Animoca Brands’ virtual world platform, The Sandbox, has inked partnership deals with two higher education institutions in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI).
The partnerships aim to promote education as a core element of the platform’s upcoming Mega City 3 launch, set to launch at the end of this month.
At an event held in Hong Kong’s Quarry Bay on Monday local time, The Sandbox chief operating offer Sebastien Borget announced that HKUST and HKDI would utilize the platform to educate the public on the metaverse.
The company is also developing a virtual graduation ceremony for HKDI and creating scientific programs and gaming experiences at HKUST. The Sandbox also announced plans to collaborate with both institutions to conduct seminars and workshops with students.
Borget explained that it was a significant achievement that major educational institutions in Hong Kong recognized The Sandbox as a valuable tool for their programs, showing that the city is more “forward-thinking” than “other regions of the world.”
In the third quarter, the company plans to make the platform accessible at any time to anyone who wishes to participate in any experience. People can also self-publish content without the company’s involvement.
The Sandbox metaverse has previously formed partnerships with various international brands, including Ubisoft, Warner Music Group and The Walking Dead.
Local brands in Hong Kong, such as MTR Corp, HSBC and the South China Morning Post (SCMP), have also created various gamified experiences on the platform. SCMP has developed a gamified version of the Star Ferry Pier — a popular tourist attraction in Hong Kong that provides ferry services between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Not a passing trend
The Sandbox is optimistic about the longevity of its virtual world and crypto token, $SAND, despite the recent decline in the hype surrounding the metaverse and decreasing values of cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The Sandbox is still the leading virtual land platform, with over 23,500 landowners, more than 4.6 million accounts and 400+ global partners.
The minimum price of the company’s Land NFTs, however, has fallen by 84 percent. It is currently standing at approximately 0.62 ETH or $1,130 — a significant drop from its peak of 3.9 ETH in February 2022, according to data compiled by CoinGecko.
Borget said the crypto winter — which led to decreased valuations of cryptocurrencies — did not affect the platform. He said that, instead, in certain respects, the market correction was beneficial.
“Sales are up, land sells out,” Borget said, as quoted by SCMP. “There is demand because there is a concrete utility behind [it].”
Borget pointed out that despite recent workforce reductions of 20 to 30 percent in the tech industry, The Sandbox had not announced any downsizing plans. He also mentioned that the company has over 450 employees in nine different parts of the world.
The Sandbox plans to reduce its reliance on primary land sales as a funding source. Although Borget did not disclose an exact revenue figure, he revealed that the platform generated between $100 million to $200 million in revenue last year.
By 2026, The Sandbox aims to have sold all its virtual land and hopes to sustain itself through the commission earned from secondary land sales and self-published content.