Two Chinese technology companies are offering Chinese viewers a metaverse experience during the broadcast of the 2022 Soccer World Cup in Qatar. The two companies, Migu and Douyin, have reportedly secured the broadcasting rights to the Qatar World Cup and will sublicense the rights to the state-owned broadcasting company, China Media Group.
According to Migu, users can watch the World Cup matches in the company’s virtual interactive space using VR headsets. Migu first announced its intention in July, when its general manager, Gan Yuqing, said the company would create a unique virtual environment in the world to watch the matches. Yuqing also added that the company will hold a World Cup music festival on the metaverse. He also said it will introduce a surprise guest from the future.
Similarly, Douyin, the streaming company owned by ByteDance, announced its World Cup broadcasting services. Another ByteDance subsidiary, Pico, invited users to use its VR headsets to enjoy the cup matches in a digital space. It also encouraged potential users to invite their friends for a shared metaverse experience.
According to You Xi, co-founder of the Kandon app, the World Cup is the biggest stage for the world’s most popular sport and the perfect marketing opportunity for any company to showcase its work.
The metaverse experiment: China leads the way
Although the field is still in its infancy, many agree that China is at the forefront of creating metaverse experiences.
By February, several Chinese technology companies had invested in metaverses. Earlier in November, several Chinese agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, unveiled a plan to improve VR technologies and boost the industry. The plan detailed a five-year plan from 2022 to 2026 to boost the industry by about $49 billion.
Chen Jia, an independent industry observer, believes the World Cup provides a perfect opportunity to test progress in real time. Jia believes that this test will allow China to quickly gain a foothold in the industry. Jia noted, “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.“
Internet analyst Guo Tao believes that the current technology is immature and needs to be verified by the market. He notes that the industry is still in its infancy and applications are still limited in the sports industry.