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The Sandbox, a division of Animoca Brands, has been toiling for years to create its own metaverse. And even while it is still in testing, the virtual world now has more than two million registered users and is launching Alpha Season 2.
The current build of The Sandbox, dubbed Alpha Season 2, opens today and it will feature a wide variety of showcases that companies have been building on their virtual land in The Sandbox’s blocky version of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
The Sandbox is a lot like the user-generated content worlds of Roblox and Minecraft, but the core underpinnings of The Sandbox are built on blockchain technology and nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which use the transparent and secure digital ledger of blockchain to authenticate unique digital items. In this world, players and creators can own their stuff.
And The Sandbox has had great success getting brands like The Walking Dead, Snoop Dogg, and Atari to buy their own virtual land in the world. Sebastien Borget, cofounder of The Sandbox, said in a briefing that they are building various games in the world, including platformers, racing games, and role-playing games.
The Sandbox has been signing up registered users for 13 months, and it has taken that long to get to two million registered users. Later this year, the world is expected to launch.
The Sandbox Alpha Season 2 will welcome all registered users, including those who sign up during the four-week event, with free access to more than 35 solo and multiplayer experiences including Snoop Dogg’s Foreplay, a sneak peek at the rap legend’s Snoopverse; and Hong Kong’s Star Ferry Pier, a time-traveling tour of the city’s famous pier brought to life by the South China Morning Post’s historic archive.
Mac users can now participate alongside PC players. Experiences will be introduced each weekday, including upgraded versions of content introduced in Season 1, new original experiences including a fashion show event, new tracks from DJ and entertainer Blond:ish to keep the crowd dancing in Club XYZ, and a new transportation hub.
I got a tour of the various worlds under construction, and I was quite impressed with the variety of experiences in the works in the blocky world.
Through play-to-earn, players can complete more than 200 gameplay quests to earn raffle tickets that offer a chance to win a Season 2 Alpha Pass for free. A total of 10,000 Season 2 Alpha Passes are available, each of which grants a chance to win up to 1,000 $SAND rewards (based on The Sandbox’s tokens).
Four new titles supported by The Sandbox Game Maker Fund, established to support independent game developers, are included in Alpha Season 2. More experiences are in development, as the Game Maker Fund is funding deeper and richer games in multiple categories ranging from platform games to RPGs to racing and social experiences. A sneak peek at some of the Game Maker-funded experiences can be seen here.
“The Sandbox is making strong progress in hinting at the possibilities of the Metaverse – open, fun, culturally rich, avatar-centric, story-driven activities supporting women, diversity, art, fashion, lifestyle, and more – as Alpha Season 2 begins, with our team, the community, and our partners creating exciting new content to support our two million users,” said Borget, chief operating officer of The Sandbox. “Alpha Season 2 will build on the success of the first Alpha Season, which attracted over 200,000 visitors, earned 90% positive feedback, and distributed over five million $SAND.”
Part virtual real estate, part amusement park, The Sandbox fully embraces the idea of the metaverse as a continuous shared digital space. Brands setting their outposts in the world include Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, The Rabbids, Gucci Vault, Adidas, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Richie Hawtin, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, Zepeto, CryptoKitties, and more.
Borget said that approximately 70 games are in active production now, with new games being onboarded every week.
“We will have more games that we can show you later in other seasons,” Borget said. “The ones we have selected for now are pretty awesome.”
He added, “This is a way to express your creativity and show your passion for video games.”
All told, 19,000 users own land, and many thousands of artists are working on those lands. The company will show off more things at the Game Developers Conference later in March.
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