FIFA — yes that FIFA — is set to launch an official mobile game in conjunction with, and developed by Web3 studio, Altered State Machine (ASM). The game, based on the 2022 Qatar World Cup project previously launched, is now in open beta on Android.
FIFA isn’t new to blockchain technology. In fact, last year, after FIFA parted ways with Electronic Arts for the yearly FIFA football sim, they announced a partnership with Algorand, albeit without mentioning gaming per se. FIFA fully intends to keep official football games in the works, but there hasn’t been much news on the topic in the past 12 months. We do know that FIFA wants to create a rival to EA Sports FC (formerly FIFA 23 etc.) and had begun talks with developers to “diversify their gaming rights.”
Well, one of the first results has been launched into open beta and it will contain NFTs. The game is called FIFA World Cup AI League and although a version of it existed during the World Cup, this is separate, which is a touch confusing given the World Cup is long over. Nevertheless, it is an AI-driven, 4-versus-4 street football game where you are the manager and “you own, train, and trade a team of AI-powered footballers.” This is where blockchain will augment the gameplay it would seem.
The concept is certainly interesting. It is somewhere between an arcade version of Football Manager, FIFA’s career mode, and your typical mobile game. There are leaderboards, matchmaking ELO, and daily rewards, so it isn’t quite the barebones beta we’re used to in Web3, though I couldn’t confirm what role NFTs play (if any at all) in the game’s most recent patch. It is currently only available in beta on Android, so iOS users will have to wait to try it, but it is “coming soon”.
Like many, I am curious as to what this game is to FIFA; is it one of many new games that will have the official license granted as they become more liberal with it, or is this more substantial to them? The press release suggests an NFT marketplace is coming and the developers, Altered State Machine, often mention that this game brings street football to the metaverse. I cannot tell if the term “metaverse” is being used as a synonym for Web3 gaming or if they are implying that AI League is going to be a part of something bigger, but I’ll be watching to find out.