The boundary between the physical and digital world is becoming increasingly blurred, and the inhabitants of the metaverse are flocking to dynamic new forms of architecture that can fuse audiences together in the virtual world, just as stadiums do in reality.
VIrtual stadiums are making their mark in the metaverse, and as they become more widespread and attract new fans, they promise to foster greater engagement and enthusiasm in these emerging digital worlds.
Real-world stadiums very often serve as the anchor for entire communities, sitting at the center of lively commercial districts that form a hub of life and activity. Stadiums can also revitalize entire districts that had previously fallen into disrepair. Take the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, which has been credited with a stunning 148% increase in the price of nearby homes between 2014 and 2021.
As the home of two incredibly popular NFL teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, the SoFi Stadium has become the center of a vibrant entertainment district in the city, where people come to spend their money, socialize and have fun. As a result, Inglewood has become one of the most popular districts in LA, encouraging people to engage with its nearby attractions.
There’s reason to believe that virtual stadiums in the metaverse can have a similar impact on the atmosphere of virtual worlds, producing a magnetic impact that attracts more visitors to check out nearby spaces. It’s an intriguing prospect because metaverse stadiums are rapidly catching on, enabling a new kind of immersive experience that isn’t possible in the real world. At the same time, metaverse stadiums promise to bring together big crowds even while those people are residing in the comfort of their own homes.
Rap Legends Reborn
One of the most impactful virtual stadium events to date was the recent Notorious B.I.G VR concert experience that took place within Meta Horizon Worlds last month. A digital avatar of the legendary, now deceased rapper was resurrected to appear before thousands of fans in a virtual replica of 1990s Brooklyn, New York, where he delivered a breathtaking performance that had the effect of transporting attendees back in time.
The hyper-realistic Notorious B.I.G avatar appeared in Horizon Worlds clad in a red, velvet tracksuit and proceeded to deliver some of his greatest hits via an immersive concert experience that would simply be impossible to recreate back in the real world. With guest appearances from Sean “Diddy” Combs, The Lox, Latto, Nardo Wick and Lil’ Cease, the live performance also included a narrative of Biggie’s early life, and was attended by several hundred floating avatars in a lifelike concert venue who benefited from 360 degrees of immersive sounds and sights. The event, delivered by the digital tech firm Hyperreal, was a hugely successful showcase for the potential of these pioneering VFX environments.
Immersive Sports Experiences
Fans of the video games industry will soon be able to enjoy more immersive experiences of this kind thanks to Everyrealm, a metaverse developer that recently partnered with MIBR, a subsidiary of U.S. firm Immortals Gaming Club, to create a new virtual arena focused on e-sports.
It’s called the MIBR Arena and it’s hosted in the Portals metaverse, with the intention of bringing e-sports fans together in one virtual space to enjoy special events together and increase community engagement. Already it has hosted a number of successful events, such as livestreaming the IEM Major Rio 2022 Champions Stage that took place in the physical world in Rio de Janeiro last November. For fans who couldn’t attend in person, the virtual MIBR Arena provided another way to see the event with their own eyes, with everything being livestreamed in an immersive 3D environment where attendees could walk around, meet up with other fans, and even take part in some unofficial games themselves.
The MIBR Arena is modeled after a real-world e-sports arena and is themed with the landscape of Rio. Visitors can dress their avatars with MIBR digital wearables provided by the VR developer Ready Player Me, and while access is free for anyone, there are plans for VIP ticket sales for future events that would enable paying guests to enjoy extra benefits.
Football fans can also get a taste of the metaverse stadium experience via Upland, a unique, open virtual world that’s mapped to the real world. Upland hit the headlines a few weeks ago, just prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup, when it announced it was partnering with FIFA to deliver a metaverse based experience to coincide with the world’s greatest sporting event.
With Upland, metaverse fans were able to enjoy a unique World Cup experience by visiting a virtual World Cup village that was mapped to the real-world village in Doha, Qatar. Visiting Upland’s virtual World Cup Village, soccer fans had the opportunity to participate in numerous metaverse games with the object of collecting NFT souvenirs that can be used to decorate virtual buildings and show support for the 32 nations participating in the tournament. As part of the experience, Upland constructed a full-sized digital replica of the Lusail Stadium in Doha that served as the venue of the World Cup final. What’s more, the digital stadium was given away to one lucky winner, as one of numerous prizes on offer to players who were able to collect the most NFTs.
The Beating Heart Of The Metaverse Community
Perhaps the most popular arena to emerge in the metaverse so far is not really an arena at all. Nevertheless, Decentral Games’ metaverse poker lounge has become one of the most visited places within Decentraland, which itself is one of the best known virtual worlds that exists today.
Decentral Games is essentially a metaverse-based gaming lounge where players can visit using a digital avatar and participate in various skill-based games using crypto, meaning that the stakes are very real. It’s by far and away the most popular attraction within Decentraland, accounting for 60% of all its visitors. Within Decentral Games, the most popular game is Ice Poker, and players can access daily events and challenges directly from the poker lounge.
To participate in the biggest events, players need to acquire an ICE wearable, which is an NFT accessory that can either be purchased, loaned or borrowed for free if the user is lucky enough. The ICE wearable entitles players to a specified number of “chips” which can then be used to play ICE Poker tournaments. By winning, players can obtain xDG tokens that can be used to purchase new wearables or sold for another cryptocurrency. The tokens also provide governance voting rights, enabling players to participate in community management decisions. Players don’t need to spend any money to visit the poker lounge though, as it also hosts hundreds of free-to-play poker games where nothing is at stake.
The success of Decentral Games’ metaverse gaming lounge shows that metaverse stadiums can have the same magnetic pull on everything around them as they do in the real world. Metaverse stadiums are still relatively new creations and there is no hard data on what kind of attraction they provide, so we can’t say what kind of impact it would have if we were to just construct one in a remote part of The Sandbox.
That said, metaverse traffic looks a lot like it does in the real world. Those who build in a high-traffic area, such as close to Snoop Dogg’s virtual mansion, will have to pay more for the land but it has been shown that they also receive more visitors due to their proximity to other attractions. It makes sense that users will explore what’s nearby, as they’re able to see what’s available close to the destination they’ve just arrived at.
As such, virtual stadiums could one day become the centers of vibrant new metaverse communities. If thousands of people are flocking somewhere in the digital realm to catch the next concert involving a music legend who’s been brought back from the dead, why not place your virtual pizza place next to it, offering deliveries directly to the door of hungry fans in the real world?
The potential of sports-themed metaverse districts could well be the next big thing for virtual metaverse real estate investors, with numerous opportunities to cater to their digital and real-world wants and needs.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.