As one of the leading figures in the metaverse, The Sandbox attracts the attention of many companies that want their space in this virtual universe. Portrait.
Founded in 2011 by Frenchmen Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget, The Sandbox hasn’t always been a 3D world tied to blockchain and NFT. If the first version was already a success, the transition to the metaverse and these technologies began a meteoric rise for the company.
In the beginning, a 2D game on PC and mobile devices
The title, The Sandbox, refers to the genre itself at the beginning: the “sandbox”, meaning the player has access to the resources to create what he wants in the game and to share his creations with others. Another well-known example of a sandbox game is the hugely popular Minecraft. In The Sandbox, players could then create small universes and 2D games thanks to the many decorative elements and characters already included. The success is resounding: since 2011 the franchise has totaled 40 million downloads and more than 70 million creations.
What started The Sandbox’s transition to the metaverse was the announcement of Meta’s huge investment in this parallel universe, but also and above all its acquisition by the Hong Kong company Animoca Brands, specialized in blockchain. In an interview for Forbes, Sébastien Borget explains the reason for this change: “We realized it’s hard to keep a player on time just by relying on the creators’ promise of recognition. Furthermore, 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 made it possible to purchase products via NFT. So we tested this technology to allow our creators to monetize the content they create. “
Virtual experiences without the need to know how to program
Concretely, The Sandbox now provides several tools to create 3D virtual objects and experiences without the need to know how to program: the VoxEdit, to create objects, and the Game Maker which, as the name suggests, allows you to create games for free. 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 therefore presents itself as a vast 3D world in which users can not only enjoy virtual experiences – Gartner predicts that 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026 – but also buy or rent virtual real estate using cryptocurrency to do what they want with it, including monetizing the content they create on the platform using NFT. An opportunity that more than 200 brands have wanted to seize: Warner Music, for example, has entered into a partnership for a musical amusement park and Adidas, which has purchased 1.6 million euros of virtual properties on the platform, offers accessories in NFT. Other initiatives are more incongruous, such as the purchase of land by supermarkets such as Carrefour or by insurers.
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 for the majority to 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 around 70% of The Sandbox lots have been sold. And prices have already started to rise according to neighbors: the land next to rapper Snoop Dogg’s virtual mansion was valued at over $ 400,000. Incredible but true.