Sebastien Borget: Building The Community-driven Metaverse
In this episode, I interview gaming industry entrepreneur Sebastien Borget. He’s the co-founder of The Sandbox, a decentralized gaming platform and NFT metaverse made by its’ players. Sebastien discusses his vision for the future and how his business is community-driven.
What is Sandbox?
- The Sandbox Franchise: Sebastien has been in gaming for 10 years. In 2011, he and his business partner took a game created by Animatrix and turned it into a user-generated content game. You could create characters, decorate your world, and share it in an online Gallery. It became a success and has had over 40 Million installs.
- User-created content: Over 70 Million items have been created and shared by the game’s users. The success of the game came from the content shared by these creators. From the first day, the goal was to find players and turn them into creators. They wanted to reward them for their contribution. Since 2017, they have explored blockchain and saw projects like CryptoKitties, and instead of creating a clone they decided to allow users to make their NFTs.
- A new version of Sandbox: This NFT project saw the birth of a new version of Sandbox. They used a multiplayer platform and combined it with blockchain technology. This allowed creators to own their NFT creations, trade them, monetize them, and build an economy.
“Through the different initiatives that we took at Sandbox – to bring IPs and brands into our virtual world, to facilitate the creation of the wallet, to build our own platform and facilitate the creation of NFTs with our NFT maker called VoxEdit, attracting a niche market audience of Voxel artists first, and then grow it to game creators – we have been able to convert some of those users.” (Timestamp: 7:05)
“People are understanding the benefits of blockchain and NFTs in general.” (Timestamp: 10:30)
User-generated content boom
- Industry boom: Sebastien says there is a boom in the space of user-generated content. Examples include games like Minecraft and Roblox. These companies recently did an IPO in the US. The creator’s economy has seen over 250 Million active users. These games have the capacity for kids to socialize and the industry has become popular globally.
- The Sandbox audience: At the moment, Sandbox has more than 200,000 registered accounts with a wallet. Half of them have created wallets for the first time with the Metamask. Sandbox facilitates wallet creation and NFT creation. It also brings IPs and brands into its metaverse. The audience is mostly adults 25 to 45.
- VoxEdit: Users of the platform can use Sandbox’s NFT maker, VoxEdit. This has attracted a niche audience of Voxel artists and game creators. Some creators are already familiar with Crypto, and many have discovered it through Sandbox. Creators participate in the creation of their world where they have their own currency and bank. They own their assets, identity, and lands.
A growing ecosystem
- Future goals: In the future, Sandbox wants to attract people from the gamer audience to its platform and plans to allow people to convert their playtime into a revenue stream. They will also move to mobile phones and towards a younger audience.
- Creating an ecosystem: Sandbox is an ecosystem where anyone can build services, DAOs and use the assets. The space is an entire universe of games, DeFi, NFT rentals, and the market is growing. Sebastien believes it’s important to have a bit of friction that helps people understand they’re using a new kind of service.
- Web-free services: What does it mean to be web-free? It means having your bank and taking care of your cryptocurrency. What is a wallet? What is an exchange? Users have to do a bit of research to understand Sandbox. This education component is part of the experience.
Still in the pioneer phase
- Web-free services: Sandbox is still in the pioneering phase of its technology. The system is an ERC20 which means it runs on the Ethereum blockchain. In the near future, users will be able to participate in staking. The company doesn’t use code for its games. The process is drag-and-drop. You get your NFT, you play and interact with your NFTs.
- Giving NFTs a utility: Very few NFTs have real utility. You cannot create your own adventures or experience. Crypto art is mostly for collecting, looking at, and keeping in a wallet. It’s similar to sports collectibles. There is no real utility. With Sandbox NFTs, you can buy a sword and a character. You can play with it and put it into the land. You can create an entire adventure with enemies and fights.
- Monetizing potential: You can buy land and monetize it in the future by allowing others to use it. You can rent it to another creator. Sandbox plans to help people be creative about what they can do in the metaverse. If you won some SAND currency and stake it, you could win NFTs and tokens.
Supporting a creator economy
- Creating an NFT economy: Sandbox is more interested in supporting the creator economy and has had some from around the world. Sebastien has had users reach out and share their success from monetizing on Sandbox. The creator economy has had a real impact on people.
- The economy goes beyond transaction fees. You can earn revenue by playing games and selling the NFTs. You can earn money by charging fees to players who want to access certain areas, or you can sell your content as part of the experience. The NFTs creators sell can be used as tickets to access experiences and can be re-used. They acquire value over time.
- Tokenomics: When people make a purchase or transaction, Sandbox charges 5%. Half of those proceeds are re-invested into the metaverse development. They also incentivize creators, including celebrities, to bring in more experience. Land creation is limited to ensure the value of the world keeps growing. 50% of the map has already been sold.
Selling exclusive experiences
- Exclusive lands for sale: Sandbox is creating a new way to launch land sales and attract creators to virtual worlds. By bringing in celebrities and popular brands, Sandbox gives people a chance to purchase land next to them. Offering novelty and always having new content is a different way to operate than other platforms. Their recent launches have sold out quickly.
- Virtual experiences: The Sandbox is a 3D virtual world where you can experience games, stories, adventures, art galleries, virtual concerts, through your avatar. The avatar is an NFT that represents your identity. You can customize its look and feel. You can attach proof of location, proof of engagement, proof of experience participation to your avatar. This can incentivize others to want to make contact with you in the metaverse.
- Portability of NFTs: The vision is to be an open metaverse that allows play and interactions with NFTs as well as importing from outside of Sandbox. Cryptopunks and CryptoKitties will be able to integrate with the ecosystem. For example, they could become game characters. The goal is to help scale transactions and user experiences.
- Partnering with NFT creators: Sandbox is community-driven. They find and choose projects through the community and collaborate with creators. As a virtual world, it is the perfect place to play with Bored Ape. Your 2D images could become 3D and connect you with other Bored Ape owners.
- Virtual experiences: They are listening to what users want and trying to make it happen. They are also bringing in brands that people want to see. They are also bringing in popular crypto brands to create a fun and engaging mix.
- How to access Sandbox: People can go to Sandbox.game to access it. There, you can download some of the creator tools and join the community. The best way to engage with the project is to purchase an NFT or land. You can access it with your PC.