After rocketing to meme stock status during the pandemic, GameStop’s wild ride has continued in 2022 as the company’s new leadership team sets out to transform the video game retailer into a “technology business and help create enduring value for stockholders.” In May, retail veteran and former Belk interim CEO Nir Patel joined as COO; a few months later CFO Michael Recupero was ousted for being “too hands off.”
The company clearly hopes that the launch of its NFT marketplace — which was the first major initiative announced by new CEO Matt Furlong after he took the helm in July 2021 — will be its “Netflix Moment,” the epic pivot that revives a flailing business and takes it to new heights.
The new NFT marketplace is built on the blockchain platform ImmutableX, home to some of the biggest Web3 games of the moment, including Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians and Illuvium. The platform also boasts 100% gas-free and carbon-neutral minting and trading.
The partnership between GameStop and ImmutableX extends beyond the marketplace into a number of other already-launched Web3 initiatives, including:
- The creation of a $100 million grant fund to drive new game pitches, signings and integrations from builders and creators;
- The integration of ImmutableX into the GameStop Wallet, providing players the ability to manage their funds and digital assets;
- A cross promotion with Immutable Games Studio’s Gods Unchained, giving GameStop loyalty members exclusive in-game access and perks.
“Our partnership with GameStop is an important step forward as Immutable brings the next billion players to Web3 gaming,” said Robbie Ferguson, President and Co-founder of ImmutableX in a statement. “Today’s launch of the GameStop NFT Marketplace means that we can now provide access to millions of additional NFTs and more of the top Web3 games being developed today while maintaining a best-in-class experience for players. We are excited to continue to deepen Immutable’s relationship with GameStop and are looking forward to building the future world of Web3 gaming together.”
In 2021 online users sent more than $44.2 billion of cryptocurrency through NFT marketplaces, up from just $106 million in 2020, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. With that kind of money in play, it will come as no surprise that GameStop is far from the only company getting in on the NFT action.
- In June 2022, eBay acquired NFT marketplace KnownOrigin in a bid to remain relevant to collectors. “eBay is the first stop for people across the globe who are searching for that perfect, hard-to-find or unique addition to their collection, and with this acquisition we will remain a leading site as our community is increasingly adding digital collectibles,” said Jamie Iannone, CEO of eBay in a statement at the time of the acquisition;
- Also in June, print-on-demand retailer Pixels.com launched a platform that will allow NFT owners to buy and sell NFTs as canvas prints, T-shirts, puzzles and other merchandise;
- This fall, electronics brand LG launched an NFT marketplace accessible on TVs, followed swiftly by a partnership with Web3 infrastructure platform Fr0ntierX to deliver interactive smart-screen NFT integrations and experiences; and
- Starbucks has made NFTs an integral part of its new loyalty program.