“HyperPay Focus” section 21: Demystifying the “Behind-the-Scenes” of the Blockchain Game and NFT Boom

“HyperPay Focus” section 21 AMA was held on September 23rd at 15: 30 (UTC+8) in HyperPay Official Telegram(https://t.me/HyperPay_En). The theme of the special session is “ Into the Metaverse(3rd phase): Demystifying the ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ of the Blockchain Game and NFT Boom”. HyperPay invited Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands, Sebastien Borget, the COO&Co-Founder of The Sandbox, and Bozena Rezab, Co-Founder&CEO of GAMEE to share their views.

The Following is the Content of AMA

Robby Yung: Animocabrands is a global game studio and leader in the field of blockchain gaming. We are best known for products like F1 Deltatime, the Sandbox, Gamee, and Quidd. We are also an active strategic investor in the ecosystem and have invested in around 100 companies.

Sebastien Borget: The Sandbox is a virtual gaming metaverse where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences on LAND they own using NFTs and $SAND, the platform’s main utility token. $SAND serves as the basis of transactions and interactions, enabling players to play, own, govern, trade, and earn.

The game world is fully 3D with a distinct voxel art style that looks fun and colorful while making asset creation intuitive. This allows creators to easily share and monetize voxel assets and gaming experiences on the blockchain. Additionally, the LANDS that support virtual experiences have a fixed location on a map, and players can walk from one LAND to the next, making LAND location in the metaverse just as important as it is in physical real estate.

The Sandbox has been in development for four years now and is launching in phased rolled stages. This started with the release of the Creators tools in beta and is now approaching a public alpha for players, introducing a very first play-to-earn season. It combines user-generated content (UGC) with brand-generated content (BGC), centered around artists, creators, and players. Whether content is created by players or created in-house for brands, it is made using the game’s content creation tools. The tools consist of three main components: the VoxEdit NFT builder for building 3D voxel-based game ASSETS, a Marketplace for buying, sharing, and selling ASSETS, and the Game Maker tool for building complete game experiences without needing to write any code.

Some metrics underline the strength of The Sandbox creators economy:

  • Total All Time Volume of over $48M USD
  • Most expensive LAND sold for 3.5M $SAND in July 2021 (approx $850,000 usd)
  • $SAND is a Top 100 cryptocurrency according to CoinMarketCap; listed on 25+ global exchanges and with a $2B fully diluted market cap
  • Over 350,000+ Wallets created, 50% of them creating one for the first time
  • Over 10,000 LAND owners
  • 450 Artists and 54 studios are supported by The Sandbox Game Maker fund worldwide
  • Paid over 1,300,000 $SAND to Creators and have 285M SAND in our Foundation (equivalent to $250M as of August 2021)

We are pushing for new opportunities to new studios, who are also hiring themselves and bringing new talent to The Sandbox community.

Bozena Rezab: GAMEE is a play-to-earn gaming platform, that has attracted 30 million users globally who played over 4.7 billion gameplays. We started working with the team back in 2015 and launched over 80 casual style games. This year, we took the first step on introducing the value of blockchain to mainstream gamers, we launched our GMEE token and yesterday, we opened an initial phase of our new gaming product, that is powered by our GMEE token as in game currency and soon will showcase blockchain based game characters.

Sebastien Borget: You’ve probably heard of metaverse from large companies such as Facebook, Roblox, or Epic’s Fortnite. These are centralized metaverses where all user data is hosted and owned by the company operating the platform and this data cannot be transferred. On the opposite side, there are now emerging actors such as The Sandbox NFT-based virtual gaming world that are decentralized and open. These self-sovereign platforms allow their users to truly own their identity, their game assets, and their currency.

The paradigm shift behind this change is the new, revelatory proof of authorship (who made an item) and proof of ownership (who owns it), made possible by non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology. This makes it finally possible to establish the primitive for the trading of digital assets and hence kickstart a digital economy where assets and services can be valued, held in custody, traded, and monetized.

With NFTs, anything a person buys actually belongs to them. Each asset is uniquely identifiable, can have a limited, provable number of copies, and can be transferred between users — without asking or requiring permission from the developer.

One of the unique aspects of The Sandbox is that it is not just a gallery of games, such as the Apple Store or Steam store. Instead, it is a virtual world that you enter using the same 3D avatar to play across all the different games and experiences. And as you walk with your avatar to the borders of one LAND, you can walk to an adjoining LAND. This makes the location of a game experience similar to real world real estate — location is key to attracting visitors, alongside the quality of the entertainment experience. When you think of the finite, physical layout of The Sandbox map as a virtual Manhattan, suddenly, who your neighbors are becomes important. For instance, if your LAND is next to a celebrity such as the Winklevoss brothers, who own LAND in The Sandbox, it can appreciate in value because of higher foot traffic and higher perceived prestige.

NFTs are changing the way we live, work, create, play, and earn in virtual worlds, empowering players, creating value — and new jobs — in the metaverse. In this era of new possibilities, The Sandbox is emerging as the main NFT-based, open metaverse, where all the content, the economy and even the governance of our virtual world will be in the hands of the players, creators, and users who contribute to this world.

Bozena Rezab: I see the metaverse as experiential reality, where one of the experiences can be playing games. The link here is real ownership of digital assets, such as visual representation of your avatar, its items, that become game characters.

Robby Yung: The biggest challenge for right now is that most of the games in the market still don’t have the level of visual quality or fast action that many players have come to expect from console and mobile games. But this is because we are still very early in the development of this new category of games. Next year will bring some amazing new products.

Sebastien Borget: We believe millions of players are interested in exploring the benefits of decentralization, interoperability, and a creators’ ecosystem. Our vision of The Sandbox is about creating a gaming platform to bring creators and gamers together in a persistent virtual world with minimal barriers to entry. We strongly believe that moving virtual goods to NFTs helps both creators and players to get value from their engagement with things they love. Our goal is to maximize those benefits while only using blockchain technology in the most efficient manner possible to protect the rights of creators and the security of the ecosystem.

With The Sandbox, we have put a lot of effort to bring IP and brands into adoption NFTs, including recently announced The Walking Dead, family friendly licenses such as The Smurfs, Care Bears, Shaun the Sheep, Atari, and Roller Coaster Tycoon. Sports clubs and leagues, music artists, celebrities, and Hollywood series are the next step, and we have plans in all those areas.

All the owners of an NFT collection are also stakeholders of the success of the platform on which these NFTs originated. In The Sandbox, for example, you are an owner as a holder of $SAND and LAND tokens. As the platform earns more revenue, you can earn more revenue.

You can earn a unique piece of LAND NFT that constitutes part of the Metaverse and use it to monetize your games or content.

The Sandbox is constructed to be an inclusive global community with broad appeal. We are creating an appealing gaming metaverse that aims at attracting all types of people: young and old players, casual and pro gamers, newbie creators and professional artists. We have a global presence and our local communities are growing as we speak; Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Turkish, Vietnamese, Spanish, Indonesian, French, Thai, Filipino, Italian and more! We are constantly growing and reaching players in new markets.

We’re also working on establishing best practises for user-experience on the blockchain, having co-created the ERC-1155 standard for NFTs to make it more efficient to create and transfer millions of game items. We’re also now integrating also with layer 2 solution to facilitate even faster transfers of tokens and NFTs on our marketplace, with the extended technical support required by a project as complex as The Sandbox.

Finally, we should not forget about user retention. You can come once to the Metaverse, but what will make you keep coming back? Making a game that is fun, visually appealing and has good mechanics so you want to stay and keep playing it for a long time is our priority. So we need to build in the come-back design strategies through the meta-gameplay, the liveops, events, and activities in our virtual world.

Bozena Rezab: I think the main challenge is to use the power of the technology without losing the ease and fun. People do not come to play a game because of how it is built or what type of tech it uses, but because they enjoy the gameplay. We should not forget that, while figuring out how the power of blockchain will shape the future of gaming.

Robby Yung: I think that, in five years, we will look back and wonder why we made a big deal about blockchain. By then, every game will be a blockchain game!

Sebastien Borget: Recently, the rise of NFT Avatar collections by CryptoPunks, Meebits, Bored Ape Yacht Club, CyberKongz, Gutter Cat Gang, Cool Cat, etc. represent steps toward this.

Many of these NFT Avatar Collections own LANDS in The Sandbox: https://twitter.com/borgetsebastien/status/1422819500513185793?s=20

The Avatar collections find additional utility for their NFT holders within our gaming virtual world. Through the interoperability of NFTs, they will be able to turn 2D collectible image NFTs into 3D playable avatars that are animated, can run, jump, socialize, play games, and interact with their other peer Avatars in The Sandbox.

This is a mutually beneficial relationship as we increase the engagement of their community and provide a whole context for them to come to life in the Metaverse.

A first example of an in-progress advanced interoperability bridge has been illustrated with the recent launch of the CyberKongz VX collection.

Bozena Rezab: We should expect new game economies and game genres being built and experimented with, as we see increased adoption of blockchain games. What we see now is just a beginning and I especially excited about the creative possibilities that are opening up.

We are strong supporters of an open metaverse — a multi-chain ecosystem where companies work together to allow interoperability between their NFT’s. We think that openness is the key to the success of our industry.

We launched REVV Racing last month, and it adds another game to the REVV ecosystem. This is the first blockchain racing game to offer realistic simulation.

You can use REVV across F1 Deltatime, MotoGP Ignition, Formula-e High Voltage, and REVV Racing, as well as our partners like Cryptomotors. It’s a token for anyone who loves cars and motorsports.

The Sandbox is a global community for players, virtual artists, and creators.

We strongly believe that culture, whether games, music, visual arts, will be one of the pillars of the open crypto #metaverse.

We don’t just build and sell. We invest and help build the ecosystem.

Chinese-made NFT project — Rivermen owns LANDS in The Sandbox and starts working with many LAND owners, DAO, etc. We are looking forward to seeing their creations in The Sandbox Metaverse.

The Sandbox holds a number of Rivermen NFTs alongside the 350+ unique NFTs in our collection.

And, Bored Ape #3749 aka “The Captain” is a perfect example of why NFTs are the intersection of scarcity, art, and gaming.

A six trait gold fur ape with a sea captain’s hat, a black t-shirt, and of course laser eyes.

Based on these traits, Bored Ape #3749 is the 27th rarest ape.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1435346842468896776

But he’s not alone…

We truly believe in every NFT community project as the biggest creative revolution and changing culture including fashion, art, gaming, entertainment.

The estimated net worth of The Sandbox NFT Collection is 3,880 ETH ($13M USD) as of September 2021.

Our NFT Collection currently holds 350+ unique NFTs ranging from Crypto Art, Gaming NFTs, Avatar Collections, Fashion, Music, Social, Fashion, and many others.

What is next…

We’re planning to continue increasing our #NFT Collection.

We have the capacity to increase the utility of the NFTs we are collecting through the experiences and games published into the virtual lands.

As the first step, starting recently, we are opening a NFT curator academy to help Land Owner to build their own NFT galleries inside The Sandbox open #metaverse.

If you want to help build the next chapter of The Sandbox together, apply here: https://t.co/ZrxJaIo9Ak?amp=1

We are a blockchain native virtual world where anyone can import, play, interact, and create their own NFTs. We are building a completely new way to play and create for gamers, where they can create, store, and trade value on multiple levels based on their profile as an artist, player, LAND or SAND owner. We are the first gaming NFT metaverse using Interoperability, Ownership (LAND, AVATAR), Governance (DAO), and Play-to-Earn to empower players and creators.

Let’s break down these elements so we can examine each one.

(1) Gaming Virtual World

Our team has over 10 years of experience in creating long-lasting games that have engaged users over many years. We understand that we should first build a product that will be fun to use and create engagement, where users will want to come back.

Rather than just a gallery of games, such as the Apple Store or Steam store, The Sandbox is a virtual world that you enter using your 3D avatar and play across all the different games and experiences. And as you walk with your avatar to the borders of one LAND, you can walk to an adjoining LAND. This makes the location of a game experience similar to real world real estate — location is key to attracting visitors, alongside the quality of the entertainment experience. When you think of the finite, physical layout of The Sandbox map as a virtual Manhattan, suddenly, who your neighbors are becomes important.

For instance, if your LAND is next to a celebrity such as the Winklevoss brothers, who own LAND in The Sandbox, it can appreciate in value because of higher foot traffic and higher perceived prestige.

(2) Play-to-Earn

In The Sandbox, players will be able to use the play-to-earn model to turn time spent in the game collecting various resources into a valuable resource for creators and landowners in the metaverse. Play-to-earn creates a circular economy where the resources collected by one category of the players are sold and purchased by another category of player or creator.

This is the underlying idea of play-to-earn. As a player, you can transform your play time into an activity that can generate potential revenue for you. Your play time can become a job while also providing entertainment value.

Now that some players are earning money by farming resources and entering the play-to-earn loop, a whole new category of jobs can actually appear in the virtual world. Here are some examples of potential jobs in the metaverse, encompassing players, creators, and even services such as selling virtual real estate:

  • Resource Collector/Farmer: Collect specific valuable in-game resources as NFTs that can be exchanged on the marketplace
  • Virtual Architect: Create the scenery and environment of experiences, placing buildings and landscapes
  • Curator: Discover, review, and select content other players will find enjoyable
  • Virtual Real Estate Agent: Operate as a broker connecting buyers and sellers for virtual LAND NFTs
  • Event Planner: Organize and promote activities and events, recruiting players to virtually attend

In addition, The Sandbox is designed to offer a united metaverse for creators and players, where everyone can connect and every creator is free to share, trade, or sell their 3D creations while retaining full ownership and getting all the revenue. As a gaming platform, it’s flexible enough to allow a single creator to make a simple, homemade game and powerful enough for an advanced creator or a gaming studio to make a full blown game experience — or a theme park, an art museum, virtual concert, an RPG world, or things as yet unimagined. We envisioned it as a decentralized, player-driven ecosystem with a creators’ economy that could allow people to make a living while having fun creating.

(3) IP and Brands are involved

We are bringing many diverse brands and IPs into The Sandbox, helping them to enter NFT for the first time. There are now over 165 brands including The Walking Dead, Deadmau5, Atari, Care Bears, and Smurfs. Brands are bringing culture into the metaverse by bridging the physical world and virtual world. When you enter a new land as an avatar, you will naturally be inclined to go visit a LAND from a brand you’re familiar with in the real world and there you’ll meet other people and start socializing.

Additionally, something unique with The Sandbox is you can get NFTs from the brands and use them to make your own stories, games, adventures, experiences and more and publish them in your LAND to monetize them, expanding the brand content with UGC. It’s a great win-win.

Through brands we are reaching 1 billion fans, who might first enter The Sandbox for a specific IP, but could stay to discover other games and experiences, and hence contribute to the growth and economy of our metaverse.

The Sandbox teamed up with Skybound Entertainment to bring The Walking Dead to their virtual world — Plus standalone characters and assets players can use to create original The Walking Dead adventures. Never before have fans had access to a customizable The Walking Dead experience like this.

As a first step to bring The Walking Dead into The Sandbox’s metaverse, the team will give users the possibility to get pieces of virtual real estate close to The Walking Dead’s spot in the metaverse, enabling fans and gamers alike to be as close as ever to their beloved brand.

Inside The Sandbox metaverse, the carefully integrated The Walking Dead game experience will encourage gamers to unite with friends and other players as they overcome the day-to-day requirements of surviving a walker-infested habitat: scavenging for food, gathering resources, building walls, nurturing relationships, making alliances and more. Through the power of The Sandbox, voxel versions of favourite The Walking Dead characters, such as Rick Grimes, Michonne, and the iconic walkers, can be combined with a horde of assets to allow users to recreate memorable comic book storylines to play through or to forge their own original adventures.

We have then organized 4 weeks of land sales which have sold out rapidly

Over 165 have been secured to date, including brands like The Walking Dead, Smurfs, Care Bears, dApp game studios like Dapper Labs (CryptoKitties), investors such as Square Enix (Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider), music artists such as Deadmau5, Richie Hawtin, and iconic game companies like Atari (Rollercoaster Tycoon, Pong), as well as metaverse-native brands with interoperability bridge to enable to play and interact with their 2D NFT avatars as 3D playable characters in our virtual world (Bored Apes, Crypto Punks, Cyberkongz VX, Gutter Cat Gang, etc.).

Overall, The Sandbox is experiencing tremendous growth with over 350,000 registered wallets, half of them creating a wallet for the first time and entering NFT space through The Sandbox. Our community of LAND owners has grown +200% since the beginning of the year and we continue to grow.

Player activity is related to the progressive phasing rolled out stage of The Sandbox and the fact we have been prioritizing a content-first approach — we’re only now offering players full experiences to play. Additionally, it is difficult to compare a mobile free-to-play audience and PC blockchain-based gaming.

Once LAND owners open their experiences and IP/Brands launch, we think there will be a network effect happening which will rapidly onboard more players.

We have seen many times in past that games that were played with friends or in a competition with other people had better results. Many people in our community met each other through playing our games, discussing strategies, upcoming launches. The community is what sets projects apart and we are very well aware of that. It is not just the game, but also the people who play it, that make part of the experience.

GMEE is a utility token, that utility token that is designed to be the currency of purchase, reward and action in supported play-to-earn games on our gaming platform. Check it out at token.gamee.com.

We have an upcoming gaming product, called Arc8. Imagine when mobile casual games meet esports and crypto. High-adrenaline, fun games, where you compete against other players, all based on your skill and rewarding your skill. Arc8 is now on Appstore and Google play for pre-order. See more details at arc8.gamee.com

“HyperPay Focus” is a high-end live dialogue column in the blockchain vertical field created by the HyperPay team. The column will invite industry leaders, KOLs, technology giants, potential and star projects to share industry hot spots, the latest technology, and market conditions. Pay attention to the focus of the industry and discuss the layout and future development of the industry.

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