Web 3 and the World Cup
Web3 plays a critical role in bringing new value to the World Cup 2022. FIFA has announced a range of future-focussed Web 3.0 games to entertain sports fans.
The 2022 World Cup, that kicks off in Qatar in November, is heading into Web3. Those who need more futbol than they get in 90-minute games, can enjoy the Web3/World Cup mashup within a metaverse lounge through non-fungible token-powered trading games, branded NFT collections and metaverse worlds. The official crypto exchange sponsor of the World Cup is Crypto.com.
FIFA continues to expand into new digital spaces welcoming football fans to join them. It launched the landmark Roblox experience earlier this year. New game integrations are all designed for the future of web 3.0. One can play these games during tournaments and each take a unique twist on the world’s largest football tournament.
The international soccer association unveiled the offerings through partnerships with Web 3.0 platforms including Upland, Matchday, Phygtl, and Altered State Machine.
The soccer federation began exploring a Web 3.0 transition after ending its 30-year relationship with Electronic Arts (EA), the publisher behind the FIFA video game franchise. The news has taken the sports gaming community by surprise, as the FIFA games were some of the most coveted and played games in the world.
FIFA’s Impressive Games
Altered State Machine - AI League
AI League is a 4v4 casual football game developed by Altered State Machine. Players take on the role of coaches and owners to manage an AI team, improving their abilities through power-ups and training. Players can also collect and trade characters to create a team with their favorite combination of talents. From Paris to Rio, from Yaoen to Seoul, the playing fields are set in stylized street venues around the world. AI League operates in a similar fashion to fantasy-league soccer, where players can predict the outcomes of real matches and win rewards.
Upland is the largest blockchain-based metaverse mapped to the real world, where players can buy and sell virtual property. Here, fans will be able to collect official FIFA World Cup digital assets (including legendary video highlights from the tournament), shop for exclusive items, engage in competitions, and much more. They can travel to the replica FIFA World Cup Lusail Stadium and Village, purchase items representing their colors to customize their home in the Highlands, trade their assets with friends, and win one of many prizes.
The Web 3.0 gaming startup, backed by the likes of Lionel Messi and other star soccer players, has partnered with FIFA to launch a new game ahead of the World Cup. Matchday Challenge will be a highly engaging casual social prediction game where players can earn points by predicting the outcomes of matches during the tournament.
Phygtl is a fan engagement, decentralized mobile app that launches an immersive World Cup experience for soccer fans around the world. In collaboration with FIFA, it is popular for generating fan-first digital rewards. Through the app, fans can capture and perpetuate their favorite World Cup moments by attaching augmented NFTs to their media.
The World Cup is officially run by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) which, in September, launched its own NFT platform on the Algorand blockchain – and it’s coming to the World Cup, too.
FIFA’s trading card game is a little like NBA Top Shot, the collectibles platform that was one of the earliest drivers of NFT mania at the start of 2021. Similar to that game, FIFA+ Collect has traders collect memorable sporting moments from the history of the game. Think of it as a virtual trading card game powered by NFTs.
It’s already possible to buy World Cup-themed packs of NFTs. The Drop 2: FIFA Archives Packs, at $4.99 each, contain highlights from old World Cup games, both those played by men and women. The cards contain pictures and exclusive artwork.
The packs “democratiz[e] the ability to own a part of the Fifa World Cup,” said FIFA Chief Business Officer Romy Gai in a statement. “Just like sports memorabilia and stickers, this is an accessible opportunity for fans around the world to engage with their favorite players, moments and more on new platforms,” he added.
Algorand, the regional supporter of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for North America and Europe, became FIFA’s official blockchain partner in May. The blockchain is also an official sponsor of the Women’s World Cup, which begins next year in Australia and New Zealand.
Africa Village is a mini festival bolted onto the FIFA World Cup on the field in Qatar and online. It’s working with the African wing of the United Nations Development Program, plus the Centre for Development Intelligence, to bring African metaverse content to the World Cup.
The in-person component comprises a lounge in Hotel Park and six days of live music. The lounge and associated events function as “an inclusive global event for everyone who is a soccer fan and interested in African culture,” says Hashmel Osuman, the founder of Incredible Spaces, which is managing the online component.
The online part involves selling NFTs featuring African soccer stars. The collection will drop with the launch of the World Cup. Why bring NFTs to the World Cup? It’s simple, Osuman told CoinDesk: “The World Cup is one of the most watched events on the planet,” and eyeballs could mean big business, even for those who can’t travel to Doha.
Budverse x FIFA World Cup
In the Budverse, anyone who is old enough to buy a drink can mint an NFT updated by the scores of the latest game. The NFT represents the holder’s chosen country and follows the team’s progress throughout the competition. Holders also enter a competition to win tickets to the World Cup finals, plus a football kit. Budweiser developed the World Cup collection in partnership with serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s Vayner3 Web3 consultancy, and launched it on Oct. 13.
The World Cup NFTs are the latest addition to the Budverse; previous entrants included a collection of heritage beer cans and a “royalty” collection that lets holders support one of 22 Budweiser-sponsored artists. The tracker NFTs cost $100 to mint, although holders of the can collection can mint one of the World Cup tracker NFTs for free.
Boot up the computer and head to child-friendly Roblox, where FIFA will supply its own metaverse within the immensely popular block-based sandbox game.
Once inside, players have access to minigames such as Adventure Football, a kind of crazy golf game that replaces clubs with the LEGO-looking men from Roblox, and Adidas Footbowling, which accomplishes a similar feat with 10 pins.
Only the bravest will attempt the FIFA World Obstacle Course or the VISA sticker shop. But they must, in order to receive exclusive rewards and to “interact” with FIFA World Cup mascots – who could include Spanish midfielder Pedri and German midfielder Lena Oberdorf.
The metaverse, which has no notable crypto component, also includes a live-streaming lounge in which the block-headed can watch games together. This is one example of how Web3 creates virtual inclusivity, Gai said, as well as gameplay.
Chief Business Officer for FIFA Romy Gai emphasized the soccer association’s excitement about the innovative partnerships, and expressed his confidence that they can play an essential role.
FIFA’s push toward Web 3.0 could potentially welcome billions of new users to the Web 3.0 space, as soccer is the most watched and played sport in the world, with more than 3.5 billion fans worldwide.
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