AFTER FIFA’s very public divorce from EA Sports, a number of questions have been raised as to what this means for the future of FIFA gaming.
Developer EA Sports has previously announced that they will continue to develop games in much the same way, only under the EA Sports FC branding.
While it was originally believed that FIFA would continue to develop high-end games with its license, it has instead focused heavily on the metaverse and blockchain.
The federation recently announced the development of four new “games” that include gambling and NFTs, following previous collaborations with Roblox and Algorand.
We spoke to Danny Brown Wolf, Chief of Staff, and Lindsay Lindsay Anne Aamodt, Upland’s Head of Marketing, about their collaboration with FIFA and whether or not what they’re doing is actually a game.
The way their collaboration will work is that players can purchase packs – similar to FIFA 23’s FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) packs – and within them will be a bunch of random NFT items.
These are primarily World Cup branded digital merchandise that your character – dubbed Block Explorer – can own and use in the Upland virtual world.
The most exciting part for the players is the chance to win a video clip of one of the World Cup goals.
However, as with all digital assets, all of your purchases – made with real money – go down with the Metaverse, and that includes anything you’ve won as part of the campaign.
We’ve seen this many times in the past, most recently FTX – the second largest crypto exchange in the world – recently collapsed, losing over $15 billion (£13 billion) of its users.
When asked how Upland secures its future for its users, Danny replied, “Upland is specifically the largest Web3 metaverse. We have 310,000 unique landowners.
“Our hearts go out to our colleagues, but the way Upland was built, our customers and we are unaffected by the macro.”
Even with Upland safe, the question remains as to how the metaverse is truly a game.
FIFA promised us a new football series and what we get is glorified microtransactions and gambling.
Despite FIFA’s announcement, Danny denies their project is even trying to be a game.
Lindsay says, “Gamers are by no means our only audience. We want a mass audience.
“It’s hard. We know full well that they are against NFT. Gamers are much harder to acquire than crypto lovers.
Danny chimes in: “It [Upland] was never intended as a triple-A game. It’s supposed to be a social immersion strategy game.
“We’re not coming down to gamers because that’s the future of video games. Not at all. That is complementary.”
However, they claim that they are trying to make it more like a game. In her own words, “We’re looking for game mechanics that are more like game and not just collect and call it game.”
At this point, that’s exactly what it is. And indeed, they’ve done what many companies that work with FIFA have done.
They took existing assets and simply redesigned them to be soccer themed.
Roblox did something similar. It took existing sports games and simply swapped the ball for a soccer ball.
Danny says, “A lot of the features we developed for FIFA were already existing features. Luckily, we already had a working relationship with NFLTA that we needed to leverage.”
However, this compromise seems to have been necessary as FIFA contacted Web3 companies with very limited time before wanting to start the collaboration.
Lindsay says: “We have signed a two-year contract with FIFA. The deal was signed…recently.
“To the point we had a few sleepless nights releasing this for the World Cup.
“No one but a Web3 startup would be able to pull this off.”
The question still remains whether this is just gambling, microtransactions and the dreaded pay-to-win model.
Whoever collects the most World Cup merchandise wins even more in-game assets, such as: B. a replica of the stadium.
When she asked Lindsay if her “game” was just pay-to-win, she admitted, “I mean, it is, but it’s a lot. It’s a stadium, it’s FIFA-branded cars, it’s Block Explorers.”
We also asked about the level of gambling as you buy NFTs for real money and resell them to other players hoping to make a profit.
When asked if Upland gambles, Danny replied, “We’re totally compliant… but we don’t gamble.”
We also emphasized that Upland is still a risk. One where people spend money hoping to make money.
Danny seemed quite frustrated with my insistence and finally admitted, “But that’s any game that makes money. and you [gamers] do.
“The blockchain gaming industry accounts for about 2% of the actual gaming industry revenue. And the industry is highly profitable.”
Gamers are aware of how profitable the industry is and how much we wish we could go back in time before microtransactions were so prolific.
The Metaverse just keeps following the model and hopes to get a fraction of the money we put into our online games.
One of the ways Upland is trying to differentiate itself from other NFTs is that you can create your own assets and build on top of them.
We created The Sims, which is now free to play and has a vibrant community of modders and developers.
From this, the intentions for the metaverse seemed even clearer. Is the Metaverse just The Sims but you have to pay real money to enter?
Lindsay admits, “I don’t think there’s a huge difference other than the fact that our transactions happen on the blockchain.”
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9759202/fifa-upland-metaverse-nfts/ FIFA Metaverse Interview: “We had a few sleepless nights putting this out there”