GameStop Launches NFT Marketplace After Laying Off Workers

GameStop fired its top executive and other layoffs at Game Informer. An article on Game Informer, posted on July 8, 2022, stated that GameStop “which is in the process of pivoting its business around crypto” fired one of its top executives and laid off a number of Game Informer staff.

In a filing with the US government, GameStop said it “terminated” CFO Michael Recupero effective immediately. Recupero started as GameStop CFO just about a year ago in June 2021.

In its filing, GameStop said Recupero was fired “without cause,” but the company did not share any further details around the nature of circumstances of his existence. Recupero is not getting a severance payment beyond what was in his initial offer letter but he is entitled to certain pay, rights, and benefits not disclosed in the filing.

CNN reported, from a GameStop memo it obtained, CEO Matt Furlong wrote: “After making more than 600 corporate hires in 2021, and the first half of 2022, we have a stronger understanding of our transformation needs.” He continued, “This has positioned us to right-size headcount across several corporate departments”.

Kotaku reported: While confirmation of the layoffs began pouring in on LinkedIn, it’s not yet clear how many are affected. The layoffs appear to be focused on GameStop’s Grapevine, Texas, headquarters, but all appear to include some staff at Game Informer, the decades-old gaming magazine acquired by the retailer when it bought Funcoland back in 2000.

Wikipedia says that GameStop started with Babbages, a Texas company that was founded in 1984. in October of 1999, Barnes & Noble Booksellers purchased Babbage’s Etc. for $215 million. In May of 2000, Barnes & Noble acquired Funco (which may explain why there were so many Funco Pops in the Barnes & Noble stores). In addition, Barnes & Noble acquired Game Informer, a video game magazine that was first published in 1991. Funco was renamed GameStop, Inc., in December of 2000.

The New York Times reported (in October of 2004) that Barnes & Noble decided “to spin off its majority stake in GameStop, a retailer of video games.”

GameStop has launched an NFT Marketplace, the long-awaited debut of its online marketplace for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, in a bid to reinvent its business and cash in on consumer adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. CNBC reported on July 11, 2022.

According to CNBC, GameStop’s platform, which is now open to the public for beta testing, allows users to connect their own digital asset wallets, including the recently launched GameStop Wallet, the company said in a press release. They will then be able to buy, sell, and trade NFTs of virtual goods. Over time, the marketplace will expand to offer other features such as Web3 gaming, GameStop said.

CNBC noted: The company is trying to win over investors who may have written GameStop off as a legacy retailer with too many store fronts in outdated shopping malls. Now, the company is “tapping into buzzy areas like NFTs for growth”.

Personally, I don’t see GameStop becoming the next big thing for those who want to not only collect NFTs, but also want to stick around for some NFT-connected games. I don’t think GameStop will be able to compete with OpenSea.