The sandbox, the French metavers that brands snap up

As one of the galleon figures in the meta-verse, The Sandbox attracts the attention of many companies who want their own space in this virtual universe. Portrait.

Founded in 2011 by Frenchmen Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget, The Sandbox has not always been a 3D world associated with blockchain and NFTs. If the first version was already a success, the turnaround to the meta-verse and these technologies began a dramatic increase for the company.

Initially a 2D game on PC and mobile

The title, Sandbox, refers to the genre of the game itself in the beginning: “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 ultra-popular Minecraft. In The Sandbox, players were then able to create small 2D universes and games thanks to the many decorative elements and characters already included. The success has been resounding: Since 2011, the franchise has amassed 40 million downloads and more than 70 million creations.

What started The Sandbox’s shift towards the meta-verse was the announcement of Meta’s huge investment in this parallel universe, but also and above all its acquisition of Hong Kong company Animoca Brands, which specializes in blockchain. In an interview with Forbes, Sébastien Borget explains the reason for this change: “We realized that it’s hard to keep a player on time, just by relying on the promise of acknowledging the creators. Furthermore, we had no technical options to share a portion of the revenue from the created content. […] In 2017, we discovered the blockchain used in the game CryptoKitties, which made it possible to purchase products using NFTs. So we tested this technology to enable our creators to monetize the content they create. »

Virtual experiences without having to know how to code

Specifically, The Sandbox now provides more tools for creating virtual 3D objects and experiences without having to know how to code: VoxEdit, for creating objects, and Game Maker, which, as the name suggests, allows you to create games for free. Items can be sold as NFTs in the marketplace. If The Sandbox works thanks to the Ethereum blockchain, it also has its own tokens to buy on the platform: Sands.

A new showcase for brands

In 2022, therefore, The Sandbox looks like a huge 3D world where users can not only enjoy virtual experiences – Gartner predicts that 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the meta-verse in 2026 – but also buy or rent virtual real estate by 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, formed a partnership for a musical amusement park, and Adidas, which bought 1.6 million euros of virtual real estate on the platform, offers accessories in NFT. Other initiatives are more incongruent, such as the purchase of land by supermarkets such as Carrefour or by insurance companies.

In early March, during the launch of its second alpha season, The Sandbox announced that it had surpassed two million registered users. It’s not impossible that the majority just log in from time to time out of curiosity, but the platform still has 18,500 landowners, who have bought a total of 166,464 plots, knowing that a plot initially costs around $ 10,000. It is estimated that approximately 70% of The Sandbox plots have been sold. And prices have already begun to rise, according to neighbors: 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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