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FIFA World Cup Headed to the Metaverse and We Can’t Keep Calm!

FIFA hopes that world cup fans will purchase their metaverse merchandise and raise the hype!

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar just around the corner, Chinese soccer fans are eager to embrace the mega event, which is expected to take on a metaverse-like appearance for many sporting enthusiasts watching from afar.

Virtual reality-enabled game viewing experiences, humanlike virtual soccer commentators, and soccer-themed digital collections will all give World Cup fans in China a virtual front-row seat not only to spectacular competitions but also first-hand knowledge of how the metaverse is beginning to reshape the multibillion-dollar global sports industry. The term “metaverse” refers to a shared virtual environment or digital space created by technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Zhang Wenfeng, 28, a bank employee in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, stated: “Previously, World Cups were held in the summer, so we would gather for outdoor parties to watch the games.

This year, it is held during the colder months (in Nanchang), and due to COVID-19, we appear to have fewer options and must rely more on online experience to feel the zeal of soccer. Chinese tech companies are scrambling to leverage their cutting-edge technologies to enhance soccer fans’ digital viewing experience, well aware of the change and the resulting opportunities.

Pico, a VR headset maker owned by tech company ByteDance, announced on Monday that users will be able to watch live World Cup broadcasts through its VR goggles beginning Monday. Soccer fans can invite friends to their own virtual rooms to watch matches and interact with virtual anchors.

Gan Yuqing, a chief content officer of Migu, China Mobile’s digital content unit, stated that the company will also create a virtual interactive space for watching the World Cup, as well as Livestream the event using technologies such as 5G and VR. Gan believes that the careful integration of digital technologies and the frantic pace of the soccer competition will encourage more consumers to try new things.

Digital humans, as a key concept of the metaverse, will also play a role in the once every-four year event. Liu Jianhong, a well-known Chinese soccer commentator, shared a video clip of himself broadcasting soccer news on social media. According to Li Di, CEO of Xiaoice, an AI company that helped create the digital twin, the digital twin will be used to rapidly produce World Cup commentary video clips in large quantities, which will greatly reduce Liu’s workload and boost production efficiency. In the future, the AI version of Liu may interact with his fans, according to Li.