In what could be seen as further validation for the burgeoning blockchain gaming industry, The Sandbox publisher Animoca Brands announced this week that Square Enix, the Japanese game publisher behind Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, and Space Invaders, participated in a $2.01 million investment round in 2019.
Square Enix’s share of the round was not disclosed. The round also included investments from Japan’s B Cryptos Inc. investment fund, True Global Ventures 4 Plus Fund GP, and Mindfulness Venture Fund I, L.P., among other participants. According to Animoca Brands, the agreements were executed between July and September 2019, although “concerns raised” by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) delayed the public announcement.
Some 83% of the investment came in cash, with the remaining sum consisting of both Bitcoin and Tether. Animoca Brands and its TSB Gaming subsidiary, which develops the Ethereum-based Sandbox game, issued in-game SAND ERC-20 utility tokens (used to purchase assets and LAND) as well as simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) convertible securities.
The Sandbox is an upcoming blockchain-based creation game that takes place in a shared virtual world where players and companies alike can purchase and own plots of terrain. They can then populate those spaces with various assets and create their own experiences.
TSB Gaming has already pre-sold more than 10,000 plots of LAND so far in 2020, raising more than 1,300 ETH in the process. A third LAND presale will start on March 30 ahead of an expected public launch of the 3D, Minecraft-esque voxel game later in 2020. According to Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands, the round’s participants will help roll “The Sandbox” out to Japan.
“Like multiple generations, we grew up playing amazing games such as Space Invaders, Final Fantasy, and Arkanoid, and so it’s a special privilege and honour that the legendary game company Square Enix has invested in The Sandbox,” said Siu, in a release. “Together with the investment from B Cryptos, we are now closer to bringing The Sandbox to the Japanese market.”
Another major publisher, Ubisoft, has been the largest traditional gaming participant in the blockchain industry to date, supporting startups via its Entrepreneur Lab program, validating Ultra transactions, and even prototyping a game called HashCraft.