I often talk with potential clients about building in The Sandbox and the one question I get asked a lot is, “what do we build”? Companies are looking for a way to effectively create brand exposure in the upcoming metaverses, with The Sandbox being the biggest and most promising.
When I think about the types of advertising that would be closest to marketing in the metaverse, TV ad spots come to mind. If we consider that each TV commercial essentially creates one engagement for the brand (unless someone re-watches that commercial on YouTube), then we can use engagement as the measure of effectiveness of a metaverse marketing campaign.
For the purpose of this article, let’s define the following terms:
Gamified experiences are fun online activities that users can participate in. From time to time, I’ll use the word game interchangeably for gamified experience.
Players as the users that participate in these gamified experiences or games. If a gamified experience is fun enough, players will come back to it time after time. Candy Crush Saga is a gamified experience on the mobile phone that is so fun, players come back to it day after day.
Let’s say that each play of a gamified experience equals one engagement for the brand. And so, a brand will naturally want as many engagements as possible. The following are gamified experiences in The Sandbox and the industry it would best match with. It’s not an exhaustive list but one that I hope will grow over time.
1. Social Hub
Great for: every industry, especially music events and influencers
Every brand will need to have this and will be the first experience they’ll build. In the web 1.0 sense, this is the company’s website. In the web 2.0 sense, this is the social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok).
The social hub is going to give the player the first impression about the brand or company. Upon first look, they will ask the web 3.0 equivalent of “does this website look up to date or does it look like it was created using Geocities”?
While the social hub isn’t engaging by itself, it can be gamified by adding a collection aspect. For example, a game can be created where the player has to find all the gold coins (or some other item). Some of the items can be hidden behind secret entrances or puzzles. Players who find all the coins can get a reward, possibly a NFT from that business or brand.
For influencers, this is a very interesting option because it’s their virtual residence. Fans already think it’s a big deal when they can play a game of Fortnite with their favorite YouTuber. How much more if fans can get access to the ONE hangout where their favorite online celebrity resides virtually. That's exactly what Snoop Dogg did.
Sandbox’s Main Social Hub
2. Zelda-ish Game
Great for: Intellectual Properties, influencers or brands that have a main character
This type of gamified experience is one where players solve puzzles and not fighting any monsters. Another question I hear a lot from brands is, “can the avatar not carry a sword?”. A lot of brands are family friendly and want to stay away from any illusion of violence. While there is fighting in Zelda games, they are mainly known for really hard puzzles.
Here's a great video talking about the puzzle game mechanics in Zelda.
This type of gamified experience has a lot of levels, and new ones can be added with an update. Level-based gamified experiences tend to retain players better than non-level based ones. More levels mean players will come back which means more engagements with the brand. Just look at the highest level you’ve gotten if you have ever played Candy Crush or know of someone who has.
This gamified experience utilizes LAND very well. In the screenshot below, you can see how our team laid out the levels.
Laying down levels for our Beast Quest game jam submission
This game experience works great for intellectual properties like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Walking Dead, Tomb Raider, etc. The gamified experience below was actually created by us for a past game jam utilizing the Beast Quest IP. We told the story of the main character, Tom as he goes on a quest to obtain his sword.
Trailer for Beast Quest game jam submission
3. Collect and Craft Game
Great for: any brand that sells a physical product
This game is one where the player has to go on different mini-quests to collect items that is used to craft a final product. That final product should be used to solve a problem, like escaping from zombies or obtaining a reward.
This gamified experience will work for any brand that sells a physical product. It’s is a very good way of educating players how a particular product is created in a fun way.
Let’s use Nike as an example of what they could create. (Disclaimer: we are not working with Nike but if you are, we can build this!) The final item that’s created is a legendary shoe, the Air Jordan 1.
Air Jordan 1- Image by Heritage Auctions
In order to craft the shoe, players have to go collect all the in-game items that go into making it. Maybe they have to find the insoles in a secret location at a particular factory. Maybe they have to take on a quest by a NPC in order to get the design. Maybe players have to go to the CEO’s house (also in the Sandbox but on a different LAND) in order to get the swoosh logo. Then finally, maybe they have to talk to an in-game version of Michael Jordan in order to get his endorsement, because that is also what went into making the shoe. What a cool, fun way to tell an origin story!
Now, once the final in-game product is created, the player is rewarded with a NFT that they can take to the store and get a discount on sneakers. That discount reward is only available for the player that completed the game. Now we just tied the digital with the physical.
Below are two Sandbox games that utilize this collect and craft mechanic.
Playthrough of Professor Stitch
Play-through of The Breakdown
4. 1st Person Trivia Maze
Great for: educational company or any company that has to do a lot of educating in order to sell its products or services
This gamified experience is essentially a trivia game but in a 3D maze setting. It combines interesting facts with beautiful set design. It works very well if the questions are themed around a specific topic.
I first thought of this when speaking with a client that was an educational company. They wanted a way to bring their content into a game. How could they do it?
My initial thought was to create some kind of trivia game. After some research, I found that Microsoft created a game called Mind Maze way back in the day (1993 to be exact). It was for their Encarta Encyclopedia. And actually, people still play it and do walkthroughs of it on YouTube!
Microsoft Encarta Mind Maze
Something like this can be re-imagined in The Sandbox easily. The dialogue system already works very well in the Sandbox. Combine that with being able to create really beautiful set design and you get a 2022 version of Mind Maze.
This also works well for a company that needs to educate its customers a lot before a purchase is made. Let’s take a financial services company for example. Actually, let’s use a crypto-lending company because it requires educating its user base even more. The would-be game could be created around facts about how money and crypto works, how collateral lending works, how much they would save compared to getting a traditional loan, etc.
We could do so much with the game’s world design! If we wanted to point players to how they are slaves to the fiat system, we could start players in a dungeon. Players would have to answer questions correctly about how money works in order to progress. Once they get to the crypto related questions, maybe the setting is now a palace because being your own bank allows people to have freedom.
I hope these give you some ideas if you’re considering building an gamified experience for your business or brand.
This article originally appeared on Medium.
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About Us. We are inspiring the next generation of creators to build even greater things. We partner with brands to create unique experiences in The Sandbox and other metaverses to drive engagement.