Ubisoft, the video game publisher behind Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance, has continued its push into the world of Web3. The newest move is the release of Rabbids NFT avatars for The Sandbox, an Ethereum metaverse game. Ubisoft began selling the avatars on February 22 to users on the allowlist, and the public sale starts on February 23. The NFTs will be available via Polygon, an Ethereum scaling network, with each selling for 100 SAND, or around $78. The avatars are themed around the Lunar New Year and feature designs based on the Rabbids characters, which are popular among fans of Ubisoft’s Rayman game franchise. The avatars are billed as a “key to future utility” in The Sandbox, including access to potential future drops.
Ubisoft has been making moves in the NFT space for some time. In December 2021, the company released NFT items for its Ghost Recon Breakpoint game, becoming the first major video game publisher to do so. However, the move was met with mixed reactions from gamers who opposed the NFTs due to previous scams in the crypto space and exorbitant prices for some assets. Although Ubisoft’s HashCraft, a Minecraft-inspired NFT game prototype, was shelved in 2018, the company has continued to expand into the crypto industry. In 2020, Ubisoft released a Rabbids-themed NFT experiment to benefit the charity UNICEF, letting users collect Rabbids and even steal them from other owners. The following year, Ubisoft collaborated with Web3 fantasy sports startup Sorare on One Shot League, a Sorare spinoff that utilized its existing Ethereum NFT soccer player cards.
Despite opposition from some gamers, Ubisoft has continued to invest in the NFT space. The company has supported NFT game projects like Axie Infinity and Nine Chronicles, and invested in firms like metaverse investment firm Animoca Brands and game maker Horizon. Last September, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that the firm was “still in research mode” with Web3 implementation, and that the company should have made it clearer to players that the Quartz NFTs in Ghost Recon Breakpoint were an experiment and a work-in-progress.
The release of Rabbids NFT avatars is the latest step in Ubisoft’s continued Web3 expansion. The company’s collaboration with cloud storage startup Aleph.im to develop fully decentralized smart contracts on Tezos is another example of its push into the crypto industry. While Ubisoft’s move into NFTs has not been without controversy, the company seems committed to exploring the potential of Web3 technology and incorporating it into its future games.