The Sandbox, the French metaverse that picks up brands

As one of the figureheads of the metaverse, The Sandbox attracts the attention of many companies that want their own place in this virtual universe. Portrait.

Founded in 2011 by Frenchmen Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget, The Sandbox has not always been a 3D world linked to blockchain and NFTs. If the first version was a success, the turn to the metaverse and these technologies started a meteoric rise for the company.

In the beginning a 2D game on PC and mobile

The title, The Sandbox, refers to the genre of the game in the beginning: the “sandbox”, that is, the player has access to resources to create what he wants in the game and share their creations with others. Another well-known example of a sandbox game is the very popular Minecraft. The Sandbox then allowed players to create small 2D universes and games thanks to the many decorative elements and characters already present. The success was resounding: since 2011, the franchise has 40 million downloads and more than 70 million creations.

What started the shift from The Sandbox to the metaverse was the announcement of Meta’s massive investment in this parallel universe, but also and above all the acquisition by Hong Kong company Animoca Brands, which specializes in blockchain. In an interview for Forbes, Sébastien Borget explains the reason for this change: “We realized that it is difficult to keep a player on time just by betting on the promise of recognition from the creators. In addition, we did not have the technical means to share some of the revenue from the content created […] In 2017, we discovered the blockchain used in the CryptoKitties game, which allowed for the purchase of products using NFTs. That’s why we tested this technology so that our creators can monetize the content they create. †

Virtual experiences without coding

Specifically, The Sandbox now offers several tools for creating virtual 3D objects and experiences without the need for coding: the VoxEdit, to create objects, and the Game Maker which, as the name suggests, allows you to make free games. Items can be sold as NFTs on the Marketplace. If The Sandbox works thanks to the Ethereum blockchain, it also has its own tokens to buy on the platform: the Sands.

A new showcase for brands

In 2022, The Sandbox will look like a vast 3D world where users can enjoy not only virtual experiences – Gartner predicts that 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026 – but also virtual experiences. real estate using cryptocurrency to do whatever they want with it, including monetizing the content they create on the platform using NFTs. An opportunity that more than 200 brands wanted to seize: Warner Music, for example, entered into a partnership for a musical amusement park and Adidas, which bought 1.6 million euros in virtual real estate on the platform, offers accessories in NFT. Other initiatives are more contradictory, such as the purchase of plots by supermarkets such as Carrefour or by insurers.

In early March, during the launch of the second alpha season, The Sandbox announced that it had more than two million registered users. It’s not impossible that the majority just log in every once in a while out of curiosity, but the platform still has 18,500 landowners who have bought a total of 166,464 lots, knowing that a lot will initially cost around $10,000. It is estimated that approximately 70% of The Sandbox’s lots have been sold. And according to neighbors, prices are already starting to rise: the land next to rapper Snoop Dogg’s virtual mansion has been valued at more than $400,000. Unbelievable but true.

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