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Softbank leads US$93m funding into NFT gaming firm The Sandbox

Softbank leads US$93m funding into NFT gaming firm The Sandbox

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NFT gaming firm The Sandbox has received US$93million in investment led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. In a media statement, Sandbox said the investment will be used to grow its creators' economy. The Sandbox adopts a play-to-earn model that allows users to play, build, own and monetise their experiences on a virtual LAND they own using NFTs and $SAND (Sandbox's utility token). 

With the investment, in the upcoming year, Sandbox plans to progressively open the metaverse to LAND owners who have built high-quality experiences. It also plans to launch its first virtual concert featuring artists such as Snoop Dog in the second quarter of 2022, along with the launch of The Walking Dead game.  In the upcoming year, the company will also launch a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) with staking and voting mechanisms for $SAND, LAND, and AVATAR holders, which will provide players and creators with more control over the metaverse.

By the end of 2022, Sandbox plans to make the metaverse available to mobile users, and will also launch community tokens. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out for comment.

On its long-term plans, Sandbox said it looks to become one of the leading open metaverses within the next five to ten years. "We want to be on par with the notorious centralised ones while offering a better value proposition for creators and players through thousands of experiences available made by creators or IPs and brands, by launching their own NFTs and play-to-earn seasons, and by engaging their communities through various activities and events," it said.

In 2021, Sandbox's user base has grown five-fold, reaching 500,000 wallets. It also has over 30,000 monthly active users, about half of whom spend more than an hour per day on the metaverse. Collectively, Sandbox's Marketplace saw over 100 artists sell user-created NFTs for 2.2 million $SAND (approximately SG$8.5 million).  It also currently has over 165 brand, IP and artist partners including Snoop Dogg, DeadMau5, Avenged Sevenfold, The Walking Dead, Smurfs, and more; reaching an audience of over one billion fans. In July this year, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) partnered with Sandbox, to bring Hong Kong to life in The Sandbox’s metaverse through SCMP’s 118 years of journalism. SCMP’s extensive gallery of visual graphics were brought to life in The Sandbox in new interactive games and experiences that recreated modern and historic locations and artifacts of Hong Kong and mainland China, such as the Kowloon Walled City and the Star Ferry, in collaboration with local game studios and creators.

Sandbox is not the only company to receive funding recently. HK gaming group Animoca Brands, the company driving digital property rights via NFTs, also closed a capital raise for US$65 million last month, conducted at a pre-money valuation of US$2.2 billion. The new capital will be used to fund strategic investments and acquisitions, product development, and licenses for popular intellectual properties. Animoca Brands brings digital property rights to online users, primarily for consumer video game players and the metaverse, through the use of blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). According to the company, these technologies enable the true digital ownership of users’ virtual assets and data, and offer various play-to-earn capabilities, asset interoperability, and DeFi/GameFi opportunities. 

Separately, Facebook changed its name to Meta as it shifts its focus from social media to the metaverse. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: "From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first. That means that over time you won't need a Facebook account to use our other services." This comes after Zuckerberg said in July this year that the company would create a product team to work on the "metaverse", in hopes to transition into a metaverse company instead of being seen as a social media company. Later in September, Meta invested US$50

Join our Digital Marketing Asia conference happening from 9 November 2021 - 25 November 2021 to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies in the world of digital. Check out the agenda here. 

Related articles:
Nike quietly files virtual trademark. Is it entering the metaverse?
Facebook attributes ad decline to Apple, makes metaverse 'a major investment'
HK gaming group Animoca Brands bags US$65m funding amidst NFT and metaverse craze
#ExplainIt: Is there a need for a chief metaverse officer?
Facebook sets aside US$50m to build metaverse 'responsibly'

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