaders, we will continue to pave the way for a new era of opportunities that accelerate our knowledge-driven economy.”

The headquarters will be multi-story, with each floor serving a specific purpose. Visitors to the virtual head office can register legally valid documents, removing the need for signatories to visit one of their physical locations. When visitors take a ticket in the virtual office, a customer happiness center employee will enter the metaverse to interact with them.

Over the next five years, the UAE’s metaverse plan will generate 40,000 jobs and contribute more than $4 billion to the gulf economy.