The crossover episode that both r/WallStreetBets and Crypto Twitter apes have long anticipated is finally in sight. GameStop announced that they expect to launch the GameStop NFT marketplace “by the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2022” during their Q4’FY22 earnings call. Since GameStop reports with the calendar year, this means a launch before June 30, 2022.
GameStop, the poster child of the meme stock mania that began dominating headlines in early 2020, had been hinting at an NFT initiative since early 2021. Last April, GameStop published a job posting for an analyst skilled in crypto and NFTs. Then in May, GameStop launched a teaser site indicating that their crypto project would be built on Ethereum. It was still unclear what they were building, but the explosive combination of GameStop + NFT sparked apes’ imaginations.
What Do we Know About GameStop NFT?
GameStop’s crypto and NFT ambitions became more clear when they announced their partnership with ImmutableX last month. The partnership entails a $100MM fund to incentivize gaming studios to build on the GameStop NFT platform.
Taking a step back, ImmutableX is an Ethereum-based layer-2 for NFTs, and uses StarkWare’s scalability engine, StarkEx. Immutable also developed the popular NFT game Gods Unchained, which is clearly relevant to the vision of GameStop NFT. You can read more here about the different approaches to ETH scaling and the benefits of L2 rollups.
GameStop also indicated it has “hired dozens of additional individuals with experience in areas such as blockchain gaming, ecommerce and technology, product refurbishment and operations” in its earnings release. This expansion into NFTs is the latest in a series of bold initiatives for the company. Ryan Cohen, co-founder of Chewy, rose to become Chairman of GameStop’s board after a vocal activist campaign. Cohen, along with CEO Matt Furlong, are the driving forces behind GameStop’s digital transformation and tech-centric repositioning.
A Match Made in Heaven
With just a few months until the end of Q2 2022, GameStop NFT will be launching soon – and its timing is impeccable. The recent NFT mania, underscored by the launch of ApeCoin, is the spiritual successor to the meme stock mania from two years ago. GameStop was the original instance of an online community, r/WallStreetBets, diamond-handing their way to monetizing their community. Community members of NFT collections like BAYC are analogous to the r/WallStreetBets apes in many ways; it’s only logical that GameStop would decide to combine both worlds.