The Metaverse: Chances are you’ve heard a lot about it lately, mostly from people who aren’t sure exactly what it is — but they’re sure it’s definitely going to change the world. That might take a while, but even now the shared virtual world known as the metaverse is beginning to offer cool new possibilities for how we connect with each other and the things we love, from gaming to fashion to sports. And as we prep for Super Bowl LVI, it’s time to think about how the metaverse will affect our future football watching parties.
For sports fans, the metaverse-y future means a more thrilling, more immersive fan experience than ever before. Imagine your digital self watching the Super Bowl from the turf, finding new ways to fly your team colors, and connecting with fellow fans worldwide. Simply put, the metaverse could make the game you love even more edge-of-your-seat-exciting. Ahead of Sunday’s big game, here are five ways watching the Super Bowl could change completely in the metaverse. (And don’t forget to tune into NBC at 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 13 for this year’s game!)
You’ll still have your IRL friends over for game day…
Nothing’s more thrilling than watching the game with your closest friends, fellow superfans, and the random work buddies who might just be there for the chicken wing dip. That experience won’t disappear in the age of metaverse — in fact, the metaverse could make the whole season feel as exciting as Super Bowl Sunday by offering wildly immersive new ways of getting inside the game.
Imagine flexing that you attended every game for your favorite team — no matter where in the world you live? Someday, you might. In the metaverse, virtual season ticket holders can catch every game, even from thousands of miles away (help’s coming, Rams fans marooned in Pats country). Amazingly lifelike streaming tech will make you feel like you’re not just inside the stadium, but right on the 50 yard line — close enough to see the players sweat. You’ll use hand gestures to call up real-time commentary and analysis, and the truly obsessed fans could even use AI-powered apps to run simulations between different teams and lineups. Going deeper all season long means once you’re gathered for the big game, there’s more than ever to politely discuss — fine, heatedly debate.
…But you’ll also host an epic game-day watch party in the metaverse.
Dying to have your faraway friends and family join the party too? Now they can. In the metaverse, you can host hybrid gatherings — like an IRL work meeting that remote colleagues call into, only fun. Imagine inviting friends to your custom-decorated digital fan cave. It looks a little like your apartment (you doubled the square footage, of course), but it’s completely decked out in your team colors, plus digital decor from posters and bobbleheads, to that super-rare framed throwback jersey you’ve wanted since you were 12. Or if you’re feeling fancy, choose a digital space that looks like the skybox at your favorite stadium. Too bad the metaverse can’t provide all-you-can-eat sliders (yet).
New ways to show your team pride
Every fan knows a team’s talent and training can only take them so far — to clinch that sweet trophy, your team needs one thing: you, wearing your most ridiculous fan gear. In the future, your digital avatar in the metaverse will get dressed up for game day, too.
Before you say you’ll never pay real money for fake clothes, think again. So-called “v-commerce” (that’s virtual commerce) has already made inroads among fashion fans, who snap up limited-edition luxury brand clothing and sneakers for their online selves. Gamers buy character and weapon upgrades. And the NFL has already opened an official virtual merch store on one popular video game platform, selling helmets and jerseys for every team in the league. Expect more of that in the future, along with metaverse events to fuel the hype — perhaps a mid-game “drop” of limited-edition virtual merch, or an AR-powered scavenger hunt where players compete to win rare swag. The possibilities are endless — and if you’re still not down, painting your body with team colors will still (hopefully) be free.
Go inside the game
You’re gathered around the virtual hearth. You’re swagged out. The game begins — and in the metaverse, you won’t just watch it, you’ll experience it firsthand. From the momentous coin toss to the tense final play, you could “direct” the game, choosing your vantage point with camera angles, calling up key replays, and even streaming your choice of commentary with a few quick gestures. You could head to your team’s virtual lounge to connect with your fellow superfans, chat strategy, and celebrate (or commiserate) together. Monday morning quarterbacking is even better in the metaverse, where instant translation allows you to chat with fans from around the world. And don’t worry, in the metaverse you can block the lunkheads who tell you your running back is trash.
Choose your own halftime
Halftime is always half the fun of watching — and in the metaverse, it’s even better. Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure halftime, where your digital self can re-live some of the most iconic performances in Super Bowl history. Want to witness the Latina pop diva dance-off that definitively proved hips don’t lie? Stand in the majestic presence of the Purple One as he delivers an epic guitar solo in the rain? Or attend the live halftime performance so you’re not confused by the next six months of memes? In the metaverse, the hardest part will be choosing what to immerse yourself in next.