Video game retailer and memestock darling GameStop is making a big bet on NFTs and cryptocurrency technology. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the company has built a team of more than 20 people working on an online marketplace for its virtual items, including cosmetic skins and in-game items.
The company would court game developers and publishers to put NFTs on its marketplace, and hopes to negotiate deals with crypto firms to develop the underlying technology and help invest in games featuring NFT and blockchain technology. In total, the WSJ reports that GameStop’s investments in crypto could reach tens of millions, and that agreements have been signed with more than a dozen other companies.
A GameStop spokesperson did not immediately respond to Media Today Chronicles request for comment.
The plans are believed to be part of GameStop’s effort to turn its business around, which has been turned upside down in recent years as consumers turn away from physical releases and buy games digitally online. In December, the company’s CEO Matt Furlong (who joined the company from Amazon last year) said the company was exploring emerging technologies, and job postings related to Web3 and NFTs appeared earlier in October.
The WSJ notes that gamers are seen as potential early adopters for NFTs in particular, as they are already comfortable spending money on virtual goods such as cosmetic outfits and weapon skins. Square Enix and EA have publicly expressed an interest in exploring the technology, and Ubisoft launched an NFT platform late last year.
But until now, much of the response from gamers to in-game NFTs has been downright hostile, with many seeing them as of little value to the overall gameplay experience, representing a marketing exercise by companies that have for years liked virtual items without the need for blockchain technology. s.TALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl Developer GSC Game World was quick to backtrack on its NFT plans after receiving much criticism, while Valve has said it won’t allow games that use the technology on its game store Steam.
The WSJThe report comes about a year after GameStop found itself at the center of a trading frenzy as some day traders attempted to increase the stock price and punish shortsellers. But despite the investment and attempts to turn around, the company remains in dire financial straits. Last month, it reported that its losses were mounting despite some sales growth. The company’s stock price has fallen in the past month and a half, although CNBC reports that the share price has risen by more than 22 percent after the WSJ‘s report on his NFT plans.