In an exclusive interview with Insider at NFT.NYC, The Sandbox's US CEO shared his vision for the metaverse platform.
Mathieu Nouzareth said users still flock to The Sandbox because it's not just a socializing space, but an engaging video game."We want to be the Manhattan of the metaverse, a concentration of exciting brands and artists but our vision isn't to replace reality."
In an interview at the NFT.NYC conference Monday a few days after bitcoin dipped below $20,000 The Sandbox's US CEO explained his vision for the platform and why the crypto downturn hasn't dragged on the number of people visiting the metaverse.
"The Sandbox hasn't really been impacted, and the reason I think is because we're a game, and games are less impacted by a macroeconomic environment," Mathieu Nouzareth told Insider. "People come because it's really a ton of fun, anyone can enjoy it."
The Sandbox is a blockchain-based metaverse platform and video game, as well as a subsidiary of top Web3 venture capital firm Animoca Brands. The company made headlines last year as it notched over $350 million in virtual land sales with one plot even selling for $4.3 million.
Nouzareth, a 27-year entrepreneur veteran, acknowledged that the crypto sell-off has been painful for many investors, though he isn't too concerned because it's not the first bear market he's witnessed.
"I've seen five of these [downturns]. But if you keep your head down and focus on building, in two, three years, we will see some massive, amazing companies that will emerge after this," Nouzareth said.
He noted that the company's total user base has not decreased during the crypto bear market. Instead, the right type of users still flock to The Sandbox, he added, because they aren't the ones interested in a get-rich-quick scheme.
A bear market encourages longer-term thinking and community-building, which is good when a company is aiming to build a platform that can outlast cycles in the market, Nouzareth explained.
The Sandbox is here to complement the existing world, rather than suck in users so convincingly that they don't want to spend time in reality, he added.
On Monday, the company announced a collaboration that involves one of the real world's most iconic spaces. The Sandbox is partnering with TIME to feature NFTs in a digital "TIME Square with the goal of drawing more users to the digital art and commerce scene.
The Sandbox aims to mix a sense of culture with its gaming roots which is why it's partnered with household names from across sectors, like Snoop Dogg, Adidas, "The Walking Dead," and the South China Morning Post.
"It isn't like 'Ready Player One,' a dystopian nightmare," Nouzareth said. "We want to be the Manhattan of the metaverse, a concentration of exciting brands and artists but our vision isn't to replace reality."
Nouzareth highlighted that The Sandbox has an advantage over competitors like Roblox and Decentraland because it's more than just a socializing venue.
"I think we're more successful than others because we see gaming as really the way to attract players into Web3, rather than just being a space to be social," Nouzareth said.