Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 7, 2022]
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Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 7, 2022]

Created 2yr ago, last updated 2yr ago

CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the metaverse — from The Sandbox hitting 2M users and its Alpha Season 2 launch, to FC Barcelona's metaverse plans and NFT drop.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Mar. 7, 2022]

Table of Contents

In the near future, fans may be able to view football matches and take virtual tours of stadiums from the comfort of their homes. While Manchester City is looking to build the first metaverse stadium, two other big clubs have also joined the metaverse party. Meanwhile, South Korea is strongly pushing its vision of becoming a metaverse hub by 2026. The East Asian nation has earmarked $187 million for its metaverse plans.
Here's a rundown of some of the most exciting metaverse news over the past week.

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The Sandbox Hits 2M Users, Seals Deal With Major K-Pop Label

The number of registered users on the popular decentralized metaverse platform, The Sandbox, has surpassed 2 million amid the debut of its play-to-earn season 2 alpha launch. Players can participate in over 200 quests to stand a chance to win the highly-coveted Alpha Pass NFT.

Owned by NFT investment company Animoca Brands, The Sandbox has been in the works for about four years. The current build of the game, dubbed Alpha Season 2, went live last week. It will showcase a wide array of companies and individuals that have been building on The Sandbox.

According to an official Medium post from the company, players will be able to explore more than 35 different virtual experiences for free. This includes sneak peeks from the highly-talked about “Snoopverse,” a collaboration between The Sandbox and prominent American rapper and NFT proponent Snoop Dogg.

Two other new IP experiences have been added to Season 2. First is “a time-traveling tour” of Hong Kong’s famous Star Ferry pier “brought to life by the South China Morning Post’s historic archives.” The second is a romantic getaway that allows players to “ride on an adorable Duck Boat, a walk through the flower garden, and making a wish at the fountain.”

Beyond experiencing The Sandbox metaverse, the end goal of the event is to grab an Alpha Pass. There are 200 quests that players can complete to be eligible to win the pass. Owners of the pass will receive a reward of up to 1,000 SAND, which is worth around $3,000 at current market prices. The Sandbox wrote:

“There are three different ways you can get a S2 Alpha Pass NFT: by using your The Sandbox account to play Alpha Season 2 and be eligible to win a S2 Alpha pass via the Raffle; or by participating in the Alpha Season 2 Social Contests for a chance to win each week, or by purchasing one on the secondary market.”
The Sandbox’s popularity has been on the rise since last year, partly due to its long list of partnerships with mainstream names like The Walking Dead, Warner Music, Snoop Dogg, and Deadmau5, amongst others.
Last week, the company inked a deal with Cube Entertainment to develop NFT assets and metaverse experiences to spread Korean culture content. Sandbox COO and Co-Founder Sebastien Borget said in an announcement:
"Cube is truly embracing the spirit of the open Metaverse by moving one step further into The Sandbox via its K-culture hub, where it is actively curating local brands and partners of their main K-POP label and offering them presence into The Sandbox through its own lands."
On-chain data from Nansen for the SAND token reflects a continuous increase in interest with unique addresses hitting all-time highs of 120.5K unique addresses. 83% of the tokens have been held for at least a year and another 13% for 90 - 365 days.
Sandbox Land hodler data shows a similar trend. Number of unique addresses holding on to the land NFTs are at all-time highs of 11.1K unique addresses with 51% of the NFTs held for at least a month. The top holder, gif.eth, holds a staggering 1,697 plots of land.

South Korea To Inject $187M Into Metaverse Plans

Weeks after revealing its plans to create the fifth-largest metaverse market in the world by 2026, the South Korean government, through the Ministry of Science and ICT, has said that the country will spend at least $186.7 million to build its metaverse ecosystem.

The investment is a part of South Korea’s “Digital New Deal,” a set of initiatives aimed at exploring emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and the fast-rising metaverse.

Park Yungyu, the agency’s head of communication and policy, said in a translated statement:
“It is important to create a world-class metaverse ecosystem as the starting point to intensively foster a new hyper-connected industry.”

As per the document, the bulk of the capital will go into metaverse initiatives, a cause that it hopes will bolster business and industrial growth.

Back in January, Science and ICT Minister Lim Hye-sook explained that the “Metaverse is a digital new continent with infinite potential and anyone can achieve their dreams by playing as the main character. In particular, it will be a space of opportunity for young people to challenge more and grow bigger to leap into a wider world.” He added:

“Through this strategy, we will work closely with related ministries to steadily implement various support measures such as revitalizing the industrial ecosystem, fostering talent, nurturing companies, and innovating regulations so that Korea can become a leading global metaverse country.”

South Korea believes that the metaverse has the potential to create at least 1.5 million jobs. To this end, it is aiming to produce over 40,000 skilled professionals to spearhead developments in the space.

Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced last November that it wanted to build “Metaverse Seoul.” Particularly, Seoul wants a situation where citizens can deal with consultations and civil complaints on the metaverse by 2023.

FC Barcelona Sets Sight on the Metaverse and Plans NFT Drop

Manchester City can be rest assured that it won’t be the only top football club looking to explore the metaverse. Barely a week after the club announced that it was building the world’s first football stadium in the metaverse, FC Barcelona has hinted at similar plans.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta recently confirmed that the club was working on a Barca metaverse, with plans to launch an exclusive club token.

Speaking on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Spain, Laporta disclosed that an NFT collection was in the pipeline. Recall that back in November, Barca collaborated with Ownix to debut an NFT collection but pulled out of the deal after a businessman linked with the company was arrested.

Commenting on the club’s move to enter into the metaverse, Laporta said:

“We are developing our ‘metaverse’ and have refused to be associated with a cryptocurrency company. We want to create our own cryptocurrency, and we understand that we have to do it for ourselves; there is enough talent for that. With the blockchain, great opportunities and business opportunities appear.”

He goes on to say that the players were already in on the idea and there will be provisions in the contracts of players for the metaverse and NFTs.

Tencent Files for Metaverse-related Patent

With the likes of Microsoft already making big metaverse plays, Chinese tech giant Tencent is intensifying its metaverse efforts. The company has filed a patent for virtual concerts, despite several warnings from regulators.
According to business data tracker Qichacha, Tencent submitted a virtual concerts trademark application with the Chinese National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

Unlike its stringent stance on cryptocurrencies, the Chinese government has not openly clamped down on NFTs or the metaverse. Nonetheless, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), in November, said that it would track NFT transactions with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) tools.

Surprisingly, more than a thousand Chinese companies have filed over 16,000 metaverse-related patent applications, Chinese news outlet The Paper reports.

As for Tencent, the South China Morning Post reported that the company sent out an internal letter to employees back in October 2021. The letter noted the creation of a new “F1” studio under its subsidiary, TiMi Studios.

Tencent also held China’s first-ever metaverse concert on December 31. The event saw over 1.1 million people join in over the duration of the New Year’s celebration.

Africa's MTN Buys Land on the Metaverse

Africa’s largest telecom company, MTN, has jumped on the metaverse. The company announced its metaverse play last week, revealing that it had acquired 144 plots of virtual land in the Africarare metaverse Ubuntuland.

Following the purchase, MTN has become the first African company to purchase land of Africarare, “the first South African metaverse, housing digital land with roots in the African continent.”

Commenting on the move, Bernice Samuels, MTN’s Group Executive for Marketing said in the press release:

“This is an exciting moment for us as we lead businesses on the continent to enter the metaverse marketplace. This is exactly what our Ambition 2025 strategy is premised on – leveraging trends that amplify consumer’s digital experiences and engagement. We have always been at the forefront of technological and digital changes and we remain alive to the exciting opportunities the metaverse presents for us and our customers.’’

Birmingham City Joins the Metaverse With Esports Partner Ultimo GG

The race to build the world’s first metaverse stadium is arguably heating up as Birmingham City joins the race. The Championship club is set to create its own metaverse world that would allow fans to experience matches and stadium tours through virtual reality.

A statement posted on the club’s website reads: "Birmingham City will be the first Club from the EFL to enter the Metaverse, thanks to an innovative project led by esports partner, Ultimo GG.”

Interestingly, work is already ongoing to launch the virtual stadium.

"In December 2021, work began on scanning and mapping a digital recreation of St. Andrew’s Stadium. Once complete, Birmingham City’s very own digital metaverse will offer commercial opportunities for the Club, engagement and entertainment opportunities for Blues fans as well as fundraising opportunities for the BCFC Community Trust, Academy and other charitable causes […] A thorough fan consultation process will begin shortly, allowing Blues fans to have their say on how the St. Andrew’s Metaverse Project can be used to benefit the club and its supporters. Both Birmingham City FC and Ultimo GG are committed to building a free-to-enter and inclusive enterprise, which will bring sustainable, long-term revenue streams to the Club and Birmingham City FC Community Trust."

Square Enix Revives Dungeon Siege IP on The Sandbox

Fans of Dungeon Siege will soon be able to relive the experience on the metaverse. Japanese entertainment conglomerate Square Enix is set to bring back elements of its once-famous video game series ‘Dungeon Siege’ to The Sandbox.

Players will be able to construct their own Dungeon Siege on the metaverse.

Originally launched in 2002, Dungeon Siege has not seen any new title since 2011. However, the publisher will tap on the metaverse hype to revive its game.

The new role-playing game IP will be introduced to The Sandbox in two ways. First is a Dungeon Siege LAND on Square Enix estate with interactive Role-Playing-Game (RPG) experiences. On the other hand, the publisher will also allow players to incorporate Dungeon Siege voxel characters and assets into custom-made experiences in The Sandbox.

Hideaki Uehara, the business development director at Square Enix, said:

“We’re looking forward to seeing Dungeon Siege come to life in The Sandbox, powered by the inspiration of RPG fans.”
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