Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!
We recently interviewed Sebastien Borget for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Sebastien and here’s what we discussed about-
1. Early Days of Sandbox: Focusing on empowering creators through user-generated content.
2. Monetization Strategies: Explores NFT experiences, avatar collections, and equipment sales to enhance user engagement.
3. Avatar-Centric Metaverse: Avatars and digital assets seamlessly traverse various worlds, facilitated by blockchain technology.
4. Gaming and Blockchain Evolution: Future of gaming as user-generated content, challenging traditional free-to-play models.
5. User Empowerment in Web Three: Enabling players to monetize their data and contribute to fair value distribution.
6. Future of Music in Metaverse: Anticipation for the upcoming land sale involving music artists.
About our host:
Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at Outgrow.co. He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.
About our guest:
Sebastien Borget, COO of Sandox, spearheads the development of a groundbreaking virtual world, empowering players to create, own, and monetize gaming experiences through NFTs and SAND, the platform’s primary utility token. With 14 years of experience in startup growth, he boasts a unique blend of skills with 4 years dedicated to blockchain and 11 years in mobile gaming. Sebastien, also the President of the Blockchain Game Alliance earned the recognition as one of the Top 100 most influential people in crypto by CoinTelegraph.
EPISODE 169: Monetization in the Metaverse: Sandbox’s COO Sebastien Borget’s Blueprint for NFTs
Table of Contents
Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda, and I’m the creative director at Outgrow. co. And for this month we are going to interview Sebastien Borget, who is the Co-founder and COO of Sandbox.
Sebastien Borget: Great to be here. Thank you.
Don’t have time to read? No problem, just watch the Podcast!
Or you can just listen to it on Spotify!
The Rapid Fire Round!
Saksham Sharda: Alright, so we’re gonna start with the Rapid Fire round. The first one is, at what age do you want to retire?
Sebastien Borget: 50.
Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
Sebastien Borget: I start at six in the morning. Five minutes.
Saksham Sharda: Most embarrassing moment of your life.
Sebastien Borget: Pass right now.
Saksham Sharda: Favorite color?
Sebastien Borget: Blue.
Saksham Sharda: What time of day are you most inspired?
Sebastien Borget: Morning.
Saksham Sharda: How many hours of sleep can you survive on?
Sebastien Borget: Three.
Saksham Sharda: Fill in the blank. An upcoming technology trend is _____.
Sebastien Borget: An upcoming technology is going to empower the creators.
Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best kiss of your life happened.
Sebastien Borget: I met my wife in London, but we kissed in Paris so I had to, I was thinking about the place I met my wife, which was very important for me.
Saksham Sharda: Pick one. Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk.
Sebastien Borget: Mark Zuckerberg.
Saksham Sharda: The biggest mistake of your career?
Sebastien Borget: Sometimes not being able to stop projects that are not going well fast enough.
Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?
Sebastien Borget: I play games.
Saksham Sharda: How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?
Sebastien Borget: Probably more than five.
Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?
Sebastien Borget: I don’t like people who talk at the end of the day to say nothing.
Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life.
Sebastien Borget: Being agile and flexible.
Saksham Sharda: Your favorite Netflix show?
Sebastien Borget: Recently, it’s not Netflix or Apple TV, but I liked it.
Saksham Sharda: Ted Lasso.
Sebastien Borget: Yeah, Ted Lasso is fun, but that’s also a few drops of Foundation. Yes. Drops of Gods and many more.
Saksham Sharda: The most memorable movie you’ve seen recently.
Sebastien Borget: Something like Wondering Earth.
Saksham Sharda: A song you’ve been listening to recently.
Sebastien Borget: Blue(Da Ba Dee) which is a remix by David Guetta, if I’m correct.
The Big Questions!
Saksham Sharda: Alright, well that’s the end of the rapid-fire round. Okay. Is there any question from the rapid-fire round you want to talk about in more detail that you felt or we can go on to the other questions?
Sebastien Borget: I think we can move on to the next question.
Saksham Sharda: So the bigger questions which you can answer with as much ease and time as you like. Can you tell us more about the early days of the Sandbox and how the concept of user-generated content drove its success in the mobile gaming industry?
Sebastien Borget: So, at the very beginning of Sandbox, there has always been this idea that we wanted to empower creators and use new technology to do so, enabling a much simpler merch, more seamless experience of that technology. So originally there was a mobile game on iOS and no, people just bought the touch of their finger, could create two deep pixelated worlds, and share those creations in an online gallery that other players could access. It rapidly turned into a massive success. We had over 40 million installs over eight years. 70 million player-made creations, but it also came with a big frustration. Like even tons of creators passionate about what they were doing, spending hours, sometimes days creating content. We were losing them like after weeks after a month they were leaving because like social recognition wasn’t enough, like featuring them, showcasing their content wasn’t enough and they were looking for more of a form of sort of like revenue share compensation for the values they brought to our game because we were earning revenue thanks to their content at the end of the day. That was not possible on platforms like Apple Store, Google Play Store, etc, until we found out about blockchain technology around 2017 and we decided to apply NFT’s digital assets on the blockchain to the content that people created. So that’s the core, the origin story of Sandbox. Like always, how do we not only empower anyone to become a creator but at the end of the day, how do we also allow them to own their creation and allow them to monetize it the way they want? And it became a platform more than a game with values, tools, content creation, cool tools like 3D Editor, a no-code game maker, a marketplace, a map, and a game client. And we brought in a lot of brands, more than 400 from various regions of the world in various fields of entertainment, music, sports, gaming, fashion, but also from culture and more. And I feel like we have brought a very amazing community of creators and landowners. We have more than 23,500 landowners who own this parcel of digital real estate. Very soon in the sandbox, by the end of q3, they will be able to open that land to their community as a platform that will be moving from this alpha stage to more like any creator can launch their content, attract their audience, start engaging, and even monetize it.
Saksham Sharda: And what are some of how NATO aims to monetize it?
Sebastien Borget: Well, we are a platform that uses technology, technology, which is blockchain and NFTs. So one of the most like the way that people think is like NFT gated experience. That’s not the only way, but definitely, you could start selling an NFT ticket or a collection, an avatar collection, and people need to own one of those NFTs to be able to either access the full experience so it could be fully or partially gated, meaning as anyone can enter it, but a certain portion will require you to own that digital asset to trigger, for example, a new quest or to open a new area. That’s one thing. The other thing is starting your collection of equipment and wearable things that will enhance your experience and expand the engagement of players in your world. The immersion into your lower and this virtual space that you are developing. At the end of the day, we’re still quite early on actually in defining the metaverse together. It’s this myriad of virtual worlds that we access with an avatar. And all those landowners, all those creators, they are pioneers. I think they will come up with their monetization strategies. We’re already seeing some of our creators inventing new models where ownership is creating a new model of monetization. It involves, like Dow, the distribution of tokens, distribution of potentially other digital asset rewards based on people completing an action, and people engaging in certain ways in the sandbox, but also outside of the Sandbox as part of the whole web-free ecosystem. And I can’t wait to see this energy and the brains of those thousand creators figure out what will be the next monetization model in the metaverse.
Saksham Sharda: So could you share some insights into the role of blockchain technology in creating a more immersive and interactive gaming experience? How does the sandbox leverage blockchain to enhance gameplay?
Sebastien Borget: So blockchain is a technology and its technology that enables the provision of true digital ownership to those creators who like contributing to content, the value of those virtual worlds, but also by their presence, by bringing life, by having activities, being present, and exploring. And we see that the format of experience at the sandbox as is offered with our no-code game maker, is very different than just a game. Many gamers would not enjoy this kind of experiment because it’s a hybrid between social socialization with you interacting with other users, making friends, and having various activities together. Some gamified mechanics like Quest, exploring collecting points to compete in leaderboards, all of that bringing engagement and also like bringing content and IPs, I call it like culture from values. Either brand that exists in a physical world or communities and NFTs that come from this web-free space. At the end of the day, it’s a new format of entertainment, which is avatar-centric, where users truly own their assets, can play, can own, can build alone, or in multiplayer, can socialize, and can earn. And that’s really like the format that I think Sandbox is offering that is new. Like there’s nothing alike and it will bring new users, it will attract new creators. We’re going to see different experiments because of new creators who haven’t been doing games on another platform. And the content you find in Sandbox, you will not find on another platform. That’s also quite exciting.
Saksham Sharda: And why do you think the emphasis is on avatar-centric?
Sebastien Borget: Well, the idea of the Metaverse is not like just having an avatar and exploring a virtual world. The idea of the metaverse, it’s, I think, the ability to take your avatar that becomes your digital identity from one world to another in a fully seamless manner. So not only your avatar actually, but also all your digital belongings, like your variable, your equipment, the content you created or, or your earn by playing even your virtual land. Your virtual house pets, why not? And you don’t have to ask permission from a developer or a game or platform to take that content and start exploring with that same content across all those different worlds and platforms, which has never been the case before. As you think about it, Fortnite, and second-life Minecraft roadblocks, all exist in silos. You know, like they are closed-walled gardens all the time. You Spend all the content you buy or you earn all the money you spend as well, and it stays there. You cannot take it out. You cannot transfer it to another user. You cannot even sell it. Sometimes you can inside the platform, but you cannot do it outside. That’s actually what we call more like a virtual world centralized as opposed to the concept of a metaverse which we describe as open where users can take their identity and use it in all those different places without any restriction And all of that thanks to this technology blockchain.
Saksham Sharda: With a background in mobile gaming, how do you see the intersection between mobile gaming and blockchain technology evolving in the coming years? Are there any specific trends or developments that you find particularly exciting?
Sebastien Borget: I’ve been one of the pioneers in the space of what we call blockchain gaming. I’m also the president of the Blockchain Game Alliance. Back in 2019, we were just like eight founding members. Today we have more than 500 members and companies from all around the world that are using blockchain technology to create games or use it in different ways. Either like for like the digital assets, the NFTs for the currencies, and eventually even for decentralized, the whole gameplay. But they’re also using Dow and decentralized governance to make sure that the players also can be involved in choosing how the games can evolve, turn off the rules of those games, and so on. It’s just technology. So at the end of the day, it’s what people will do with it that will prevail. But I am excited to see that it’s pushing forward to innovate again, to experiment again, to try new things, and put players more at the core of the value proposition for a long time you look at to play business model, it’s a business model built on like a small percentage of user one to 3% are monetizing while all the other are playing for free and maybe receiving ads and so on. So The user is the only product being monetized because their data is being collected and sold to advertisers via the web two platforms, for the developer to monetize. At the end of the day, this results in less innovation because developers are only copying games that are already successful to be able to monetize at one to 3% user base, taking less risk. They are implementing an advertising service within their game to try to monetize the rest of the scope, and the rest of the audience. And we know that nobody likes ads, developers don’t like them, players don’t like them. So at the end of the day, it’s been all contributing to the growth of Web Two, which we know has led to this hyper-centralization of data and big platforms, like taking away the relationship that we have with our favorite content and brands. Web three. The core value proposition of Web Three is very user-centric and puts users back in control of their data. And I think gaming is a use case where they can perceive the benefit of it, but they don’t, people will not come just because they can sell their digital assets. They will come for the fun, for the experience, and then benefit eventually from the freedom of ownership of selling or monetizing or finding new ways to interact more dynamically with their favorite games.
Saksham Sharda: So as Web Three continues to empower players, like you’re saying, to create value in games, what are your thoughts on the concept of players earning revenue for driving revenue for game developers? How do you see this evolving in the future of NFT gaming?
Sebastien Borget: I think it’s essential. Like I look at two things. One is like, why it’s been almost 30 years since the internet and gaming started and why did we build it in a way where like all our data online wasn’t effectively ours and couldn’t be traded, exchanged, monetized, utilized, built upon in the way we want it. Somehow we got accustomed to this idea that it was because it’s de facto like this and there was no other technology to allow it. It was the right way. It does, but it’s not necessarily, so Web Three allows us to challenge that ID so that we can build a better business model, a better way for users to own their data and create an internet that will be offering and sharing the value more fairly among all the actors of the network. Then about gaming more specifically, I do believe that the future of gaming is going to be user-generated content. There will be no single game, which doesn’t have a major UG component in it. People specifically Gen Z, which now represent more than half of the world population, 75% of Gen Z want to be creators. They don’t want to be passive in front of their favorite content and not just creators by streaming how they play. They want to make their characters their own levels. They want to play all the player’s content. They extend the life of their favorite game tenfold this way. And somehow because they are creators, because they spend time, because it benefits the game, ultimately it’s fair that the value also goes back to them. And today in most of those users, content games, Rob Robots, Fortnite, Minecraft, etc, the creators are receiving a smaller portion of the revenue, maybe 70%, maybe 50% at the end of the day. And there are still some ECCOs, like the platform, that can decide at any point in time to change the value of the revenues they generate. They can change the percentage, they can change it, or they can decide to take it away from your account for any reason. That’s where decentralization and blockchain come into play to have a more transparent trustable distribution of revenue where all actors are fairly rated specifically in the case of sandbox credit will receive 95%, which I believe is the fair per ratio.
Saksham Sharda: What is the reason behind all these hiccups that you’ve been talking about?
Sebastien Borget: Well, I think like it’s been I tried to explain it a little bit before, like the business model of free-to-play. There are costs to run like servers, and infrastructure to have the teams that build the products and allow the players to play on those different games and products while building a great game, engaging game, and creating all the content is not free. It comes with a major cost and somehow, the developers have been optimizing toward how we make back that revenue first and foremost and try to iterate with the business model like most of the time is live ops. So launching time, limited events, seasonal events where we keep selling and selling again and selling again to the users and try to convert more of those paying users instead of 1.1%, 1.52 free, and so on and retain them over time. And I feel it’s not necessarily the right philosophy, but it’s because you evolve into an ecosystem where it’s been defined like this and you have access to tools like this. As a small developer, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time. So sometimes you don’t have the time or the capacity, to try to think of a better model in that scope of where you already exist.
Saksham Sharda: Are there any upcoming partnerships or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?
Sebastien Borget: Well at Sandbox, as a user-generated platform that embraces creative creativity, we’re always very excited that almost every week we have a new partnership. Very recently we announced BBC Cipriani’s The Little Prince. So we bring brands and partners that are very culturally iconic in certain regions of the world, and we allow our community to also play with official content and even co-create their adventure, their worlds using this official content. So I’m very excited to see those worlds come to life from the imagination of players, from the imagination of people who somehow never felt before that they could create things like that. So in a way, it’s a combination of bringing new creators and offering content that they can, as they can interact with. That excites me a lot. We’ll soon have a lot of partners related to music, music artists, electronic music, and more in a land sale coming toward the end of the month, which excites me a lot. We have a chance to define better how we like artists and music, and how we can interact with music and artists in the metaverse with this new social and immersive form of entertainment.
Saksham Sharda: The last question for you is of a personal kind. What would you be doing in your life, if not this right now?
Sebastien Borget: Nothing else. I love my job. Like every morning it can be challenging of course, but every morning the energy is back up and the community is sharing over social media discord and in a sandbox-like true moment where like they have emotion, they’re playing with Avatar or what they’re creating and that just that I find it’s, it’s amazing to be connected to the creator, to see what they do, to see how we inspire them as a platform and how we can help them to, to do even more ambitious things. I love that. And I love Web Three. We are working toward creating an ecosystem and supporting each other. So the more different studios or companies are building products that attract new users, the more beneficial it is for everyone at the end of the day. And that’s something that I enjoy versus the more traditional Web Two industry where people compete with each other for the users.
Saksham Sharda: Thanks, everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Sebastien Borget, who is the Co-founder and COO of Sandbox.
Sebastien Borget: Great to be here. Thank you.
Saksham Sharda: Check out the website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.