The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, recently announced the unveiling of Lion City, a virtual Singapore neighborhood that paves the way for Web2 brands to embrace the metaverse.
The announcement was made at The Sandbox’s inaugural Singapore Partner Day event, held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on Jun 27, 2023. Lively and colourful, the partner event saw the participation of numerous brands, from metaverse consultants Renovi to video game developer iCandy, to lifestyle labels such as One Championship.
Naturally, the developers also took the opportunity to showcase their milestones to date; for example, DBS’s groundbreaking acquisition of 3×3 plot of virtual real estate in The Sandbox. Another highlight of the partner event was a special guest appearance by Clarence Chan and Joanne Tham, the first Singaporean couple to say “I do” in the metaverse.
The couple’s wedding took place in The Sandbox. The ceremony was hosted in a virtual replica of Singapore’s historical Alkaff Mansion.
- But What is The Sandbox? What is The Metaverse?
- 1. The Sandbox Is Like a Game, but It’s Way More Than That
- 2. It’s About the Sharing of Experiences
- 3. The Developers Made It Easy to Create and Share Experiences/Games
- 4. The Creation Process Can Be Shared
- 5. The Lion City
- The Sandbox’s Lion City Neighbourhood – The Next Big Thing for Singaporean Content Creators & Brands?
- About Animoca Brands
But What is The Sandbox? What is The Metaverse?
I attended the Singapore Partner Day event and truth be told, I was initially nervous. Worried that I’d make a fool of myself.
You see, while I’ve read different news coverage about The Sandbox, while I’ve read about the above-mentioned milestones, I had little idea what The Sandbox truly is. For that matter, neither would I be able to define the metaverse.
Not that I’m completely clueless about these tech developments; I do make it a point to read digital lifestyle writeups. Just that, there’s still a lot of ambiguity around, isn’t there? For example, is The Sandbox/metaverse a game, a MMORPG, a virtual marketplace of real-life brands, or some sort of elaborate 3D virtual showroom? What role does cryptocurrency play in such virtual worlds?
Are crypto coins the only “legal tender” currency in these digital realms? Are metaverses, The Sandbox included, all about buying virtual estates and making money through trading?
I had no clear idea. Didn’t help too that no online resource seems capable of giving a clear answer beyond the statement, it’s still in (exciting) development.
But nope, I didn’t embarrass myself, thank goodness; I actually ended up quite enjoying the energetic ambience. More importantly, listening to the interviews and discussions with The Sandbox Co-Founder & COO Sebastien Borget, and interacting with various representatives, gave me a much clearer idea of what this decentralized metaverse means for Singaporean brands and consumers. Hereby, let me just present what I feel to be the most salient points.
1. The Sandbox Is Like a Game, but It’s Way More Than That
Getting into The Sandbox, figuratively and literally, is easy. You don’t need any special equipment other than a computer. The process is very much like a game too although I must highlight again that this is not a game the likes of what you buy on Steam or the PlayStation network.
All you need to do is head over to https://www.sandbox.game/en/ and register for a free account. Once done, you can fuss over the creation of your avatar before checking out the NFT asset marketplace. (In other words, here’s where you can get started on NFTs too) You can also, of course, examine the map to see who’s already on board this metaverse.
Like traditional RPGs and MMOs, there’s a certain learning curve with everything. I’ll say you probably need to google for definitions and write-ups if you’re completely unfamiliar.
But it’s not rocket science and the fun is in discovery. The learning process could also help to define your purpose for joining this virtual space.
The Sand is the currency of The Sandbox; what you use to buy avatar enhancements, assets, etc. To trade with it, you do have to associate (connect) a crypto wallet and The Sandbox offers you several ways to do it. For example, via Coinbase.
I’ll be blunt. Creating a crypto wallet is also not rocket science but it does require a bit of know-how. (And patience for there could be a lot of steps and verifications) Most newbies would need to read up before commencing the procedure.
2. It’s About the Sharing of Experiences
The Sandbox focuses a lot on experiences, and I say this not just because of what I was told at the Singapore Partner Day event but also because the interface makes it obvious. The menu has a dedicated section for the creation of experiences.
What constitutes a great experience is hard to define, though. For the moment, the creation interface seems largely involved with games too.
Since non-gaming brands are on board The Sandbox, I presume said experiences would also eventually take on a content nature. They would still be “things to play,” so to speak, but the end objective would likely go way beyond pure virtual entertainment.
3. The Developers Made It Easy to Create and Share Experiences/Games
Here’s what attracted me most about this metaverse. What I also did right after creating my (hopefully funky) avatar.
You don’t need to know coding to create experiences in the virtual universe. You just need to download and install The Sandbox’s Game Maker app. To help you along, there are numerous templates within this application.
Like all such game-making software, it takes a while to learn the process, but I repeat, the fun is in the discovery. Naturally, said fun can lead to inspiration and creativity too.
4. The Creation Process Can Be Shared
Given the nature of The Sandbox, the creation process can be shared with other users, and through feedback and responses, becomes a community project. Such sharing has long been a trusted mechanism for growing brand loyalty and involvement. The dynamic interactivity created is also one that traditional content is unable to achieve.
5. The Lion City
The Lion City is conceptualised as a neighborhood of 512 virtual LANDs in a decentralized virtual world. It will showcase more than 30 different global and regional brands and IPs that represent Singapore’s culture through sports, fashion, entertainment, and technology alongside established Web3 natives.
Being a part of this environment is presumably beneficial to any business/content that stands on a Singaporean identity. The interactive environment also lays the premise for potential valuable collaborations.
The Sandbox’s Lion City Neighbourhood – The Next Big Thing for Singaporean Content Creators & Brands?
As a content creator very much still stuck in the old ways of doing things—posting articles, creating videos, etc—I’m deeply interested in the potential of the metaverse to create more engaging, immersive content. Not going to hide it, I’m constantly on the lookout for better ways of monetising too. These are the reasons why I visited the Singapore Partner Event.
Based on what I’ve discovered, The Sandbox indeed offers an attractive proposal. It facilitates easy content creation in a game-like environment that’s largely familiar to me and accessible to everyone. The creation of a Singaporean neighbourhood is undoubtedly attractive too as it prepares the groundwork for beneficial collaborations.
And while some might be sceptical, I feel The Sandbox’s ability to rope in major partners from different industries guarantees some level of publicity. Bluntly put, it strengthens legitimacy too.
On the other hand, the creation process requires certain financial outlay. Or should I say, the publication process isn’t free of financial commitment.
It’s free to create a Sandbox game/experience; the process is fun too. (I strongly encourage you to try your hand at it!) However, to allow others to play, you do need to own land. That involves money, or more accurately, cryptocurrency. Like real-world property ownership, the value of your property could fluctuate, on top of you being subjected to crypto exchange rate movements.
I’ve already briefly commented on the process of creating a crypto wallet to facilitate crypto purchases. Hereby, I remind that it’s an investment that’s not risk-free. It’s something that one must extensively read up about before any commitment.
Here’s the elephant in the room too. The Sandbox is ultimately still in development, although the developers are looking at granting access to all creators by Q3 2023. What metaverses should or should not be would itself be a question with no clear answer for at least a while more. There is thus no complete assurance of whether this virtual universe would indeed be the next big thing.
But, the word “investment” is the operative word here, isn’t it? Do you believe enough in this tech to commit? Do you, as a content creator, want to be a part of a new process, with all ups and downs, before fruits present themselves?
I’m tempted to step in, to be honest. Outside of revenue earning, better monetization of content, etc., I guess I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit to be a part of a vibrant virtual Singaporean community too. Perhaps it could eventually evolve into an entity resembling Ernest Cline’s OASIS in more ways than just concept?
That would be marvellous, wouldn’t it? But to only join at that point would be to miss out on real growth.
About Animoca Brands
I’ll just leave the following here, in case you want to know more about the company behind The Sandbox.
Animoca Brands, a Deloitte Tech Fast winner, a Fortune Crypto 40 company, and one of the Financial Times’ High Growth Companies Asia-Pacific 2023, is a leader in digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification that is working to advance digital property rights and contribute to the establishment of the open metaverse. The company develops and publishes a broad portfolio of products including original games such as The Sandbox, Phantom Galaxies, Life Beyond, Crazy Kings, and Crazy Defense Heroes, and products utilizing popular intellectual properties including Disney, WWE, Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Formula E. It has multiple subsidiaries, including The Sandbox, Blowfish Studios, Quidd, GAMEE, nWay, Pixowl, Forj, Lympo, Animoca Brands Japan, Grease Monkey Games, Eden Games, Life Beyond Studios, Notre Game, TinyTap, Be., PIXELYNX, and WePlay Media. Animoca Brands has a growing portfolio of over 450 Web3 investments, including Colossal, Axie Infinity, OpenSea, Dapper Labs (NBA Top Shot), Yield Guild Games, Harmony, Alien Worlds, Star Atlas, and others. For more information visit www.animocabrands.com or follow on Twitter or Facebook.