GameStop launches NFT marketplace
The online NFT platform is now open to the public for beta testing
By Shashank Bhardwaj
GameStop announced on Monday the launch of its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace. This move is being touted as a part of an attempt to reinvent GameStop’s business and capitalise on consumer adoption of crypto and blockchain technology. The release coincides with anticipated deadlines. The company previously stated that the anticipated marketplace release date would be by the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year 2022.
On the site, there are already 53,300 NFTs and 236 NFT collections listed. Though GameStop currently only supports NFTs created on its own platform, it includes collections from other marketplaces such as OpenSea.
The marketplace is described by the company as a “non-custodial, Ethereum Layer 2-based marketplace.” The marketplace is built specifically on the Loopring. The announcement from GameStop promotes the marketplace as a way to “truly own... digital assets” that are represented and secured on the blockchain. Users can connect various crypto wallets to the site, including the company's own GameStop Wallet.
Late last year, speculation began that GameStop, once a go-to for video games and consoles, then a meme investment, had evolved into its third form–an NFT marketplace. By late 2021, speculation had given way to confirmation, and as the new year began, the company began its staffing shift, hiring new team members with a focus on blockchain gaming, e-commerce and technology, product refurbishment and operations.
The marketplace is part of GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen's effort to broaden the company's offering of digital services and online products in order to turn around the struggling video-game retailer. However, the company is following in the footsteps of several others who entered the market before the boom in NFT speculation faded as the broader crypto markets came under severe pressure. Coinbase Global Inc., the largest crypto exchange in the United States, launched its own NFT marketplace earlier this year. KnownOrigin, an NFT marketplace, was purchased by eBay Inc. in June.
GameStop is undergoing a turnaround after several years of financial difficulties. This has been exacerbated in part by its massive real estate footprint and the video game industry's rapid shift online. Cohen, whose 2020 investment in GameStop fueled a so-called meme frenzy, was appointed to lead those turnaround efforts last year.
So far, the company's digital-first turnaround has been fraught with difficulties. GameStop fired Recupero and announced layoffs across departments last week. According to a person familiar with the situation, Recupero, who joined the retailer about a year ago, was “fired because he was not the right culture fit” and was “too hands-off”.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash