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Meme Stock GameStop Bets Big On NFT And Crypto

GameStop plans to launch an NFT marketplace as part of a big turnaround plan.
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Meme stock meets Crypto. GameStop  (GME) - Get GameStop Corp. Class A Report, the video game retailer which has become one of the darling of retail investors, is betting big on the hot non-fungibles token (NFTs) and cryptocurrency technology in the hope of making a profit again.

The company has hired at least 20 people to work on an online marketplace for virtual items which could include avatars outfits, weapons, in-game items and domestic skins, according to The Wall Street Journal.

GameStop is also courting game developers and publishers to list NFTs on its online hub, and hopes to make partnerships with crypto companies to develop underlying technology and help invest in games featuring NFT and blockchain technology.

GameStop share were up 10% at last check on Friday morning.

The plans are part of GameStop's attempt to turnaround its business, which suffers from the fact that consumers buy games digitally online.

CEO Matt Furlong previewed this move in early December on the company's third quarter earnings call, saying that the video game retailer had been "exploring emerging opportunities" in the blockchain/NFT/web 3.0 gaming space. 

“It looks like GameStop’s launch in crypto is going to start with trying to be a leading marketplace for gaming NFT’s," Hedgeye Risk Management analyst Jeremy Mclean said in a note this week. "GameStop is one of the first real Retail brand names in this NFT space. We think there is a real commercial opportunity to being there.”

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Furlong said that the company had established "new and expanded relationships" with electronics heavyweights like Samsung, LG, Razer, Vizio, Logitech, and Asus, among others. 

The company made more than 200 senior hires from some of the top tech companies as part of that expanded network, but Furlong did not go into details about his company's future plans.

NFTs have become the hottest commodity of the crypto industry since last year as athletes and celebrities flock to the sector. Some NFT items reach millions of dollars.

McLean notes that OpenSea, the most popular NFT marketplace, did over 410 billion in transaction volumes in 2021 and averaged about $3 billion a month over the past three months. The company was valued at $13.3 billion this week. 

NFT adoption in gaming is certainly growing in popularity. 

Square Enix, the developer of the popular Final Fantasy video game series, recently announced plans to develop met averse, blockchain and to pursue opportunities within the NFT space.

But, the reaction of gamers has been so far hostile, with many seeing them as being of little value to the overall gameplay experience. GSC Game World, a developer of a popular game, abandoned its NFT plans in December after receiving a lot of criticism.