Is the Future of the NFT Metaverse Self-Built Worlds?

‘Metaverse’ is a term that has recently become ubiquitous in crypto, doubtless due to the success of immersive virtual projects like Decentraland and Iluvium. The metaverse describes a vast ecosystem of often interconnected virtual environments, where players can interact with one another, explore parallel digital worlds, and buy and trade tokenized collectibles with real-world value.

The metaverse concept is not native to crypto, incidentally – the term comes from Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Snow Crash, published in 1992. Three decades and a raging pandemic later, the metaverse concept is gaining ground as a range of virtual experiences become available, many of them built on blockchain rails.

Even social media giant Facebook is positioning itself to capture a share of the market, with Mark Zuckerberg claiming ‘we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company, to being a metaverse company.’

Build Your Own Metaverse

Into this fast-evolving milieu comes Planet Sandbox, a metaverse project developed by The Minders Studio and backed by over two dozen VC firms. Currently gearing up for an IDO on October 2, Planet Sandbox shares many of the hallmarks of existing metaverse games – the lurid vistas, varied terrain and coveted collectibles – but introduces new features, most notably the ability for players to build and customize their very own sandbox worlds.

What does this mean, in real terms? In essence, players can access a building toolkit to customize every aspect of their universe, tweaking the geographical characteristics such as weather, topography, even gravity. If this evokes the plot to Christopher Nolan’s Inception, you’re on the right lines. Only Dom and Mal never monetized the worlds they created…

Once constructed, domain owners can determine the rules for games conducted within their boundaries and invite players to participate. Both the land and the collectibles within it can be leased or sold in exchange for cryptocurrency, incentivizing creatives to design the best, most profitable sandboxes in the expanding metaverse.

Planet Sandbox is, at heart, a play-to-earn game – the sort that has given rise to the term ‘gamefi’, used to describe projects interweaving gaming and decentralized finance (DeFi). But unlike many of its contemporaries, Project Sandbox isn’t just geared towards players; it’s also pitched at would-be game designers, VR architects, artists, and NFT traders.

While some users will exclusively build and profit from their creations, others will compete to claim and earn NFT weapons and accessories through in-game quests and battles. These battles can be against rival players in diverse sandboxes or against NPC enemies that tirelessly stalk the landscape. Those interested purely in game-play can browse sandboxes, find their favorite, and participate in shooting games, car races or quests to earn prizes.

A World Unrestricted by Physics

As time goes on, and the Planet Sandbox community expands, worlds are likely to become more diverse, challenging and lucrative – particularly with the popularization of sophisticated VR/AR technologies currently being developed by Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Like many of its contemporaries, Planet Sandbox has a governance token, PSB, which is used for rewards, platform governance and also to cover NFT transaction fees. In the near future, players will also be able to stake PSB tokens to earn a share of fees processed by the network. An additional token, PULV, is used to purchase consumables for use within the metaverse.

Planet Sandbox’s integrated 3D marketplace, meanwhile, facilitates all trades in the game, with NFTs variously representing mountains, lakes, helicopters, tanks, weapons, gasoline, armour – the list goes on.

The appeal of metaverses such as those created by Planet Sandbox is universal: in a world unrestricted by the limitations of physics, unforgettable experiences can be enjoyed. Metaverses allow users to play, work, socialize and, thanks to NFTs and blockchain, build virtual businesses to earn passive income.

Planet Sandbox is built on Binance Smart Chain and a beta version of the game is set to launch next month, giving players an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the ecosystem and, if they desire, get to grips with the building toolkit. After the web version is released, mobile and PC versions will follow while the PSB token will be listed on decentralized and centralized exchanges.

Whatever happens to the metaverse, only the most brilliant projects are likely to survive once the cacophonous hype has died down. Is Planet Sandbox one of them? Only time will tell.


Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay