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the virtual world of The Sandbox

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Metavers. The word has been in fashion since Facebook, renamed Meta, promised in October 2021 to produce a 100% virtual social experience where everyone can embody their own avatar and move, exchange, interact – and above all consume – in a parallel world.

→ EXPLANATION. What are the “metaverse”, these parallel worlds that Facebook wants to develop?

The announcement made a lot of noise. But a start-up was a few steps ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s company: The Sandbox, launched in 2018, is already working on creating a metaverse. The project is already valued at $5 billion. It took an important step this Thursday, March 3 with the launch of its second “alpha” version of the game, a non-final version temporarily accessible to users.

“The virtual world is empty: it’s up to the players to fill it”

But what is it really? “The Sandbox is a virtual gaming universe”, explained its co-founder the French Sébastien Borget on a YouTube channel dedicated to the world of cryptocurrencies.

→ INVESTIGATION. The metaverse, Silicon Valley’s new eldorado

The project, led by the Hong Kong studio Animoca, is actually a universe where it is possible to create and model everything. “The virtual world is empty: it’s up to the players to fill it”, explain to The cross Sebastien Borget. For this, The Sandbox provides users with 3D modeling tools accessible without special computer knowledge: it becomes possible to create the land of your dreams, an object, a figurine, a car… Whatever you want.

NFT and cryptocurrency wallet

Until then, everything is free. The matter quickly becomes complicated, however: each creation is backed by an NFT, literally “non-fungible token”, a digital title that certifies the authenticity and uniqueness of the object via the blockchain, a decentralized system. information security. It is up to the creator to determine its value. And so, any creation can potentially be sold. It then becomes essential to connect your account on The Sandbox to a cryptocurrency wallet, to enjoy the game.

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“Metaverse”: why large groups buy virtual real estate

Besides, if you can create the house of your dreams, you still have to set it up in The Sandbox, find land for it, just like in real life. The developers have planned everything. The virtual world is divided into 166,000 plots – their number will not change. To implement your creations, you must go to the checkout. Many companies have smelled interest and paid millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to acquire a plot: it is now difficult to find a piece of pixels for less than 12,000 dollars.

Attend a virtual Gucci fashion show

Never mind. Go to spaces owned by others. Some are shaping up to be upcoming games: the famous zombie simulation The Walking Dead has reserved a plot for himself which will be accessible at the end of 2022. There will also be cultural activities there: Snoop Dogg, the American rapper, has built himself a luxurious property in which he has already given virtual concerts. And soon we will also see parades there, where brands like Gucci will put on sale virtual collections for the avatars of onlookers from the other world. Each time, hundreds of players can connect simultaneously and interact via chat.

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→ MAINTENANCE. Facebook: “The metaverse is a new way to capture attention”

To access these experiences, remember to bring a ticket – certainly virtual, but the purchase of which will be debited from your bank account. The interest of this expense? “Take the example of Snoop Dogg: 10,000 avatars bearing his likeness have been sold. This makes it possible to offer unique content, specific to the universe of each brand and each celebrity. Is it valuable for the fans? Yes, they will be able to visit his house, embody him when they play… This is not possible in the real world. »

Speculation

A player remuneration system is integrated into the platform. The different “experiments” and plots allow you to embark on quests. Getting started unlocks rewards, some of which are paid for in cryptocurrency.

The metaverse, a universe of pixels for very real pollution

For now, The Sandbox is nothing more. The immersive experience, the complete universe that is promised by the term “metaverse”, in fact boils down to a very partially accessible world whose pixelated graphics evoke more the beginnings of the Internet than a journey to the future. Basically, only one novelty: to make the creation of pixels a game that puts speculation within everyone’s reach…

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