GameStop began another big round of layoffs yesterday, which included the firing of its own chief financial officer, with reports of more than 150 employees laid off, including key staff at Game Informer, the beleaguered magazine and website that have been the target of cuts before. this.
All of this is in service of GameStop’s new plan to invest big in an increasingly unstable space, web3, blockchain and NFTs.
The blockchain was at the center of a leaked internal memo sent by CEO Matt Furlong:
“Change will be a constant as we scale our business and launch new products through our blockchain group…These changes will allow us to operate profitably as we execute our strategy of continued sales growth in our business. commercial and new product launches that empower customers in the digital asset and web3 gaming verticals.”
GameStop has launched its own crypto wallet and plans to launch an NFT marketplace just as NFT trading volume has dropped by around 90% in recent months, according to some reports. GameStop seems to think that the same kinds of people who made it a “meme store” will get big on the web3 concept, although that all seems a long way from what was the company’s core concept, a store that sells video games with value-added assets like an enthusiast magazine. It also feels a bit like diving headfirst into a swimming pool that has just been almost completely drained of water.
Tweets from Game Informer staff have been pretty heartbreaking to watch over the past day as their jobs are sacrificed in pursuit of this nebulous blockchain dream:
It’s unclear how many Game Informers are left, as he’s already been cut before this in previous layoffs. Besides GI and the CFO, reports indicate that entire teams like the Data Integrity Approval team have been laid off.
Since GameStop was effectively like the video game version of Blockbuster as everything went digital, their continued survival has been something of a continual miracle over the past decade as they pivot and pivot and pivot to try to retain some semblance of relevance. Seems like just yesterday some kind of grand plan was announced to make stores a destination for in-person gaming and esports, now it’s a huge investment in blockchain which seems like an even bigger prospect risky.
It’s ill-advised to predict GameStop’s impending doom, considering they’ve managed to survive for so long. But at the same time, it also seems misguided for GameStop to believe that crypto and NFTs are going to be their saving grace given the current realities of these rapidly unraveling markets. We’ll see what happens.
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