Embattled North American video game retailer GameStop plans to build an NFT marketplace where players can buy, sell and trade NFTs and virtual in-game items, it is being reported.
According to The Wall Street Journal, GameStop is building an internal crypto division and has already hired 20 staff for this purpose. The marketplace is expected to launch later this year, and game companies are already being asked to offer their NFTs through it.
The report adds that GameStop is preparing agreements with two cryptocurrency companies, and these deals would help the retailer invest in games with crypto features to further strengthen its position. Sources add that in 2022 alone, GameStop could enter 'about a dozen or more' partnerships, with investments in this area reaching tens of millions of dollars.
A GameStop NFT site already exists, with the retailer appealing to 'content creators' to populate it with NFTs. It would seem that this new marketplace will be a bolder extension of this concept.
It's easy to see why GameStop is going big on NFTs and crypto; OpenSea, one of the world's leading NFT marketplaces, is now valued at $13.3 billion. Add to this the fact that the retailer is having to close physical stores due to the rise of digital downloads and it's easy to see why the stock market has reacted so positively to the report. According to Reuters, GameStop shares jumped 27 percent in the wake of the news.
NFTs continue to be a divisive concept. While the likes of Ubisoft, EA and Square Enix seem very keen on them, other companies – such as Sega – have taken steps to distance themselves from the idea after initially making positive comments, with the latter even going as far as to say it would reverse its plans for NFTs if public outcry was strong enough. NFTs and games with crypto features are currently banned on Valve's digital storefront Steam.
Meanwhile, Japanese veteran Konami has just jumped on board the NFT train with a selection of digital items which are intended to celebrate the 35th birthday of the iconic Castlevania series.