Fifa launches blockchain-based metaverse, gaming and fan … – SportsPro Media


Fifa / Upland
Fifa has detailed a series of new Web 3.0 games and applications ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this month.
World soccer’s governing body believes the new propositions, which span gaming, fan engagement, and the metaverse, will help it take advantage of changing technological and consumer habits and deepen relationships with digitally native supporters.
It also hopes to educate other demographics about the benefits of Web 3.0 innovations.
A new multi-year partnership with metaverse platform Upland will see the creation of a dedicated Qatar 2022 environment in which soccer fans will be able to collect, trade, and own Fifa digital assets and highlights.
Upland’s platform is linked to real-world geography, which allows players to purchase ‘digital land’ which can be used to build virtual neighbourhoods and create attractions or businesses that generate revenues.
The Qatar 2022 environment will offer a gamified experience, a digital recreation of the Lusail Stadium and other real-life locations, while Upland’s users will be able to add flags and other soccer-related items to their properties.
Fifa is also launching two new casual games. The first is AI League, developed by Altered State Machine, a casual four-on-four soccer management game in which players build teams of characters, set tactics, and influence matches on stylised street pitches set in locations around the world. The second is Matchday Challenge, a social prediction game based on tradable cards. 
The final element is fan engagement app Phygtlis, an immersive experience in which fans own a limited fragment of a virtual soccer ball where they can ‘eternalise’ their favourite moments from previous World Cups in image and video form.
“This is a hugely exciting group of partnerships that we’ve entered into as we embrace a new, digitally-native football fan and engage with them in the spaces that we know they are already active within,” said Romy Gai, Fifa’s chief business officer.
“As we continue to build our gaming strategy long into future, it’s certain that Web 3.0 will have an important role to play, and this marks the start of our journey.”
Fifa has already experimented in the metaverse with Roblox, while it has signed up Algorand as the official blockchain sponsor of Qatar 2022 and the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Algorand’s technology was used to power Fifa’s first major move into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with the launch of ‘FIFA+ Collect’.
The two new games represent Fifa’s first foray into the gaming space since the end of its two-decade long relationship with publisher EA Sports. Aside from Fifa’s increased financial demands, one of the reasons behind the separation was EA’s desire to stage more esports tournaments and release NFTs based on the series.
Fifa believed such exclusivity would prevent it from pursuing other digital opportunities that could yield yet more revenues. The final game to be released with its branding was FIFA 23 earlier this year.
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