GameStop hopes launching NFT marketplace will keep meme profits alive

The original meme stock company is looking to expand profits in any way possible.

A couple walks past the entrance to the Game Stop store inside a shopping mall in Edmonton.
On Thurs...
NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

GameStop, which is now less of a video game retailer than it is a meme company, says it’s planning to launch its new NFT marketplace as soon as Q2 2022, which means it could be live as soon as two weeks from writing this.

The announcement came as part of GameStop’s Q4 2021 financial report. The company’s net sales were up about $100 million year-over-year, though the company’s expenses increased during the period, leaving it with a loss of $147.5 million.

Naturally, GameStop wanted to slip something to look forward to into its financial report — hence the NFT marketplace news. It’s officially entered into a partnership with Immutable X, a company that essentially helps other companies get themselves set up on the blockchain. GameStop’s recently created NFT division will work alongside Immutable X to keep the marketplace up and running.

The NFT news wasn’t enough GameStop’s stock from falling nearly 10 percent upon the financial report’s release. Since, though, the company’s stock is actually higher than before the announcement. (It’s still down more than 50 percent since this time last year.)

But…why? — Here’s the simple answer: GameStop is scrambling to make itself relevant again. NFTs are just buzzy enough to provide some hope that the company can do just that.

GameStop came into a massive amount of capital during the meme stock rage of 2021; by the end of the year, its value had increased nearly tenfold. The tricky part about this meme-induced stock is using it to actually secure the company’s future.

Physical game sales, once GameStop’s bread and butter, continue to decline year after year, making that revenue source a dead-end in terms of growth, especially as COVID-19 continues to affect in-person shopping. An NFT marketplace sounds out of place for GameStop, but crypto is very in right now. Without many other options, it’s honestly not the worst idea in the world, as far as profits go. Maybe.

Is it too late? — This Immutable X partnership isn’t even the end of GameStop’s crypto aspirations. It’s also rumored to be signing partnership deals to invest in developing games that utilize the blockchain. GameStop’s reportedly in talks with at least a dozen other crypto companies, too.

Whether or not GameStop’s crypto plan actually pans out will depend greatly on not just its content but also on its timing. Getting its NFT marketplace up and running as quickly as possible is definitely the right move because cryptocurrency as a whole — and, more narrowly, NFTs — stands on very shaky ground. In the last few weeks alone we’ve seen waning enthusiasm for NFTs and broad crypto sell-offs. More people than ever seem not to trust blockchain-based systems.

Companies with big name recognition are getting into the NFT game now not because they love the technology but because it’s a trendy way to increase profits. Just take a look at LimeWire and RadioShack’s crypto projects if you need more evidence.