GameStop launches NFT marketplace beta

A store in Manchester, Connecticut in 2014, tags: marketplace - CC BY-SA

GameStop confirmed the long-awaited launch of its online marketplace for a non-fungible token on Monday. According to the company, the platform is a non-custodial Ethereum Layer 2-based marketplace that would allow gamers, creators, collectors, and other members of the community to purchase, sell and trade NFTs.

The sudden shift to cryptocurrency by GameStop has raised concerns, particularly now that cryptocurrency prices have been steadily falling, and the NFT market is reportedly on the verge of collapsing. The threat, however, does not appear to deter GameStop at this time.

“Although we have a lot of work ahead of us, this launch demonstrates the degree to which GameStop is transforming as we embrace change and pursue new areas of opportunity,” responded CEO Matt Furlong via email to GMEdd, a collective of the company’s retail investors, when questioned about the rationale behind the launch.

The launch of NFT Marketplace Beta

The marketplace, now in public beta, can connect to any digital asset wallet, including the recently launched GameStop Wallet, which the company released earlier in May. Beta users of GameStop’s NFT marketplace have had faster speeds and lower costs since March, as well as the ability to make deposits ahead of the full launch.

The launch is most likely a rebranding effort by the company to capitalize on consumer adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The platform had over 10,000 active trades within hours of its launch, indicating that the attempt appeared to be successful. In addition to the impressive number of initial transactions, one artist has already made over $100,000 in initial sales just hours after the beta began.

GameStop first revealed the NFT marketplace in February, along with a $100 million fund to tempt game developers to use it. For its launch, the company is collaborating with Immutable X, another Layer 2 protocol designed to reduce the gas fees associated with Ethereum transactions.

GameStop’s struggle to bounce back

GameStop has been experiencing financial difficulties for the past few years due to its massive real estate footprint and the gaming industry’s rapid shift online, and many wondered if GameStop’s crypto team was large enough to launch anything substantial to save the company’s bottom line.

The company is attempting to entice investors who may have previously dismissed GameStop as a trustworthy gaming retailer. According to an annual report, GameStop had 4,573 stores as of January 29, with 3,018 in the United States. It also owns EB Games and Micromania.

GameStop announced a four-to-one stock split for shareholders of record on July 18. With the company previously trading at around $135 per share, an investor with ten shares will now own 40 stubs, each worth only $33.75. Although the stock split decision has no impact on GameStop’s market value or valuation, it has become one of the most widely discussed topics on Reddit’s WallStreetBets subreddit.

Following the announcement of the stock split, the video game retailer fired its chief financial officer, Michael Recupero, and laid off an unspecified number of employees.