The FIFA 2022 world cup, widely regarded as the premier football event on the planet, has been underway for well over a week now, having produced several breathtaking clashes already. In fact, the recent showdown between the USA and England pulled in a whopping 15.3 million viewers in the States alone, setting the record for the most-watched men’s football match on U.S. television.

This dramatic increase in global viewership can, in part, be attributed to the rise of Web3-enabled tech, the metaverse, in particular. To put things into a financial perspective, the global metaverse ecosystem is projected to grow to a cumulative valuation of a trillion dollars by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 39.8%. This is thanks to the technology’s generally inclusive framework that allows people from all over the globe to interact with one another digitally.


The metaverse is here to stay, promoting global inclusivity

As part of this year’s World Cup, elements of the fast-evolving Web3 tech paradigm have continued to come to the forefront every passing day. For example, viewers can currently participate in a wide array of FIFA-licensed non-fungible token-powered trading games, buy branded NFT collections, and even access several metaverses from the comfort of their homes.  

While one of the virtual worlds allows users to watch themselves stream games while sitting in a lounge, another world — called Roblox — allows players to access several minigames. These include Adventure Football, a golf title that replaces clubs with LEGO-looking men, and Adidas Footbowling, which is similar in its design but makes use of bowling pins to achieve a similar effect. Other elements of this pensive football-themed metaverse include the FIFA World Obstacle Course and the VISA sticker shop. 

If that wasn’t enough, FIFA has even set up a live-streaming lounge where users from across the globe can come together using digital VR headsets, interacting with one another in an entirely new fashion. This is probably one of the most striking examples of how Web3 is helping create a virtually inclusive environment for everyone.

Blockchain platforms are leading the roost

Amid the ongoing World Cup mania and metaverse boom, a growing number of blockchain projects have sought to help merge the two worlds merge. For example, Upland, a metaverse mapped to the real world with over 3 million registered accounts, recently partnered with FIFA, constructing digital replicas of the Lusail Stadium alongside a World Cup-branded village, shops, and several showrooms.

Moreover, Upland also recently unveiled a new collection game that comes replete with country-specific team crests, boots, shirts, historic official World Cup logos, posters, and mascots, allowing fans to create a digital collection album obtaining officially licensed merchandise from all of the 32 country teams participating in the tournament.

Upland is available for download for free on iOS, Android, and web devices and can be played from anywhere in the world. The project seeks to empower communities, as well as help brands, realize their entrepreneurial endeavors via the gamification of their ecosystems and through the introduction of NFTs.

In a similar breath, VR headset maker Pico, a subsidiary of tech giant ByteDance, is now allowing users to view live broadcasts of the World Cup through its VR interface, allowing football fans to invite their friends in private digital spaces and watch matches together, even interacting with virtual anchors. Lastly, the digital content wing of China Mobile has also created a virtual interactive space for watching the football extravaganza, with matches being live-streamed using technologies including 5G and VR.

Looking ahead

As the world continues to gravitate toward a more decentralized mode of operation, it stands to reason that the use of Web3 technologies, especially the metaverse, will continue to rise. This is because it stands to provide users with an unparalleled level of live interaction and immersion that they would otherwise not be able to experience. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how this niche’ continues to evolve from here on out.