The Sandbox: An Update

While I have mentioned The Sandbox before on this blog, I decided that it was high time to write an update about the hot new blockchain-based, voxel-themed virtual world, which has attracted such intense interest and speculation, even before the doors open to the general public!

Here’s a teaser trailer from last year, which gives an overview of what The Sandbox is all about:

According to an introductory article written in June 2020, The Sandbox started as a mobile game:

The Sandbox is best known for its two smash mobile hits The Sandbox (2011) and The Sandbox Evolution (2016), which combined generated 40 million downloads across iOS and Android. In 2018, developer/Publisher Pixowl decided to bring this successful User Generated Content gaming IP and large community of creators from mobile to the blockchain ecosystem. The goal: disrupt existing game makers like Minecraft and Roblox by providing creators with true ownership of their creations as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and reward them for their participation in the ecosystem.

The Sandbox also made deadlines in December 2021 when Republic Realm spent approximately US$4.3 million worth of land on the platform, setting a record for the most expensive land sale in the metaverse (more about Republic Realm here). In much the same way as Decentraland did before it, cryptospeculators have feverishly bid up the prices of virtual plots of land to unheard-of levels. At present, the average price of virtual plots of land in The Sandbox has hovered around US$11,000:

What’s even more eyebrow-raising is that, in the past week, almost ten million dollars (U.S.) worth of virtual property has changed hands—and all this before an official launch of The Sandbox! The previously-mentioned Republic Realm shared the following infographic in a recent blogpost, showing just how the value of recent sales in The Sandbox far, far outstrips that of other, already-launched blockchain-based competitors such as Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space:

So, what is it about The Sandbox that people are falling all over themselves in bidding wars for virtual property? Well, on their website, the company describes their product as follows:

The Sandbox is a virtual Metaverse where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences. We empower artists, creators, and players to build the platform they’ve always envisioned, providing them with the means to unleash their creativity.

The Sandbox, in addition to its NFT-based virtual land, has a cryptocurrency called (of course!) SAND, which you can use to buy and sell assets on their Marketplace, such as voxel sneakers for your avatar:

Among the partners participating in The Sandbox (and presumably selling officially branded merch you can’t get anywhere else!) are Adidas, Atari, deadmau5, Snoop Dogg, the Smurfs (?!), the Care Bears (?!?!??), and the zombie franchise The Walking Dead. Looks like somebody at the company building The Sandbox has been quite busy on the marketing, sponsorships, and partnerships front, people!

The Sandbox also seems to be positioning itself as a Roblox and Minecraft competitor, in that it boasts a Game Maker, which allows users to create their own games on the platform without needing to know how to code:

Another key component of The Sandbox is a downloadable program called VoxEdit. which “allows you to create, rig, and animate your own voxel-based NFTs” and “sell them on The Sandbox’s marketplace”:

VoxEdit appears to be a modeler, editor, and NFT minter program all in one, and the website states that VoxEdit is the only software capable of exporting assets to The Sandbox’s NFT Marketplace. So The Sandbox, while embracing blockchain-based technology, also appears to have some aspects of what Lars Doucet would call a “company town” model, similar to Roblox (somebody can correct me if I’m wrong, but that would appear to be the case here).

As I mentioned earlier, The Sandbox is not open to the general public yet. They recently concluded a first closed alpha test, with a limited group of alpha testers, and apparently, they are planning a second alpha test (“Alpha Season 2”) sometime in the near future:

All in all, The Sandbox seems to have done a masterful job of promotion and marketing. They have successfully generated a level of hype that I have not witnessed in the blockchain-based virtual world space since Decentraland raised millions of dollars in its epic ICO!

If you are intrigued and want to learn more about The Sandbox, you can visit their website, join their Discord or Telegram, ir follow them on various social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Medium, Twitch, and YouTube.

P.S. As I expect I will be writing more about The Sandbox in future, I have decided to create a new blog category called The Sandbox, and go back and add this new category to all the older blogposts where I mentioned the platform.

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