The first popular football video games date back to the 90s with the launch of FIFA International Soccer, the first title produced by the franchise. This had the arcade aesthetic of the time, similar to other 16-bit games of the same generation.
Originally, the game only featured global teams and the players did not have real names. The particularity of this title, developed by EA Canada, is that it is the first soccer video game to have an official FIFA license.
Since then, football has evolved and with the advent of NFT technology (Non-Fungible Token), he sought to offer his fans much more immersive experiences.
The front: fan tokens
Initially, different football clubs started to launch their own “fan tokens” in an attempt to retain their followers.
These blockchain-based digital assets allow their owners to have access to exclusive merchandising and events, as well as to participate in certain club administrative decisions, such as the incorporation of new facilities or marketing actions.
These assets have mainly been all the rage in Europe, with clubs like Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Manchester City, among many others. The phenomenon is now spreading to other continents, notably Latin America.
The after: the metaverse
The word « metaverse » comes from « meta » which means « after » in Greek, so it refers to a universe that is beyond the one we currently know. In other words, as we mentioned at the beginning, in the future, football metaverses could become so realistic that they manage to replicate the real football market.
This could range from the buying and selling of virtual players (NFT) to revenue from transmission (streaming) rights, which today are mainly capitalized by platforms such as Twitch.
In this sense, MetaSoccer could be an example of a football manager-style metaverse that turns every real football player – who agrees to be in the game – into an NFT. This means that it will be a unique piece that can only be signed by one club.
Argentina national team goalkeeper Emiliano “Dibu” Martínez, Arsenal FC midfielder Thomas Partey and Real Madrid star Dani Carvajal are now available in this metaverse. The game also has other fictional characters who by training can become stars and achieve great monetary value and even virtual stadiums where people can pay to watch matches of their favorite clubs.
Which characteristics are similar to real football?
- Strategy and tactics : Each user is the manager/DT of the club and this has a strong impact on the final result of the match.
- Player ability : All players have a maximum natural potential that they can achieve. Your job as manager/DT will be to guide them and provide each player with the correct training to unlock that maximum potential, so that they perform at their best within the game. Assistants can be hired to create more specific training for specific positions and/or tactics.
- Chance : Like in real life, there are odds that work in your favor to win, but there are also other variables that can give you a critical failure, like a low level player.
- Morale, rhythm and fatigue : As a manager/DT, you should not only improve the player’s skills, but also take care of them and be aware of any issues that may affect their performance. This will require daily attention. You can also hire assistants to help you with this task.
- Discover the future stars : You can buy and sell players, as well as search for young players who could become stars in the future.
What’s interesting is that all of these features can be monetized through the buying and selling of NFT players, similar to the real pass market, based on a digital economy that revolves around its own cryptocurrencies, called $ MSU and $MSC.
“The case of MetaSoccer is very interesting, because the users build the team to manage and the fans, thanks to NFT technology, have direct ownership of the players they buy and manage”, says César Vidal Scasso, president of the Electronic and Electromechanical Sports Association of Argentina (ADEEMA). He concludes “Just as esports came to redefine the concept of sports, metaverses may redefine the football market.”
Note that this is a very ambitious blockchain project and its evolution will be seen in the months to come. NFT games are a very recent phenomenon and it is too early to know if these projects can be sustained.
In turn, the crypto ecosystem is high risk, so any investment decision should always be based on each risk profile, under your own analysis and responsibility.
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