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Show Your Athletic Prowess in Metaverse-based Sports Competition

Sports enthusiasts can compete in rowing, cycling, skiing, running, and golf during the metaverse-based Shanghai Virtual Sports Open

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2:35 PM HKT, Mon September 5, 2022 1 mins read

Ever liked the idea of rowing down the Huangpu River or cruising along the Bund on a bicycle? The Shanghai Virtual Sports Open is your chance to do so — all while staying stationary.

The first event of its kind to be held on a large scale in China, the sports competition opened for registrations on September 1, and will take place in the Meita Sports Metaverse (莓塔元宇宙), which was built by Juss Intellisports. Organizers first exhibited the technology for the event on August 5, when the metaverse — inspired in part by iconic Shanghai locations — officially ‘opened.’

From September to December, registered participants can compete in five virtual sporting events: rowing, cycling, skiing, running, and golf. Regardless of fitness, age, or nationality, anyone may sign up via the event’s WeChat mini program.

A screenshot from the Shanghai Virtual Sports Open’s promotional broadcast. Image via Weibo

A screenshot from the Shanghai Virtual Sports Open’s promotional broadcast. Image via Weibo

In-person registration is also available at select locations, which have been outfitted with virtual rowing and cycling trial stations. In the contest’s promotional broadcast (see the image above), several influencers are seen riding stationary bikes and checking on their progress using mobile phones.

To compete, participants can use VR equipment at home and upload their results, or head to offline stores to use simulation technology. Once connected into the vividly rendered metaverse, participants will see familiar sights, like Shanghai’s iconic Pearl Tower, as well as more far-flung locations, like a tropical island and icy alpine slopes.

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A golfer in the Meita metaverse. Image via Weibo

Winners in the rowing, cycling, and racing categories will be determined by speed, while those in the golf and skiing sections will be rated using a points system. The organizers are reportedly giving out up to 370,000 RMB (about 53,000 USD) in prize money.

The event reflects the potential of Web3 development in China, as well as a worldwide commitment to growing the virtual sports industry. Global revenue from virtual sports is estimated to have risen from 493 million USD in 2016 to 16.5 billion USD in 2021.

In related news, earlier this year saw the launch of Impakt, a virtual fitness platform that awards its users with cryptocurrency for burning calories.

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A cyclist in Meita’s metaverse. Image via Weibo

According to the Chinese news outlet The Paper, the Shanghai Virtual Sports Open aims to set a precedent for virtual sporting events and to encompass a broader range of sports like tennis, soccer, marathons, and basketball in the near future.

Cover image via Weibo

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