French video game giant Ubisoft has teamed up with Metaverse platform The Sandbox in the latest sign of the convergence of game development and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Ubisoft Partners With Sandbox to Acquire its Land in The Metaverse
According to an announcement on February 8, Animoca Brands, the Hong Kong-based blockchain company behind The Sandbox, announced a strategic partnership with the Paris-listed company in which Ubisoft will acquire its land in Metaverse and develop game experiences with NFTs in the virtual world.
The company says work is already underway to recreate the characters and features from Ubisoft’s Rabbids game.
Ubisoft’s move reflects a broader trend of traditional gaming giants trying to sell player merchandise in virtual worlds in the form of NFTs, blockchain vouchers used to prove ownership of digital assets.
However, gamers are grappling with the place of NFTs in video games, with some objecting, believing it is a new form of monetization that can be predatory and even destroy the gaming experience if misused.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Guillaume Mammi, Ubisoft’s senior manager of new business and partnerships, said the company was “excited” to bring Rabbids to the sandbox community, but Ubisoft didn’t say it would include what other games- Franchises also haven’t given a timeline for further rollouts.
The partnership with Ubisoft is seen as a huge win for The Sandbox, as the Metaverse platform – which is still in development and hasn’t announced a release date yet – was little known a year ago but is now one of The Sandbox’s poster projects is. Interest in NFTs in the blockchain gaming community has surged over the past year.
Animoca Brands’ private valuation rose to $5 billion in its latest funding round last month. In November, The Sandbox itself raised $93 million in a funding round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.
Ubisoft Launched Quartz – An NFT Marketplace
In December, Ubisoft became the first major international game developer to bring NFTs to video games after the space was initially dominated by smaller game startups.
The company then launched Quartz, an NFT platform that allows people to buy and sell unique digital items, but the move drew widespread anger from gamers who feared the inclusion of NFTs could ruin Ubisoft’s games.
Due to backlash from another player, Team17, the developer behind the Worms series, was forced to cancel its NFT MetaWorms project just 24 hours aft2er its announcement last week.
Gamers threatened to boycott the company’s products, many business partners distanced themselves from Team17, and some even publicly condemned the move.
In an interview with Finder.com.au last month, Nicolas Pouard, vice president of Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab, said many gamers still didn’t understand the usefulness of NFTs, prompting outrage.
In addition to Ubisoft, major gaming companies such as Zynga, Square Enix, and Take-Two have also tried or expressed an interest in NFTs.