Tag Archives: NFTs

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.


Phishing Scam in Discord Separates People from their NFTs



I’ve seen people on Twitter, who are into cryptocurrency and who have those hexagon shaped avatars (that they had to pay for), praise the blockchain. There appears to be a widely held concept that the blockchain is safe because it cannot be changed.

Some of those people, who are in NFT focused Discords learned a lesson the hard way. Vice reported that the Discords of multiple NFT projects were hacked as part of a phishing scam to trick users into handing over their digital jpegs. This included the Discords for Bored Ape Yacht Club, Nyoki, Shamanz, Doodles, and Kaiju Kingz all of which were targeted.

Scammers put phishing posts into those Discords. According to Vice, the goal of the hack was to trick people into clicking on a link to “mint” a fake NFT by sending ETH and in some instances an NFT to wrap into a token. Motherboard viewed a message to that effect in a Discord that had a compromised bot.

Those who responded to the phishing post – in the hopes of being able to “mint” an NFT (that turned out to be fake) were unaware that they had fallen for a scam.

Vice provided the following explanation in their article:

Two wallet addresses have been tied to the hacks, now labeled Fake_Phishing5519 and Fake_Phishing5520 on blockchain explorer Etherscan. At least one Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT (a BAYC spinoff by developer Yuga Labs) was stolen and quickly sold by the 5519 wallet, which sent 19.85 ETH to the 5520 wallet.

The second wallet sent 61 ETH ($211,000) to mixing service Tornado Cash early Friday morning. The latest transaction is a transfer of ETH to a previously inactive wallet that then sent the same sum to an incredibly active wallet currently sitting on 1,447 ETH ($5 million), 6 million Tether coins ($6 million), and an assortment of other tokens.

The blockchain itself might be secure. Unfortunately, there will always be people who fall for an enticing phishing scam. Those unfortunate people won’t get their cryptocurrency or NFTs back.


Ubisoft Players Made it Clear they Don’t Want NFTs in Games



Ubisoft recently launched Ubisoft Quartz, which would enable Ubisoft to add NFTs into (at least some of) their games. The Ubisoft Quartz website specifically mentions Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which the company chose to start putting NFTs into.

It appears that the majority of people who play Ubisoft’s games were not happy about that decision. According to VideoGamesChronicle, “Ubisoft delisted its announce trailer for its Ubisoft Quartz platform, following overwhelming backlash that saw it receiving a dislike-like ratio of around 20:1”.

Here is a small piece from the VideoGamesChronicle post:

…While the number of viewer interactions has slowed as a result, it still continues to gain likes and dislikes, with the ratio growing ever wider.

At the time of writing, it now stands at 23,447 interactions, of which 1,018 are likes and 22,429 are dislikes.

This means just over 4% of viewers liked the video…

Ubisoft Quartz website is currently in beta. Part of the description states: “This is the place where you can acquire Digits, the first Ubisoft NFTs (non-fungible-tokens), playable in a HD game and relying on energy-efficient technology.” Ubisoft is offering three Digits for free, for a limited time.

What can you do with an Ubisoft NFT? Not much, it seems. Ubisoft appears to be trying to emphasize the “uniqueness of your Digit”. These come in limited editions with an ‘immutable” amount of items. Each Digit has a serial number that is displayed on the collectible and in-game item. According to Ubisoft, “only you have control of this Digit!”

Ubisoft also wrote: “Each Digit will also be tied to the player names of all its previous and current owners… bringing you fame for years to come!” In the FAQ section, Ubisoft stated: “Once you’re done playing with them, you can put them on sale on an authorized third-party marketplace. If it gets purchased by another Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint player, you would then be able to acquire a new one or use your proceeds as you see fit.”

To me, this all sounds sketchy. It feels like a money grab from Ubisoft, in the hopes that players will buy decorative in-game items. Ubisoft claims that the Tezos blockchain that Ubisoft Quartz is using is more energy-efficient than the Bitcoin blockchain. That doesn’t mean it is good for the environment! Ubisoft needs to rethink this idea.


Valve Bans Blockchain Games and NFTs on Steam



Valve has made an update to its “What You Shouldn’t Publish on Steam” list. That list includes things that one would hope game creators would know better than to publish in a game. It makes sense for Valve to spell things out very clearly, in order to avoid problems.

A new addition to the list disallows “Applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs”. I expect that some people will not be happy about this, especially those who built games involving one of both of those things.

For example, The Verge reported that this change was pointed out by SpacePirate_io, on Twitter, who appears to be the developer of a game called Age of Rust.

One of the tweets in SpacePirate_io’s thread says: “Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform. While I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future. It’s why I started this journey with all of you”.

According to The Verge, there have been some situations involving NFTs that have been sketchy. One example is the CS:GO skins and Team Fortress 2 hats. The Verge also notes the Evolved Apes saga, “where a developer sold NFTs with the promise that they’d be included in a fighting game but then seemingly took the money and ran.”

Where can developers of games that include blockchain or NFTs go? The answer appears to be Epic Games.

Epic Games CEO & Founder Tim Sweeney tweeted: “Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group. Though Epic’s not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”

In my opinion, welcoming games that use blockchain technology and NFTs could be a big gamble for Epic Games. That decision may cause people who play video games, and who dislike blockchain based games, to select games that don’t have that stuff in them. I’ve seen some tweets in which people encourage others to avoid buying games from companies that welcome the types of games that Valve has removed from Steam.