Emmanuel Macron was not just giving a meeting at La Défense Arena on Saturday April 2: the candidate was also campaigning in Minecraft. A “virtual meeting”, supposed to be broadcast in the game, but which was not really one.
It is, without a doubt, one of the strangest meetings I have seen. A spectator is hiding in the middle of a flower bed, two people sitting in the front row are trying to fight, and I myself am being beaten by some kind of pumpkin. It must be said that I do not attend just any meeting: I am not at La Defense Arena to listen to Emmanuel Macron, but in Minecraft, where the candidate was also campaigning.
Because yes: Emmanuel Macron has created a Minecraft server dedicated to his campaign. In this server, apart from campaign posters and portraits of the candidate on every street corner, there are mostly NPCs (a non-player character) who inform us of the measures taken by the president during his term. A very large map also allows you to walk through the reconstructions of a town hall, a post office, a kebab, and even… a convention center.
As the candidate’s teams explained to the newspaper Le Progès, this palace was not installed in the server by chance, but to host a campaign meeting there. The objective is simple: to seduce young Minecraft players, and thus ” fight against the abstention of 18-25 year olds “. And to attract them, in parallel with his meeting given on April 2 at La Défense Arena, Emmanuel Macron also held a “ virtual meeting in the Minecraft server’s convention center. I attended.
A virtual meeting that is not really one
By logging on on April 2, a little before the announced time for the start of the meeting, I was surprised to see that I was not the only one: a dozen or so players were already standing in the hall of the convention center intended to host the meeting, installed on seats in the middle of NPCs. The room also filled up as the time of the meeting approached, the atmosphere sometimes turning into nonsense: some players started banging each other, others jumping all over the place. the room, others to waddle in front of the central stage. However, it was impossible to speak with them: the server’s chat had been deactivated by Emmanuel Macron’s teams, and it was very frustrating.
But that was not the only disappointment of this ” virtual meeting “. At 3:30 p.m., the official start time, nothing is happening in the virtual convention center. Only a message appears on my screen saying that ” Emmanuel Macron will soon speak “, and that I can “ follow his speech by clicking on a link “. This link takes me… to the YouTube broadcast of the meeting. That’s it: nothing happens on the center stage of the virtual convention center while the YouTube video is playing.
During the first hour of the meeting, while a room driver made the public at La Défense Arena sing before Emmanuel Macron took the stage, I only really managed to follow what was going on by putting the YouTube video in the background, while I display the Minecraft server. The superposition of the two is not only extremely bizarre, but above all, has nothing to do with a virtual meeting.
The only real moment that could look like a virtual meeting comes when Emmanuel Macron begins his speech at La Défense Arena. It is only then that an avatar of the candidate appears on the central stage of Minecraft (yes).
He does not speak, does not make noise: this avatar does nothing but move his arms and head. It is imperative to have YouTube in the background for the illusion to be almost there: otherwise impossible to hear Emmanuel Macron’s speech while his avatar is gesticulating. We are far from the virtual meeting praised by the candidate’s teams, from an event like Travis Scott was able to do on Fortnite, from a conference in the metaverse or even from Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his hologram in 2017. And that has, above all, no interest: as much to watch the video on YouTube.
It’s really not what I expected in terms of ” virtual meeting », and I feel that around me, the disappointment is palpable. Gradually, my neighbors are disappearing, and soon only Macron’s avatar, some NPCs, and me remain in the room. When, after more than two hours of speeches, the meeting IRL finally ends, I expect a special animation in Minecraft. But nothing happens on the server, and Emmanuel Macron’s avatar disappears as it appeared, without a word.