Video game and electronics retailer GameStop has announced a partnership with blockchain developer Immutable to develop an NFT marketplace, as well as setting aside funding to attract developers.
GameStop, the gaming retailer at the center of a battle between Wall Street hedge funds and retail traders last year, has announced it is planning to launch its own NFT marketplace. The company made the announcement on Thursday in a press release, confirming retail traders suspicions and heralding a partnership with Immutable, using their platform built on the Ethereum blockchain.
“An NFT marketplace which can capitalize… on probably the most rabid fanbase in the world right now for any company is an exceptional move by them,” said Robbie Ferguson, Immutable’s co-founder and President on February 4 during Bankless livestream, a channel dedicated to crypto related news.
Indeed, it was the company’s fanbase that predicted that GameStop would be moving into the NFT and Web 3.0 space, after several job postings seeking experts in these fields were posted on the company’s hiring pages.
The marketplace announcement highlights GameStop’s transition from brick-and-mortar retailer to a modern consumer electronics organization that is beginning to dabble in cryptocurrency and technology, a pivot driven by the April 2021 appointment of Ryan Cohen as Chairman of the board. Cohen, a noted entrepreneur and investor of PetSmart fame, has driven a turnaround of the company, hiring top executives from Amazon and clearing GameStop’s debt.
The use of the Immutable X platform is aimed at reducing some of the drawbacks of Ethereum, such as high transaction fees or “gas fees” and environmental costs, with Immutable promising to pay carbon offsets for any environmental costs they do incur.
“The partnership establishes an up to $100 million fund in Immutable X’s IMX tokens, which the parties intend to use for grants to creators of non-fungible token (“NFT”) content and technology,” continued the press statement. The fund aims to provide game developers and studios grants to build products on the Immutable X platform and NFTs, using Immutable’s proprietary IMX tokens.
The marketplace announcement is the biggest news since the company became a highly-publicized “meme stock” battle between hedge fund short sellers and retail traders in early 2021, which saw the company’s share price skyrocket amidst increased volatility, and a generation of young traders on public forums such as Reddit following the company’s every move.
It remains to be seen GameStop’s transition to NFTs and Web 3.0 will ultimately be received, as many other gaming related NFT offerings from major game developers being met with intense backlash. The retailer’s primary business is largely still driven by consumer electronics and videogame sales, and it is as yet unknown what NFT’s the marketplace will feature – but, given the publicity of the company of the last year and the cult-like following it has engendered, any further developments are likely to be received with bated breath.