2022 was the year the wheels fell off the metaverse bandwagon, which had been the most hyped narrative as the year began. By far the worst-performing sector in blockchain, the average drawdown was 89%.
Even Facebook’s grand plans to dominate the metaverse are in disarray; it’s losing more than $1 billion a month, while the flagship “Horizon Worlds” attracts fewer than 200,000 users per month.
But amid all the gloom, there are still miles of runway left from unprecedented fundraising and signs from The Sandbox, play-to-earn games and niche metaverse platforms that 2023 will be much more productive.
Sébastien Borget, chief operations officer and co-founder of The Sandbox, has been on the road a lot lately visiting the company’s new offices. He speaks from Argentina when we talk just before Christmas about the performance of metaverse platforms in 2022.
Many pundits say it’s been a mixed year at best for adoption, pointing to DappRadar statistics that appeared to indicate daily average visitors to The Sandbox were as low as 500, with just 50 people wandering about Decentraland. However, both companies actively pushed back on these stats, claiming the figures only reflected the number of daily users who made a transaction — not the number of daily visitors overall.
Borget is dismissive of the low figures quoted and says there are on average 30,000 visitors every day to the metaverse platform. He expects a surge in user numbers when the platform goes mobile later this year.
“That will make a big difference. 30,000 is still a small number when compared to Facebook for example,” he says.
“But when you enter The Sandbox, you see people running around – it is full.”
The Sandbox Alpha Season 3 has claimed 17 million visits since Aug. 24, a threefold increase over Season 2. That’s even more astonishing when you consider the word Alpha means it’s still in the earlier stages of development.
So, while 2022 was definitely the year that the word “metaverse” became a household name — and was narrowly beaten to the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year by “goblin mode” — there’s hope that 2023 will see it gain wider adoption. McKinsey Global revealed that investors had tipped $120 billion into developing metaverse tech by June, and even though funding subsequently fell off a cliff, that’s a lot of runway to produce the goods in 2023.
The Sandbox is…