13 Dec 2022 3 min read

World Cup 2022: how the metaverse is changing the game

By Aude Martin , Elisa Piscopiello

Virtual worlds could offer football fans new ways of connecting with the global fanbase. But new technology is also being used to enhance more familiar ways of enjoying the matches.

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In the closing moments of the 1998 World Cup final Emmanuel Petit added a third goal to the two already scored by Zinedine Zidane – an emphatic confirmation of a French side at the peak of its powers.

France’s 3-0 victory against Brazil made it only the sixth nation (after Uruguay, Italy, England, West Germany and Argentina) to win the tournament on home soil.

The final whistle marked the end of the match, but the start of a historic victory celebration, with a million Parisians marching down the Champs-Elysees, in a moment the French coach called a “national communion”.

As well as allowing fans to witness World Cup matches in ever-greater detail, technology promises to gradually turn viewers into attendees – allowing supporters to feel the excitement of that million-strong march, no matter where they’re based.

The beautiful game

The metaverse – essentially the next iteration of the internet – is at the forefront of the evolution of how technology can connect people in new ways to the experiences they love. Although the metaverse remains at a relatively early stage of development, the World Cup is already providing a rich seam of live events that can potentially be recreated in digital form.

Roblox* is an online gaming platform that soared in popularity during the pandemic.1 Rather than being based around a single game, Roblox is an environment that can host various user-created and proprietary games. Ahead of the 2022 World Cup kick-off, FIFA and Roblox announced a multi-year partnership2 that will allow football fans to interact in social spaces, earn rewards and collect virtual items.

The Roblox partnership is one among many FIFA has struck with companies that are tapping into the metaverse in hopes of further widening the appeal of the World Cup. It includes a four-on-four casual football game played between AI-controlled characters and a social prediction game based on football cards.3

Software’s impact in the real world

Companies providing underlying technology relevant to these early examples of metaverse environments have also played their part in the real-world preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

As well as an obvious lack of rainfall needed for water-intensive projects, Qatar’s geography makes its territory vulnerable to flooding at specific times of year – a major concern amid the construction of new roads to serve stadiums and other facilities.

To mitigate this risk, flood risk assessment firm SEERO* made use of InfoWorks ICM4 computer aided design (CAD) software created by Autodesk* to model sewer and drainage systems and how they would fare in various flood scenarios.

Another example of how the latest technology is enhancing the World Cup experience is the partnership between Deutsche Telekom* and content delivery network Akamai*, which is allowing the games to be live streamed across the world.5 Given the exceptional demand created by the World Cup matches, the partnership will draw on its expertise supplying dedicated, secured bandwidth to ensure the best possible experience for viewers.

Enabling experiences

Technology – whether radio, television or the internet – has always been a part of the World Cup story.

With the final shape of the metaverse yet to be seen, companies operating in this space could face challenges such as evolving regulations or unexpected technological developments, as well as factors such as the rising cost of capital that could weigh on growth stocks more generally.

But there’s no doubting the appetite for increasingly rich and immersive ways to enjoy the thrill of that gravity-defying goal or nail-biting penalty shootout.

In the meantime, technology will continue to facilitate the more familiar World Cup experiences of live and televised games loved by millions around the world.

 

*For illustrative purposes only. Reference to a particular security is on a historic basis and does not mean that the security is currently held or will be held within an LGIM portfolio. The above information does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

1. Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/08/roblox-is-seeing-a-surge-during-coronavirus-shelter-in-place.html

2. Source: https://metaverseinsider.tech/2022/10/14/new-metaverse-platform-launched-by-fifa-roblox-ahead-of-football-world-cup-in-qatar/

3. Source: https://www.business2community.com/nft-news/fifa-launches-metaverse-games-ahead-of-world-cup-in-qatar-02570700

4. Source: https://www.autodesk.com/customer-stories/seero-qatar-water-infrastructure

5. Source: https://tvnewscheck.com/tech/article/deutsche-telekom-global-carrier-and-akamai-to-stream-fifa-world-cup-qatar-2022/

Aude Martin

ETF Investment Specialist

Aude joined L&G ETF in July 2019 as a cross-asset ETF Investment Specialist. Prior to that, Aude worked as a delta one trader at Goldman Sachs and within the structured-products sales teams at HSBC and Credit Agricole CIB. As an investment specialist, she contributes towards the design of investment strategies and actively supports the ETF distribution and marketing efforts. She graduated from EDHEC Business School in 2016 with an MSc in Financial Markets.

Aude Martin

Elisa Piscopiello

ETF Analyst

Elisa joined LGIM as ETF Analyst in June 2021. She contributes towards the development and analysis of investment strategies, whilst also supporting ETF distribution and marketing efforts. Prior to that, Elisa worked as Multi Asset Investment Support Executive at Liontrust, and as Investment Dealing Assistant at Architas. In 2016 she graduated from the University of Kent with a First Class degree in Financial Economics with Econometrics. She holds the Diploma in Investment Management (ESG) and is a CFA charterholder.

Elisa Piscopiello