“In the metaverse, gamers participate in the digital reinvention of brands”

Le Journal du Net is a partner in the Mastercard Innovation Forum 2022, scheduled for December 8 in Paris. Co-founder of the Web3 The Sandbox metaverse platform and guest at MIF 2022, Sébastien Borget reveals to JDN the keys to the relationship between brands and metaverse players.

JDN. You will be speaking on December 8 during a round table discussion entitled “Metaverse, fad or real opportunity for brands?”. I think I know your opinion as co-founder of The Sandbox. Explain to us why the metaverse isn’t just a fad?

Sébastien Borget, co-founder and CEO of The Sandbox. © Cyril Bruneau – The sandbox

Sebastien Borget. The Metaverse is a technological and social revolution that is here to stay, that is not tied to economic cycles, and that shows that users and brands are looking for new ways to have a more engaged and different relationship than the one Web2 has accustomed us to to it: in Web2, people watch a video on Instagram or Tik Tok for two to five seconds before moving on to the next one. The engagement rate is very low. What is the real value of a like, share or retweet for a brand? The Metaverse brings a more personal relationship with the customer.

How does the metaverse promote user engagement?

On Sandbox, people spend an average of twenty to thirty minutes in an experience being engaged by the completion of quests, activations. In addition, a platform like Sandbox is open: users participate in the digital reinvention of the brand in this space, they have access to official brand tools and, thanks to no-code tools, they can place them in their own country, expanding the presence of the brand and positioning it as even more creative and open. By using the possibilities of technology and opening up the community, the brand reinvents itself in the metaverse. This is especially the case with Adidas, Gucci, Nike with RTFKT, Warner Music with Snoop Dogg or Steve Aoki, The Smurfs, Rabbids.

Will the users stay in the metaverse?

In Season 1, 60% of people who started completed the entire Alpha season (public test phase of the game, editor’s note). In Season 3, we have 40% retention and people come back almost every day, so we create the behavior to educate people to re-enter the metaverse. We want these spaces to be alive and it is possible to constantly encounter players. According to our latest season 3 alpha metrics, we are at 39,000 daily players and 201,000 monthly players. We count a total of more than 1.6 million hours played and more than 4.1 million messages exchanged between players. Players feel emotions through their avatar: there are moments of fun together, social intimacy and that, without the need for VR or high-resolution graphics.

Is no code one of the keys to attract the user?

Initially, the metaverse is empty, it is a set of spaces to be built, and to make creation accessible to everyone, it is not generating a metaverse under Unreal (graphics engine, editor’s note), already very complicated for video game developers and which requires specific training that we will succeed. We want a fun, non-elitist metaverse. I think no code allows that. The masters of fun creation are Lego. It doesn’t get easier than creating with Legos. There is the digital Lego: Voxel. It is an art form. It can take the form of blocks like in Minecraft or others more advanced and thus offer granularity to artists, that’s very good and that’s what we’re developing with Sandbox.

Last July you told us that “people don’t come to shop in the metaverse”. How should a brand position itself in these universes?

A big brand recently communicated its first results on its sales in Roblox, it is very discreet, especially compared to the revenue it achieves on any other traditional platform. The reason is very simple: before we try to encourage the user to make purchases in the metaverse, let’s already teach him how to get there, and the buying behavior will come naturally. The commercial metaverse is not yet defined, nor is the business model that will prevail. There must be an audience. Sandbox plays an important role because we are one of the only UGC creative platforms (user-generated content, editorial note) in a virtual and interoperable 3D world, UGC and creativity are good leads for brands that want to reinvent themselves. Entering the metaverse for a brand shouldn’t just be a strategy based on KPIs and revenue. This will be refined later when patterns are found.

Sébastien Borget is the co-founder and COO of the decentralized metaverse The Sandbox, a virtual world where players can create, play, own, manage and monetize their experiences using NFTs & SAND, the platform’s main utility token. He also became chairman of the Blockchain Game Alliance in 2020, a non-profit organization with 300 key industry members. Before co-founding mobile game publisher Pixowl, he worked at Ipercast and Wixi.com. He graduated from Telecom SudParis.

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