Stonks are so 2021—GameStop is now the latest big gaming brand to wander heedlessly into the grift-cum-minefield of NFTs. Today the bricks-and-mortar retailer announced an NFT marketplace to launch later this year. “Building on the Immutable X protocol will enable faster, more affordable, carbon-neutral and nearly limitless transactions on GameStop’s NFT marketplace, which is being built for launching gaming developer-focused NFT projects,” says the press release.
Interesting how all the announcements now bend over backwards to try and make these things seem green, when anything that’s a part of this ecosystem is as environmentally unfriendly as it comes.
This project comes with the usual guff about creating “in-game items that players can truly own” and how developers will build “in-game, carbon-neutral economies in which gamers can buy, sell and trade in-game assets (eg digital real estate, swords, skins).” Yep I’m sure.
“GameStop, in partnership with Immutable, has the potential to cement itself as the ultimate destination for the next paradigm of gaming; true in-game economies that enable permissionless ownership of in-game items and value players for their time,” said Robbie Ferguson, co-founder of Immutable. “GameStop’s NFT marketplace will bring the power of an insanely strong community to its over 50 million users and every developer that launches on it, and our technology will make it faster, easier, and more affordable to do so – while being 100% carbon-neutral.”
I headed over to r/wallstreetbets—the subreddit largely credited with the GameStop stock surge and stonks memes—to see how this had gone down. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Venn diagram of investors and crypto schemes has substantial overlap, and it’s actually being welcomed. “Great news overall and GME is going to be making lots of loot this year once the NFT market is open” runs a fairly typical comment from lotlthgaint.
Hey, maybe they know something we don’t. We’ll have to wait and see whether GameStop bulls through the inevitable backlash from others, or join the ranks of companies announcing NFT partnerships—and just as quickly abandoning them.
Rich is a games journalist with 15 years’ experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as “[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike.”