At Casual Connect Europe, Sebastien Borget announced that by the end of February, The Sandbox will be available for Windows Computers through the Steam platform.
Sebastien Borget is the COO and one of four co-founders of Pixowl. Borget manages Pixowl’s twenty-five member international team. He also supervises the production and marketing of the studio’s future titles, with emphasis on the currently most popular IP, The Sandbox. This is a social world-builder simulation game to craft virtual universes — but also retro games — in pixels using physics. Featuring a large collection of User-Generated contents, the title counts over 500,000 players creations and drags a community of 400,000 Fans on Facebook.
Using Games to Teach
In 2013, they began seeing young adults playing the game while waiting in public places, children asking parents to allow them to play the game, and teachers using the game in classrooms, then posting videos on YouTube of their methodology. Suddenly, the target market for the game became much clearer.
Pixowl now is focused on establishing this game as the reference for educational social gaming and making it the best world builder platform for the K – 12 audience. He insists, “We believe teachers can use the power of our physics simulator engine to let students experiment in a fun, creative, and collaborative way.” They plan to embrace EdTech and reach teachers, parents, and students, empowering them with an innovative platform for learning physics.
Great Experiences with F2P
One of the greatest moments for Pixowl came when Apple picked The Sandbox as one of the “Greatest Games of the Year” on the App Store in 2012. Borget tells us it was celebration time for the whole team, because it was totally unexpected and the result of persevering against all odds with a game idea they trusted.
Borget is seeing a bright future for his company and The Sandbox title; he believes as the game is becoming cross-platform, it will keep expanding even faster on its original success. “We are looking to build a game that will last 10 years or more.” Borget also adds that game design should be be taught at school “This is not just about playing a game, this is also about learning logics: thinking of resolving puzzles and using the laws of physics and attributes of objects to solve concrete problems. It seems so obvious to me now how The Sandbox can become a truly educative simulation game”.
He also values free-to-play because it offers developers the ability to create multiple experiences for the same game. The game play can be focused on providing fun for a variety of player profiles, from casual to hardcore gamers. He emphasizes, “It is not a pure coincidence that never before in video-gaming history have there been as many gamers, and free-to-play has become the dominant distribution model on mobile platforms.”
The problem with free-to-play has resulted from some studios abusing this economic model, conveying a bad image. There are now players who rate a game poorly simply because it is free-to-play with in-app purchases. Borget claims, “I want to make a free-to-play game so good that even people who think like this will change their minds.”
Living in a Digital World
He believes that mobile and tablets have already deeply changed the way we consume entertainment, the way we work, and the way we play. The next step is to change the way children and adolescents learn in a digital world. This will be a challenge, because the way teachers are using the internet in their classrooms has not changed much over the last decade. But he sees The Sandbox as an illustration of the great potential for growth in the educational and social area of the games industry.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.