Well before Facebook – indeed: before Meta – there were already those who worked on the construction of a Metaverse. So much so that while Zuckerberg presents a distant, nuanced and still not very consistent idea, there is another ecosystem that paws, ready to welcome its first inhabitants. We are talking about The Sandbox, which just today opens its gates to the lucky owners of an access to the Alpha version of The Sandbox.
It is a first step towards official launch in 2022, but which already testifies to the extreme concreteness of the project. In what we could define a new gold rush, where the frontier is not the wild west but the virtual Land of this fantastic world, many giants have already set foot on The Sandbox: Atari, to stay in the videogame field, Skybound Entertainment with The Walking Dead, Adidas (to learn more here are all the details on the collaboration between Adidas and The Sandbox) and even rapper Snoop Dogg, all interested in building their own experiences within a digital universe.
The fascinating aspect of The Sandbox is that the idea of Metaverso, that of a place to live a completely simulated life, combines the values of web 3.0, that is, those of a completely decentralized network, in which users hold the reins. of the economic system and actively contribute to the decision-making and production aspects. In conclusion, The Sandbox is not only an economic opportunity for players and companies, but also a first look at what the internet of the future will be like. To better tell us about this vision, we interviewed Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of the software house that is building The Sandbox.
Anticipating tomorrow (in 2018 …)
“We can truly call ourselves pioneers in this area, since we have been working on it since 2018, well before the Metaverse concept was so talked about and Blockchain-based gaming had a concrete use“. Sebastien claims
immediately the priority of an idea in development for the past three years, a bet placed in unsuspecting times, and with admirable intentions. “At the time we decided to recover the hugely popular The Sandbox franchise on Mobile and transform it into a virtual and decentralized world. The impetus for this decision came precisely from the desire to protect the players and their creativity. In its original version, on smartphones, the Sandbox was downloaded by over 40 million people and 17 million players used the game tools to create models and objects. In fact, part of the success of the product also depended on these creations, but the tools to recognize the right value to the talents who built them have always been lacking. By creating a Blockchain-based Metaverse we will have the opportunity to reward those who help shape and enlarge our world; the fact that a market can form where users can sell their creations will be an even greater incentive to discover The Sandbox and actively participate “.
For those who do not have a specific knowledge of IT or financial instruments, it is not easy to understand exactly the implications of a videogame based on Blockchain. Simplifying as much as possible, just know that it is a system with which to manage the circulation of a virtual currency, in this case the SAND: they are digital coins that exist independently of the game, have a value that fluctuates according to the market, but which will find a practical use in The Sandbox. A kind of financial evolution of the concept of currency in-game.
“Within the ecosystem, our SAND Token functions primarily as a currency of exchange”, says Sebastien: “it allows us to buy items, equipment, NFT and LAND, or the territories in which to build gaming experiences. Some creators may require a payment in SAND to grant access to the experiences they have prepared. Like all games on Blockchain there will be an aspect related to DeFi, Decentralized Finance, which will allow you to “block” the SANDs for a certain period of time in order to accumulate interest. Over the next year we will also add a Governance function and users will therefore be able to vote, in proportion to the number of SANDs they possess, proposals and resolutions for the management of the world, thus having a direct influence on the development and balances of the Metaverse. The Sandbox will practically become a digital nation“.
Building a new frontier
One of the principles of web 3.0 is precisely to create a more democratic network, in which the management of wealth and decision-making power are no longer the exclusive prerogative of closed and controlled organizations, but of all users. It is fascinating that one of the first applications to extensively test this concept, speaking to a less specialized audience than Bitcoin and Crypto enthusiasts, does so using the language, aesthetics and structure of a video game. But how exactly does The Sandbox work, what do you do once you enter this world?
“The world of The Sandbox is made up of a series of LANDs, plots of land that can be bought, or rented. Within the LANDs, owners will be able to create experiences of all kinds, thanks to simplified development tools and editors for building 3D models. With the Game Maker you can add objectives, victory conditions, enemies and missions, and actually create your own video game. Or it will be possible to use the LANDs to build social spaces where you can meet other players, organize concerts, art galleries to exhibit your NFTs “. The Sandbox, in short, does not want to give itself limits, because “The Metaverse cannot ignore variety, involvement, interaction. Basically it is about a parallel digital universe, thanks to which social potentials and relationships are amplified, new, unprecedented, experimental experiences are made“.
One wonders if the presence of a financial system and practically integral creative freedom cannot represent a stumbling block for the spread of the Metaverse, frightening parents and younger players. Even on this
When you look at the tools granted to users, however, the most interesting aspect is related to creativity and – why not? – even teaching. The Sandbox tools will allow a young generation of creatives to metabolize concepts of game design, development and programming, aesthetics, and in short, to develop extremely important skills in such a digital, virtualized and interconnected age. “Who knows that the advent of the Metaversi does not also create new job opportunities.
The numbers of The SandboxThe Alpha will be available from November 29th through December 20th. Initially The Sandbox will be accessible on PC, but the game will also land on other platforms, for example on mobile, in 2022. The accounts created in this phase, even before the start, are already 800 thousand and the growth is unstoppable: the team aims to reach one million users by the end of the year and 10 million by 2022.
The presence of an underlying economic system can transform the daily commitment in The Sandbox into a job: to create the world we will need architects who have a specialized knowledge of 3D environments, to sculpt the gaming experiences we will need Game Designers. In the most famous and popular LANDs, a community manager could manage the public, and an artist who wants to make his NFTs known might need an agent or a digital art expert “. For Sebastien, the potential of the Metaverse is truly infinite. There are still many elements to check before being able to give a concrete judgment on The Sandbox and on the quality of the experiences it will offer to the public. The “Minecraft” aesthetic, abundantly metabolized by the audience of gamers, can certainly help spread the Metaverse of The Sandbox, which will still have to contend with fierce competition. From Decentraland to Star Atlas many ecosystems are being born or are being structured in this period.
Sebastien is confident in the team’s vision: “There are many other platforms that claim the title of Metaverse, such as Facebook, Roblox, Fortnite. It is almost never really open and decentralized Metaversi. Their business model focuses on capturing and controlling user data, sometimes without their consent. These platforms do not reflect the values of web 3.0, which is voted to decentralize power, to give it back to users, to enhance them and not to exploit them.. The Sandbox is committed to creating another type of Metaverse, where players have full ownership of their assets, and real decision-making and economic opportunities. “.