Sandbox, Decentraland… What are the main metaverses?

Since the end of October 2021, there has been a lot of attention for the metaverse that Facebook/Meta is preparing. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, gives us a glimpse of a fantastic future in a kind of immersive parallel world. Yet he did not land in virgin territory. Several universes that can be classified as metaverses had been active for several years and were growing rapidly.

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The three main metaverses are called Decentraland, The Sandbox and Roblox. What is striking is the scale to which some of these projects have developed. Both The Sandbox and Decentraland have been taken over by creatives and forward-thinking companies who quickly saw their potential. This one ecosystems quickly expanded.

It turns out that, if the temptation of theuniverse of the cryptocurrencies and NFTs is strong, that of video games is even more the case. According to Global Games Market Reportthere were approximately 2.7 billion gamers at the end of 2020. And Statista notes that out the only US territoryplayers on mobile spend an average of $61 per year. Those who play on console are willing to pay $84 per year for additional content. Clearly, then, in the intersection of the game’s universe and that of cryptocurrencies / NFTs, huge potential. So in a metaversein addition to the playful aspects, the assets can be sold or bartered and this aspect seems to appeal to many publishers, even if many players do not see this development favorably.

Decentralland

Decentraland is a virtual world that belongs to its users. It was made in 2015 by Argentinians Ariel Meilich and Esteban Ordano. Introduced to crypto investors in 2017 through an ICO, it opened to the general public in February 2020 and quickly took hold.

In a sense, there the users of Decentraland find the opportunity to build a land of utopia, ruled at their own discretion and whose borders are difficult to see. Anyone can arrange the plot they own as they please, whether they want to create a pleasure garden, an attraction, a museum…

Two currencies for the same universe

Decentraland relies on two types of tokens:

  • Mana is used to buy items, for example to avatar by decorating it with accessories such as earrings, a necklace, a hat, goggles nightly… Those who have crypto Mana also have voting rights allowing them to propose changes to the game. If the community votes in the majority for their proposal, the game will evolve in the desired direction.
  • The country that serves the purchase of plots of 16 meters x 16 meters with a height of 20 meters, or even plots. There are a total of 90,601 lots. Once you’ve bought one, you can build on it whatever you want and decorate it to your liking.

These two currencies are based on: Ethereum

Decentraland was such a boom that Sotheby’s wanted to open a virtual gallery there. One real estate agency, Metaverse Groupe, made headlines by acquiring 116 lots. In November 2021, tokens.com bought land for the equivalent of $2 million. Deadman Mou5 and Paris Hilton, for their part, took part in a music festival at the end of October 2021.

Also in Decentraland we find neighborhoods (neighborhoods) that group activities of the same nature:

  • them games of chance like roulette or poker nearby vegas
  • China Town (Dragon City);
  • the Fashion Street for fashion lovers;
  • university with schools;
  • business (Crypto Valley);
  • etc

Just like in real life, some neighborhoods are more popular than others. This is the case at Fashion Street, the fashion district, where a fashion week was organized in March 2022. Among the brands present in this district are Dolce&Gabbana, Elie Saab, Monnier Frères, Franck Muller… The most expensive place in Decentraland is the Genesis Plaza – a plot there can be worth millions of dollars.

The sandpit

The Sandbox is a particularly rich 3D world in terms of decors and surprises from the start with its extremely lively character. We control an avatar and can explore a shared world that: multiple of possibilities. In addition, it is constantly evolving.

A Map gives access to the different territories of The Sandbox and what is immediately noticeable is the presence of the red Atari logo that has reserved several lots, including one of size. The other is that of rapper Snoop Dog, whose house is one of the favorite places for visitors. If a square on this card is green, it means it is possible to place a bid to buy it. Once in the game you can also buy some to work on display: paintings, sculptures, vehicles, etc.

In reality, The Sandbox is the evolution of quite an old project as The Sandbox Evolution game was originally released on iOS in May 2012. It was created by two French developers, Sébastien Borget and Arthur Madrid, at the head of the Voxelw studio. The game then offered to create a virtual space, a bit like in Minecraft, and let it evolve from a very pleasant interface. The Sandbox Evolution received Apple’s Game of the Year award. In 2013, it was released on Android. Even today, these mobile versions have about 40 million users.

In 2017, on the occasion of the cryptocurrency boom, Borget and Madrid saw the opportunity to integrate such an aspect into the game and then convert the elements of the universe into NFTs. let’s remember that NFTs establish ownership of a workits authenticity and value through scarcity. A cryptocurrency has been created for this new game: Sand.

In The Sandbox Game, all content is generated by the users: buildings, characters, experiences… Two easy-to-use tools are available for creatives: VoxEdit, which allows you to avatar or NFTs, and the Game Maker that lets you create experiences.

  • territories (countries) are based on the ERC-721 standard that defines NFTs;
  • games and assets are based on the more advanced ERC-1155 NFT standard.

Soon, The Sandbox enticed a community of gamers interested in this marriage of a gaming platform with NFTs.

In August 2018, Voxelw was acquired by a Hong Kong gaming giant, Animoca Brands, which gave power to the Sandbox project. From there, partnerships could be entered into with brands such as Atari, the Smurfs or Cryptokitties. Little by little, personalities or big brands have wanted to acquire land. Among them are the Winklevoss brothers, famous for having facebook – as the movie followed The social networkthe platform Binancethe crypto reference site Coinmarketcap…

Roblox

Roblox is a platform that offers hundreds of thousands of different games – it is basically an online game creation system. And since the game came out in 2006, a very large number of forms of entertainment are now accessible to newcomers: opening a pizzeria, escaping from a prison, adopting pets, golf… Roblox even claims that it would integrate 40 million different games.

The close of 2020 had a huge impact on Roblox’s popularity as it allowed children to interact and play together – the game had 113 million users at the end of 2019 and more than 200 million by April 2021. The majority are children and teenagers: 67% of the players are under the age of 16 if we are to believe figures from backlinko.com† And in the 9 to 12 age group, an estimated 3 out of 4 American kids would play Roblox.

While most games and game elements (outfits, rare items, etc.) are free, some are for a fee through in-app purchases. The currency used is the Robux and it is easy to buy with a simple credit card. For example, in the first half of 2021 alone, according to backlinko, it was bought from Robux for $1.31 billion. And Roblox is happy to report that active game developers generated more than $328 million on its platform in 2020.

Certainly, this spending capacity can pose a risk to a parent who makes his card available to his offspring and therefore supervision is desirable. There is also a parental control that can be activated that can help prevent the child from being exposed to inappropriate content. Some argue that exchanging objects would have a useful didactic aspect for the child.

To what extent can Roblox be compared to a metaverse? Simply because it contains so many games and hosts so many users indulging in social activities. So we can say that Roblox is the metaverse of the young generation.

Roblox has begun to take initiatives towards the metaverse as conceived by adults, inviting real-life personalities to participate in its universe. So the dj David Guetta was invited to give a live performance — in avatar form — early February 2022 in Roblox. Concerts have also been given by artists such as Ava Max, Why Don’t We, Royal Blood and Twenty One Pilots.

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