Chinese internet platforms try out metaverse, VR for Qatar World Cup matches

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

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

As the World Cup soccer championships spread across the globe, Chinese internet platforms are jockeying to join the carnival and compete for the country’s vast number of sports fans through a “metaverse-like” viewing experience. offer enabled by 5G and virtual. reality (VR).

The efforts will help the internet-based giants get an increasing amount of traffic during the sporting event, analysts said, but more importantly the widespread use of new technologies will enable companies to round out their product offerings.

Two notable participants are the Chinese streaming service Migu, a subsidiary of China Mobile, and Douyin, the Chinese TikTok. The two 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 proceedings with state-owned broadcaster China Media Group (CMG).

According to media reports, Migu and Douyin paid a “sky-high” price for the broadcast rights. Only six channels in mainland China, including Migu China Mobile and Douyin, were authorized to broadcast World Cup matches.

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Gan Yuqing, Migu’s chief content officer, said in July that the company will create the world’s first virtual interactive space to watch the competition, and will live stream the event with technologies such as 5G and VR to give fans a surreal feeling. Chinese soccer fans.

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

Douyin showed the slogan “Watch the live broadcast of the World Cup 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 goggles, enabling soccer fans to invite their friends from afar into their own digital rooms to watch games together.

As a global sporting event, the World Cup has a big impact, and is undoubtedly a necessity for corporate marketing, You Xi, co-founder of the Kandong app, told the Global Times on Sunday, noting that the event will attract greatly. internet users who are in dire need of the internet platforms.

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Moreover, a football game is a perfect situation to implement the new technologies, and the event will be a big push for the VR and metaverse industry in China, you said.

“Since the transformation of the US tech giant Facebook into Meta and put forward the concept of the metaverse, progress has been slow. But China is pushing forward with development at the country and company level,” a said Chen Jia, an independent industry observer. the Global Times on Sunday.

On November 1, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, together with four other government agencies, unveiled a five-year plan for 2022 to 2026, to boost the development of the VR industry, with the aim of achieving a total industrial scale of more than 350 billion yuan. ($48.1 billion) in 2026.

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The plan sets out an overall goal of achieving major breakthroughs in key technologies such as 3D and improving the ecosystem for the adoption of VR to promote economic development.

“By implementing various scenarios in the metaverse of this World Cup, China can also test the overall quality of the industry chain in the field of virtual reality technology, and thus gain an early foothold in the sector,” 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. There are some problems like immature technologies and business models that need to be realized by the market.

“The application in sports events is mainly focused in the fields of virtual events, virtual anchors, virtual studios, digital management and other fields, although the user experience is still insufficient and the stickiness of the product is not enough,” Guo told the Global Times Sunday.

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