With the coming to the fore of web3, a buzzword that has been going around is 'Metaverse.' In video gaming, the progenitor who trailblazed the path for using the Metaverse concept was Second Life. Launched in 2003, the theme of Second Life was the creation of personal avatars and building a life around these avatars in the virtual world. Fast forward the sands of time by two decades, and we have The Sandbox. New players must sign up for an account and connect their ERC wallet to start playing the game. Next, its time to customize your avatar that you would be using to play the game. Once your avatar is ready, you can play the game by participating in various activities ranging from gaming, partying to shopping.
- Build, own, and monetize your in-game NFT assets in the virtual gaming world of The Sandbox.
- Customize your avatar in The Sandbox with outfits, hairstyles, and skin colors. Boost your avatar's attributes with wearables and equipment NFTs.
- Craft unique gaming experiences using The Sandbox's Game Maker tool to build 3D games. Earn $SAND tokens when other players play your games.
- Use your $SAND earnings for gaming at Atari's Sunnyvale, shopping at Gucci Vault Land, and partying at the Playboy MetaMansion.
- Can't get enough of The Sandbox Metaverse? Own a piece of it by buying Land NFTs using $SAND tokens.
When it first started in 2012, The Sandbox was conceptualized as an open mobile gaming platform that aimed to challenge the then highly popular Minecraft. In 2018, Arthur Madrid and Sebastien Borget, who are the co-founders of Pixowl Inc, i.e., the developer of The Sandbox decided to use blockchain. The decision to use the Ethereum network (though The Sandbox later migrated to the Polygon network in July 2022) led to the creation of a virtual gaming world. The idea was to use blockchain as a technological enabler that supports a virtual world where players can “build, own, and monetize” in-game assets.
Later, Arthur Madrid and Sebastien Borget incorporated the concept of Metaverse as part of their blockchain-based virtual world. This culminated in the launching of Season 1 of The Sandbox Alpha in November 2021. The Sandbox Alpha Seasons are multi-week testing events that allow players to test out different functions in The Sandbox Metaverse. As of January 2023, The Sandbox Alpha is into its Season 3.
The Sandbox Alpha Season 3 (Source: Sandbox.Game)(2) Venturing into The Sandbox Metaverse
Once you have signed up for an account and connected your wallet, it’s time to customize your avatar. The avatars in The Sandbox come with specific Attributes which define their abilities, such as Power, Defense, Speed, and Magic. In addition to creating a unique look by combining different outfits, hairstyles, and skin colors, you can further customize your avatar by equipping it with wearables and equipment NFTs, which could boost the Attributes of your avatar.
Customized Avatars in The Sandbox (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)
Once your avatar is set to go, there are a plethora of things that you can do in The Sandbox Metaverse. The items in The Sandbox Metaverse’s to-do list can be categorized into those that cater to creators and consumers.(a) For Creators
(i) Game Making
Using The Sandbox’s Game Maker tool, you can build 3D games for free and share them with others though you would need to have purchased or rented some LAND NFTs to publish your game onto. The use of the tool does not require any coding knowledge, thanks to its visual scripting interface. As of January 2023, The Sandbox Game Maker tool is currently in alpha testing phase.
The Sandbox Game Maker Tool (Source: Gamemaker.Sandbox.Game)
(ii) NFT Creating
Using The Sandbox’s VoxEdit tool, you can create ASSET NFTs, which you can sell on the game’s marketplace. The device comprises three components namely modeler, animator, and NFT maker. In essence, the modeler is for creating an NFT, and the animator is for rigging and animating the NFT, whereas the NFT maker is for monetizing the NFT. Do note that the uploading of ASSET NFTs for sale in The Sandbox Marketplace would require the expenditure of $SAND, the game’s utility token. As for the tool itself, it is free to use, but you would first need to register as an artist under the game’s Creator Fund.
VoxEdit (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)(b) For Consumers
(i) For the Video Gamers
You can check out Atari’s Sunnyvale if you are into video gaming. The Sandbox domain of the New York-based video game developer features nine of its classic games, including a complete game based on Crystal Castles. Sunnyvale forms part of the Atari X initiative, which aims to build “a robust blockchain ecosystem that intertwines gaming, community, and utility.”
Atari’s Sunnyvale (Source: Sandbox.Game)
At Sunnyvale, you could experience some of Atari’s feature games, such as Asteroids and Roller Coaster Tycoon, in full Metaverse mode. As The Sandbox’s Medium page explains, “This means that players in The Sandbox can play versions of Roller Coaster Tycoon or Asteroids with a 3D voxel look, creating an experience that is both familiar and new.” Additionally, video gamers can look forward to the upcoming Ragnarok LAND in The Sandbox Metaverse, which would host a Game Jam-themed Ragnarok universe and its characters.
Ragnarok Game Jam (Source: Medium.com/@TheSandbox)
(ii) For the Party People
If you are in party mode, you can check out the Playboy Party People collection. Launched in conjuction with Playboy’s 69th birthday, the collection features 1,969 NFT avatars with exclusive VIP access to the upcoming Playboy MetaMansion in The Sandbox Metaverse. The MetaMansion is set to feature a content library, life experiences through gaming and social events, Playboy’s talent, and an influencer network. Although all 1,969 Playboy NFT avatars have already been sold out, you still have a chance to enter the MetaMansion by buying one of these avatars from OpenSea.
Playboy Party People Collection (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)
(iii) For the Fashionistas
If haute culture is your thing, you can check out the Gucci Vault Land. The Vault is a digital concept store populated by rare vintage Gucci pieces. These pieces are digital collectibles that take the form of NFTs. Certain types of NFTs, such as SUPERGUCCI or Gucci Grail NFTs, come with Gucci Vault Aura collectibles that can be worn on their owner’s avatars in The Sandbox Metaverse.
Gucci Vault (Source: MPost.io)
(iv) For the Music Lovers
If the rhythm of techno beats gets you up and moving, you can join the electronic musicians' dynamic duo of Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman, and deadmau5 in The Sandbox Metaverse. Under a partnership brokered by Pixelnyx, another subsidiary of Animoca Brands, the team would host digital concerts in the Metaverse to provide fans with a music-themed augmented reality (AR) experience.
Richie Hawtin and deadmau5 (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)
(v) For the Travel Buffs
If traveling to Oriental destinations is an item on your bucket list, and Hong Kong is one of these destinations, you are in luck as The Sandbox Metaverse has just the thing for you. In The Sandbox’s Hong Kong Walker: Kowloon Walled City, you would venture into one of the iconic locations in Hong Kong back in the 1970s as “a debt-ridden gambler whose girlfriend was captured and brought into the sinned gutter. Lui’s creditors infest the City, and he (i.e., you) must navigate through them to get to the love of his (i.e., your) life.”
Hong Kong Walker: Kowloon Walled City (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)
If retro is not your kind of thing, you can take a virtual tour of modern-day Hong Kong by visiting The Sandbox Metaverse’s Mega City, which is set to be “a cultural hub based on or inspired by multiple Hong Kong talents…featuring the city’s actors, movies, music, entertainment, art, professional services, finance, real estate, and major gaming figures. This mosaic of diverse talents and success stories represents Hong Kong’s enduring vitality, technological advancement, and vibrant culture.”
Mega City (Source:AnimocaBrands.com)
(vi) For the Young at Heart
If you want to reconnect with your inner child, you can get a Smurf NFT avatar and check out the Smurf Village, which is the forest home of the Smurfs in The Sandbox Metaverse.
The Smurfs in Smurf Village (Source: AnimocaBrands.com)
Once you have enough of these little blue pals, you can get a Shaun the Sheep NFT avatar and flock to the Mossy Bottom Farm, where you can herd around with your sheepish peers. After sheeping around, you can get some tender loving care (TLC) by acquiring a Care Bears NFT avatar and indulging in some cuddly fun at the Virtual Care-a-Lot Kingdom.
Care Bears in Virtual Care-a-Lot Kingdom (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)
Besides these brands, there are about 700+ other partners in The Sandbox’s ecosystem, all of whom are tied together by the common goal of building a web3 decentralized virtual world in The Sandbox Metaverse.
The Sandbox’s Ecosystem (Source: Sandbox.Game)(2) Synthetic NFTs and Tokens (a) ASSET NFTs
ASSET NFTS are tokenized voxels of user-generated content (UGC) created using the VoxEdit tool for use in The Sandbox Metaverse. These NFTs serve as instruments through which players can interact with each other and with the environment in The Sandbox Metaverse as part of the content experience in the Metaverse. Additionally, ASSET NFTs are collectibles that can be monetized and traded on The Sandbox Marketplace using $SAND tokens or secondary marketplaces such as OpenSea and Rarible using $ETH tokens. According to The Sandbox’s GitBook, there are four types of ASSET NFTs, namely:
- Entities that are non-playable characters (NPCs) that bring life to The Sandbox Metaverse.
Entity NFTs (Source: Sandbox.GitBook.io)
- Equipment which are items in players’ inventories that can be equipped to facilitate the completion of games’ objectives.
Equipment NFTs (Source: Sandbox.GitBook.io)
- Wearables which are cosmetic items that change the look of players’ avatars to give them a uniquely distinctive look.
Wearable NFTs (Source: Sandbox.GitBook.io)
Art which are visual decorative items that provide the wow factor to games and experiences.
Blocks which are items that provide an element of realism to the surrounding environment.
The behavior parameters of the relevant NFT determine the possible actions available to players when interacting with ASSET NFTs. These behavior parameters can be configured using The Sandbox’s Game Maker tool.(b) $CATALYST Tokens
$CATALYSTs are tokens that determine the number of empty sockets in your ASSET NFTs. How it works is that by burning of $CATALYST tokens, it would add open sockets to your NFTs, which can then be filled with $GEM tokens for the endowment of attributes as described below. Four different tiers of $CATALYST tokens, i.e., Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary, have different numbers of $GEM sockets and attribute limits (i.e., 25 attributes per $GEM socket) and a maximum number of copies of the ASSET NFT, which determines the scarcity of the NFT.
Tiers of $CATALYST tokens (Source: SandboxGame.Gitbook.io)
According to The Sandbox’s GitBook, there are several methods to obtain $CATALYST tokens in the game’s Metaverse one of which is by staking $SAND tokens. As of January 2023, the GitBook reads, “more information on these methods will be released in the future.”(c) $GEM Tokens
$GEMs are tokens that define the attributes of ASSET NFTs. How it works is that the burning of $GEM tokens would endow the stats of ASSET NFTs with the relevant attributes. For example, burning a Power $GEM token would boost the Power stats of an ASSET NFT. The five types of $GEM tokens, i.e., Power, Defense, Speed, Magic, and Luck, correspond to the five attributes that an ASSET NFT can be endowed with.
Attribute Types of $GEM tokens (Source: SandboxGame.Gitbook.io)
$GEMs can be obtained by staking $SAND tokens or purchased from other players via The Sandbox Marketplace using these tokens.
LAND NFT is a tokenized representation of a parcel of real estate in The Sandbox Metaverse. Owners of LAND NFTs can build games or experiences on their land in the Metaverse and populate them with ASSET NFTs, which visitors can interact with. The value of LAND NFTs is warranted by their scarcity as the total supply of these NFTs is limited to 166,464. units
Besides the element of scarcity, the value of LAND NFTs depends on the location of its underlying land parcel(s) in the map of The Sandbox Metaverse. Land parcels in the Sandbox Metaverse can generally be divided into one of two types i.e. premium or regular lands.
The main difference is that premium lands are surrounded by significant partners and social hubs, thereby generating a high amount of traffic flow surrounding these lands. The high traffic flow surrounding premium lands gives their owners a more substantial potential for monetary income. This higher income is through increased receipts for pay-to-play games or experiences, the higher rental value of their lands, and increased advertising revenue from billboards placed on their lands.
Map of The Sandbox Metaverse as of January 2023 (Source: Sandbox.Game)
In terms of sizing, a single land parcel is represented by a Land NFT with the size of 1x1. Adjacent parcels of land can be combined into Estates. For example, the combination of three land parcels represented by three Land NFTs would result in a small Estate with nine lots of land with a combined size of 3x3. Other than small Estates, there are medium, large, and x-large estates with an increasing number of land parcels and mixed sizes.
Types of ESTATEs (Source: SandboxGame.Gitbook.io)
There are two ways to purchase LAND NFTs, namely through primary and secondary sales. For primary sales, you can buy LAND NFTs from The Sandbox LAND authorized sales which are usually announced a few weeks in advance before the actual date of the sales. The latest sale, codenamed The Galleria, held on 1 December 2022, resulted in the sales of 313 LAND NFTs with proceeds amounting to about USD450k worth of $SAND tokens.
The Galleria LAND Sale (Source: Medium.com/@The Sandbox)
The date for the next Sandbox LAND Sale, codenamed Voxel Madness which is scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of 2023 (Q1 2023), has yet to be confirmed as of January 2023.
In many ways, The Sandbox is the catalyst for gamification as an onboarding point to the Metaverse. Through its “build, own, and monetize” concept, The Sandbox effectively brings to life the Metaverse by combining user content creation, digital ownership and creator economy. These are achievable through the maturing of blockchain technology and emergence of NFT.
With its focus on immersive reality through playable games and experiences, The Sandbox Metaverse’s element of value creation stems from personalizing its users’ virtual adventures through customized interactions with UGC. As for the sustainability of its in-game economy, this is warranted by the circularity of $SAND through the allocation of half of the 5% of transaction fees of the token to the Foundation Fund to support The Sandbox’s ecosystem. As for LAND NFTs, their scarcity warrants the value retention and future growth for these NFTs.
The Sandbox’s customizable playability, coupled with its sustainable economy, renders the game’s Metaverse to be all set to outlast the sands of time in the digitized land.
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