r/WallStreetBets is already having a ball with GameStop's latest news. The company said it will launch an NFT marketplace (of course this is happening) by the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, which is set for July.
GameStop gave few details about the marketplace aside from saying it had hired "dozens" of people "with experience in areas such as blockchain gaming, e-commerce and technology, product refurbishment and operations." The company officially announced the marketplace in early February, with the new details coming to light on its fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday.
GameStop teamed up with Australian gaming company Immutable X to get the marketplace and NFT ambitions off the ground. The duo announced a $100 million fund for NFT gamers, and Immutable X vowed there would be zero gas fees for minting and trading NFTs to keep costs low. The startup is also providing GameStop with $150 million in IMX tokens for reaching certain milestones.
There have been rumors about GameStop's NFT plans for some time now. Last year, Redditors found a site saying the company was hiring engineers to build an Ethereum-based NFT platform. Soon, it will be here. But not everyone is convinced GameStop can pull off its new direction. Former GameStop board member Reggie Fils-Aimé blasted the move. “You can go on the GameStop website. Try and find a strategy. There is no articulated strategy,” Fils-Aimé said during a recent SXSW panel. Redditors claiming to be GameStop employees took the company's subreddit last month following the initial announcement to blast GameStop's plans as well, bemoaning the lack of merit raises.
But it was, of course, inevitable that the company at the center of one of the wildest financial stories of the past few years would dive into NFTs. GameStop's stock became a proxy for tug-of-war between Redditors and hedge funds early last year, putting the flailing video game retailer square in the middle of the cultural zeitgeist. NFTs exploded around the same time, and so it's only fitting that this unholy alliance has come to pass.
GameStop is not alone in its Web3 ambitions. Salesforce is working on an NFT cloud service — despite workers' discontent, given the climate damage proof-of-work blockchain transactions cause — and Spotify has posted two positions for Web3 experts. Other gaming companies have tried getting into NFTs too, with generally negative reactions. Ubisoft employees called their company's crypto plans "embarrassing," and GSC Game World scrapped its NFT project after backlash from fans and collaborators.
GameStop announced its timeline for the marketplace as it reported a quarterly loss yesterday. The company's shares fell 7.6% in the premarket this morning. Here's hoping r/WallStreetBets provides more long-term attention to GameStop's NFT marketplace.