Blockchain game developer Animoca Brands has announced a series of developments relating to its forthcoming decentralised social multiplayer gaming platform, The Sandbox.
On Friday last week, the company revealed that iconic gaming company Atari would become a partner in the new blockchain venture with both Animoca Brands and Atari promising to develop a variety of virtual worlds built on crypto assets and blockchain technology.
Classic arcade titles such as Asteroids, Centipede, Pong and RollerCoaster Tycoon are all set to make a new-age comeback with Atari hinting that it will create an “online theme park” that users can not only visit, but also, commoditise.
To illustrate its blockchain gaming intentions, Animoca Brands is launching The Sandbox – a virtual world where players can build, own and monetise their own “voxel gaming” experiences on the Ethereum blockchain.
The company said its vision is to offer a deeply immersive “metaverse” in which virtual worlds and games will be created collaboratively and without a central authority.
Players can purchase, use and resell exclusive digital assets in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that correspond to characters, animals, monuments, buildings, trees, and tools to populate game experiences.
A NFT is a type of cryptographic token representing a digital asset and is unique, authentic and indivisible. The virtual spaces upon which players build their creations are also NFTs, called LAND.
As the popularity of the virtual world continues to grow, so do the valuations of each asset and the limited amount of real estate within the game.
Building online momentum
On Wednesday this week, Animoca Brands demonstrated the commercial potential of this new breed of so-called voxel games by conducting a third LAND Presale round for The Sandbox.
The round enabled gamers, artists, creators and investors to purchase “virtual real estate” akin to buying land in a theme park, with the likes of Atari set to develop games and attractions for future players.
Animoca Brands reported that the offering of 12,384 unique LAND parcels was completely sold out within 5 hours and generated a total of 3,400 ETH tokens, equivalent to around $740,000.
The first LAND presale for The Sandbox was held in December 2019 and offered more than 3,000 LANDs. The second presale opened on 11 February 2020 and offered 6,192 LANDs, or around 5% of total parcels.
This third presale opened on Tuesday this week and offered 12,384 LANDs, or around 10% of total parcels available.
The Sandbox launch later this year
In response to the strong take-up of the offering, Animoca Brands declared the sale as the “fastest-selling non-fungible token presale in the videogame industry”.
Upbeat about its three presale rounds, Animoca Brands declared that the persistently strong demand for virtual real estate within its The Sandbox metaverse validates its blockchain venture and proves that various users are willing to buy into the idea of digital commoditisation via non-fungible tokens.
“We want to make The Sandbox a fun and creative virtual world where players can express, own and trade their creativity, and we’re greatly looking forward to unveiling more partners in our gaming platform,” said Sebastien Borget, chief operating officer and co-founder of The Sandbox.
“With this horrible pandemic situation, we feel the needs for people to use digital spaces to express and share together. We want to make The Sandbox a fun and creative virtual world where players can express, own and trade their creativity,” he added.
Animoca Brand’s co-founder and chairman Yat Siu acknowledged that one of the drivers for the high demand in The Sandbox, and the blockchain-powered voxel gaming concept in general, was the recent lockdowns and isolation periods as a result of COVID-19.
The pandemic has led to over 25% of the world’s population being forced to remain indoors which has led to a spike in online gaming and entertainment demand globally.
Mr Siu said The Sandbox would soon undergo a fourth LAND presale “in the near future”, while the public launch of the completed gaming platform is expected later in 2020.