Chinese internet platforms test metaverse and virtual reality for Qatar World Cup matches

People walk past the countdown to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as it approaches thirty days before the sporting event, in Doha on October 20, 2022.Photo: VCG

People walk past the countdown clock for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar in Doha on October 20, 2022. Photo: VCG

As the craze for the World Cup football tournament spreads across the world, Chinese internet platforms are rushing to join the carnival and compete for a large number of sports fans in the country by offering a “metaverse-like” viewing experience enabled by 5G and virtual. reality (RV).

These efforts will help the internet giants secure an increasing amount of traffic during the sporting event, analysts said, but what matters most is that the widespread use of new technologies will allow companies to perfect their product offerings.

Two notable participants are Chinese streaming service Migu, a subsidiary of China Mobile, and Douyin, China’s TikTok. Both streaming platforms have sub-licensed rights to broadcast live and on-demand coverage of the Qatar World Cup, and will share digital coverage of the events with public broadcaster China Media Group (CMG).

According to media reports, Migu and Douyin paid an “exorbitant” price for the broadcast rights. Only six channels on the Chinese mainland, including Migu China Mobile and Douyin, were allowed to broadcast World Cup matches.

Gan Yuqing, chief content officer of Migu, said in July that the company would create the world’s first virtual interactive space to watch the tournament and broadcast the event live with technologies such as 5G and virtual reality to create a sensation. surreal to Chinese soccer fans.

On his official Sina Weibo account, Migu announced plans to hold a “Metaverse World Cup Music Festival” and a “surprise visitor” from 2070 will show up at the event.

Douyin posted the slogan “Watch the World Cup live on Douyin” on his official Weibo account. VR headset maker Pico, also owned by ByteDance, said users can watch live World Cup broadcasts using its VR glasses, allowing football fans to invite their friends from far and wide into their own digital rooms to watch matches together.

As a global sporting event, the World Cup has enormous influence, and it has undoubtedly become a staple for corporate marketing, You Xi, co-founder of the Kandong app, told the Global Times, noting that the event will greatly attract much-needed internet users to internet platforms.

Moreover, a football match is a perfect scenario for applying new technologies, and the event will be a big boost for the virtual reality and metaverse industry in China, You said.

“Since US tech giant Facebook turned into Meta and came up with the concept of metaverse, progress has been slow. company,” said Chen Jia, an independent industry observer. the Global Times on Sunday.

On November 1, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, along with four other government agencies, unveiled a five-year plan for 2022 to 2026, aimed at boosting the development of the virtual reality industry, aiming to achieve a total industrial scale exceeding 350 billion yuan. ($48.1 billion) in 2026.

The plan sets an overall goal of achieving major breakthroughs in key technologies such as three-dimensionality and improving the ecosystem so that virtual reality is adopted to promote economic development.

“Through the application of various scenarios in the metaverse of this World Cup, China can also test the overall quality of the industrial chain in the field of virtual reality technology, and thus quickly gain a foothold in the industry,” Chen noted.

However, Guo Tao, a veteran internet analyst, pointed out that the metaverse as a whole is still in the initial stage of development. Some issues such as immature technologies and business models need to be verified by the market.

“The application in sports events is mainly concentrated in the fields of virtual events, virtual anchors, virtual studios, digital management and other fields, while the user experience remains inadequate and the adhesion of the product is not enough,” Guo told the Global Times on Sunday. .

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