FIFA Partners With Matchday, Upland, Altered State Machine & Phygtl For World Cup Web 3.0 Games, Drops Electronic Arts

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FIFA announces Upland, Matchday Challenge, AI League and Phygtl Web 3.0 games will be playable throughout the tournament.

With just days left until the FIFA World Cup kicks-off in Qatar on November 20th, the international football  association has been looking into new avenues to engage with fans—this time in a pivot to Web 3.0. As a result of these efforts, FIFA has announced a wave of Web 3.0 games intended to bring new forms of entertainment and engagement to fans worldwide.

FIFA unveiled the offerings through partnerships with Web 3.0 platforms including Upland, Matchday, Phygtl and Altered State Machine.

FIFA ends relationship with Electronic Arts

The change in direction comes after the football federation ended its 30-year relationship with Electronic Arts (EA), the publisher behind the FIFA video game franchise. The news has taken the sports gaming community by surprise, as the EA FIFA games were some of the most coveted and played games in the world.

While it is still being determined whether EA will continue to produce new iterations in the series, it is clear that the governing body is committed to exploring a Web 3.0 transition. In September, FIFA announced they were launching an NFT collectibles platform on Algorand.

FIFA adds to its’ Roblox experience

FIFA unveiled four games that utilize Web 3.0 technology. The games will be playable throughout the tournament.  Each will bring fans unique experiences and twists as football’s most prestigious event unfolds.

The onus is being placed on Web 3.0 as part of the football association’s efforts to encourage organic growth through expansion into new digital spaces, platforms and games. In line with this, FIFA recently launched a landmark Roblox experience, welcoming football enthusiasts to a free to play experience in celebration of the beautiful game.

Details about the new Web 3.0 games

  • AI League: A casual, 4-on-4, simulated strategy-based football manager game developed by Altered State Machine. Players take on the role of coaches and owners to manage an AI team, improving their abilities through power-ups and training. AI League operates in a similar fashion to fantasy-league football, where players can predict the outcomes of real matches and win rewards.
  • Upland: The largest city-building and property trading metaverse mapped to the real world—Upland will play host to the Lusail Stadium, home of the upcoming Qatar World Cup, in collaboration with FIFA. Here, fans will be able to collect official FIFA World Cup digital assets (including legendary video highlights from the tournament), shop for exclusive items, engage in competitions, and much more.
  • Matchday Challenge: The Web 3.0 gaming startup, backed by the likes of Lionel Messi and other star football players, has partnered with FIFA to launch a new game ahead of the World Cup. Matchday Challenge will be a casual, strategy-based, prediction card game with fantasy-league elements. Players can battle it out with their curated decks, as well as earn points by predicting the outcomes of matches during the tournament.
  • Phygtl: The fan engagement, decentralized mobile app, popular for generating fan-first digital rewards, is set to launch an immersive World Cup experience for football fans around the world, in partnership with FIFA. Through the app, fans can capture and save their favorite World Cup moments by attaching augmented NFTs to their media.

Chief Business Officer for FIFA Romy Gai emphasized the football association’s excitement about the innovative partnerships, and looks forward to engaging with fans through the newly developed digital spaces. Gai went on to add that the releases represent the first step in the company’s Web 3.0 gaming strategy for the future, and expressed his confidence that they can play an essential role.

On the Other-Side

  • The newly announced game lineup heavily features fantasy-league football and prediction mechanics that risk inducing gambling addictions among players looking to earn rewards.
  • FIFA’s decision to onboard Web 3.0 games could be considered a risk, in light of ending of its 30-year relationship with EA. The FIFA game franchise is among the most played games in the world. The most recent iteration, FIFA 23, reached a record-breaking 10.3 million players in its first week, marking the biggest launch in EA and FIFA history.

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