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Voxel-style NFT gaming platform The Sandbox has hired game industry veteran Nicola Sebastiani to be its chief content officer and help develop the crypto-forward company’s creator economy, the firm announced Tuesday.
Sebastiani has worked in the gaming industry for years, from a role on Ubisoft’s mobile team to co-founding the Apple Arcade subscription service for the App Store, and ultimately leading PlayStation’s mobile strategy over the last two years. Now he has moved into the Web3 world with The Sandbox.
“I think that we are at a historical shift in gaming,” Sebastiani told Decrypt in an interview. “We are fully entering the creator economy.”
Sebastiani believes that user-generated content, or UGC, is a gaming trend that will continue to gain popularity. And while The Sandbox primarily offers mini-games and gaming experiences within its broader platform, Sebastiani said that he wants players to feel free to use the platform however they like, whether it’s for socializing or experimentation.
“I really think of us as a social platform,” Sebastiani said of The Sandbox.
In addition to the game’s creator economy, Sebastiani will also oversee game publishing, internal game production, and the development of The Sandbox tools Game Maker and VoxEdit at the company.
Compared to rival platforms in the broader gaming industry like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft, The Sandbox requires some knowledge and use of crypto and NFTs to fully experience. Users can connect their crypto wallets, purchase in-game items with its SAND token, and buy virtual land NFTs to build on and play within.
“I think it’s critical to The Sandbox as far as ownership, as far as giving creators and players leverage on their achievements, what they build,” Sebastiani said of the platform’s crypto elements.
A major step toward empowering creators is giving them the ability to publish and potentially monetize their own experiences. Sandbox players will finally be able to build and self-publish their experiences by the end of this year, according to the company.
The Sandbox, which has seen roughly 4.5 million registered crypto wallets, takes a 5% platform fee which Sebastiani said “is reinvested in the community” via different methods such as the company’s Game Makers Fund.
The Sandbox saw approximately 3,840 unique active wallets engage with the platform in the past month, generating a total of $2.26 million in total volume traded according to data from crypto analytics firm DappRadar. Decentraland saw about 2,770 unique wallets generating roughly $19,880.
Overall, crypto-powered game platforms remain much smaller than industry titans like Roblox, which boasts over 200 million monthly active players. Epic’s Fortnite sees similar numbers, with about 230 million monthly active users as the platform increasingly shifts toward emphasizing its user-generated content.
The Sandbox and other crypto-powered metaverse platforms may have to continue to appeal to creators to stay competitive as the creator economy evolves. Goldman Sachs predicted earlier this year that the $250 billion creator economy will continue to grow, and could swell to become a $480 billion industry within the next three years.
Edited by Andrew Hayward