A French virtual “sandbox” that enjoys international success? The sandbox is above all the story of a French success. We have to go back to 2011 to return to the origins of the project. A little over ten years ago, two Frenchmen – Sébastien Borget and Arthur Madrid – created a mobile video game, The Sandbox. Each player could create his own 2D universe with different characters (heroes but also enemies) as well as multiple levels. Ten years later, the principle remains basically the same, but the experience has become much more immersive. And the attraction is real: The Hong Kong-based company raised about $ 93 million by the end of 2021 from the Japanese Softbank.
Since, Sandboxes took the trip to metaverse and NFTs. Take effect, now in 3D, this virtual game still allows everyone to create their own universe but each imagined content is now associated with an NFT (non-fungible token). And it needs to buy or rent digital land with cryptocurrency tokens. Each creation (a house, a store, a park, a character, etc.) can then be resold in a marketplace with a certificate of authenticity attached to the blockchain. Thus, since the end of 2019, The Sandbox has accumulated $ 144 million in trading volume, of which 70 mio. only in real estate. And the meta-verse even has its own cryptocurrency, Sand, which has a capitalization of nearly $ 2 billion.
The sandbox: virtual world, real business
According to the specialized site Naavik, The Sandbox has approx 30,000 active users per month, half of whom play at least one hour a day. The service houses about 500,000 members in total. This is still very little, especially if we compare with Roblox (202 million monthly active users), Minecraft (140 million) or Fortnite (80 million). But that does not stop The Sandbox from being worth $ 14.8 billion after all, a real success that could provide ideas for a European metavers to Emmanuel Macron. It is the meta-verse where the average investment per user is highest.
The reason ? Brands and companies’ interest in this metaverse. It is currently estimated that around 19,000 people own land in Sandkassen. Specifically, of the 166,000 “Lands” (land or virtual real estate) available in total, about 35,000 are still waiting to find individuals. Each country is a unique token (NFT, non-fungible) based on the Ethereum blockchain. To date, approximately 70% of the playing card is therefore already occupied. Starting price on a plot? $ 10 to $ 12,000, or about 10,000 euros. The Cryptoast website is currently evaluating it 15 to 20% of the lands belong to companies.
A metavers anticipated by companies?
Almost 200 brands have invested in this metaverse. Among them we can quote Gucci, Adidas, Ubisoft, Samsung, Warner Music, Atari… Why do they invest? “Blockchain is one of the most innovative technologies of our generation.says Scott Zalaznik, general manager of the Digital division at Adidas. It offers unlimited potential to communicate with our members. The foundation we lay with Web3 will lead to new creative opportunities for partnerships, commitment through digital products and a path to a more inclusive future ”.
Specifically, each brand invests in a new area of communication. Adidas, which acquired 144 plots of land for 400 ETH ($ 1.7 million), is selling NFTs. In addition to their own value, they will provide access to exclusive experiences in the meta-verse, but also to very real areas. More than 20,000 textile pieces and sneakers (Stan Smith, Forum, etc.) were to be released “in real life” by November 2022.
Fashion, supermarket, concerts and … real estate speculation
Gucci, he created the Gucci Vault. This space will be the place for unique experiences. It will also be used to sell fashion items so players can wear them … in the game. Having your avatar dressing up in Gucci is something of a concept. Completely virtual goods sold thanks to NFTs, and whose benefits will be very real for the Italian brand, a subsidiary of the French group Kering.
—Gucci (@gucci) February 9, 2022
Warner Music, for its part, is considering hosting virtual concerts and meetings with the label’s artists. He is in the process of creating a “musical theme park”. Places that are destined to be particularly popular and which, as in the real world, drive up the price on surrounding grounds. Thus, the grounds near rapper Snoop Dog’s virtual mansion in The Sandbox have been valued at more than 400,000 euros. Real estate speculation would also be one of the first motivations for investing in this virtual world.
In France, Carrefour, Casino Group or Axa France also have their place in the Sandbox. “We have acquired an area equivalent to 30 supermarkets in Metaversen, said Carrefour in a press release, without actually specifying what it intended to do with it. A “meta-supermarket”? Not so sure, “the metaverse is not necessarily a copy-paste of the physical world”, says a spokesman for the brand. Carrefour could organize “events or product launches”can we read in Le Figaro. After all, anyone can reinvent themselves in the metaverse.
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