Lost in Roblox’s Fifa World – everything wrong with the metaverse in one place

This football-themed game is a ludicrous fantasy: a dystopian hyper-capitalist holiday park that illustrates how the virtual universe will really workAlmost every December all around the UK, temporary winter wonderland theme parks crop up, usually in out-of-town car parks or disused industrial sites. They promise hours of seasonal fun with Santa’s grottos and magic sleigh rides – but what disappointed families often get is Santa’s static caravan covered in tinsel and two emaciated donkeys dressed in plastic antlers dragging a wheelbarrow. Imagine that, but online and with a bit more cash behind it, and you have Fifa World.Announced via a typically histrionic press release, Fifa World is a “virtual environment that celebrates the power of football and the rich history of its pinnacle events”. Built into the hugely successful online multiplayer game Roblox, which allows its 55 million daily users to create their own interactive areas (but which has also attracted huge controversy for its business model of monetising childhood creativity), it’s a sort of virtual football-themed fete with a nine-hole football crazy golf course, where you kick a football through various obstacles into a goal, and a football bowling challenge, where you kick a football at some skittles. Other than that, there’s a mini football pitch with a giant ball, so you can engage in impromptu kickabouts with other inmates, sorry, visitors.

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