Major video game publisher Ubisoft is continuing to explore new frontiers in Web3, today announcing a partnership with The Sandbox that will see the company bring its notable game franchises into the Ethereum-based metaverse game world.
Ubisoft will have its own LAND plot in The Sandbox’s shared online world, which the company can customize and monetize as it sees fit. The publisher will launch its interactive space in The Sandbox with its Rabbids franchise, bringing in blocky recreations of the goofy, rabbit-like alien creatures that users can utilize within the game’s VoxEdit and Game Maker tools.
The publisher also plans to bring other IP from its sizable stable of popular gaming franchises. Ubisoft’s top video game IP includes Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, although it hasn’t announced which additional IP will enter The Sandbox.
“The Sandbox is welcoming all creators alike, whether born in web3 or already established game studios,” The Sandbox co-founder and COO Sebastien Borget told Decrypt.
“We're pleased to see a company such as Ubisoft embrace the values of decentralization and let fans play with the Rabbids in novel experiences owned by their creators,” he added. “The moment aligns with our mission to build the open metaverse, where everyone is welcome.”
The Sandbox is an online metaverse game that lets anyone purchase LAND plots sold as NFT assets. Users can then build interactive experiences atop that digital land, and even monetize the land by charging money to access games and spaces, or by renting out owned land to other builders. Players can also buy and sell NFTs, as well as utilize external NFT assets.
An NFT is effectively a blockchain-backed receipt that proves ownership of a digital item. In The Sandbox, it represents land plots, interactive 3D avatars, and other items that can be resold by users. The wider NFT market blew up in 2021, generating $25 billion worth of trading volume, per data from DappRadar.
Games like The Sandbox and Decentraland are considered early examples of the metaverse, which is a vision for a future internet in which users interact as avatars in immersive 3D spaces. Both games have seen significant rises in value for their respective tokens, as well as increased demand for virtual land, following Facebook’s metaverse-driven rebrand to Meta in October.
The Sandbox has yet to fully launch, but it held its first public alpha test late last year and has plans to hold additional tests throughout 2022 as it eyes a full, public release. More than 200 brands or celebrities have partnered with The Sandbox, including Snoop Dogg, Adidas, The Walking Dead, and Warner Music Group.
This isn’t the first time that the Rabbids franchise—which spun out of the classic Rayman platform-action series—has made a move into the world of Web3 and blockchain technology.
In 2020, Ubisoft launched an experimental NFT project called Rabbids Token, which let users buy Rabbids-inspired tokens—but they could be “stolen” by any other player that wanted to pay ETH to claim it. The initiative benefitted the charity UNICEF.
Ubisoft is one of the largest video game publishers in the world. It’s also the biggest established gaming firm to make moves into the crypto space, dating all the way back to its 2018 blockchain game prototype, HashCrash.
The publisher has supported numerous crypto startups through its Entrepreneurs Lab initiative. It has alss published One Shot League, a spinoff of the Ethereum-based fantasy soccer game, Sorare. In October, Ubisoft was named as an investor in Animoca Brands, the publisher of The Sandbox and an investor in various metaverse-focused startups like OpenSea and Dapper Labs.