GameStop fires CEO who oversaw retailer’s NFT push
by James · June 7, 2023
This story comes from GG.
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After two years with the company, GameStop CEO Matt Furlong has been terminated, according to a statement from the company today. Furlong oversaw the longtime retailer’s expansion into NFT collectibles through the digital asset marketplace.
No replacement has yet been named, but the company has named billionaire investor and chairman Ryan Cohen as its executive chairman. Cohen is the founder and former CEO of online pet supply store Chewie.
Mark Robinson — formerly General Counsel at GameStop — has been named general manager and “principal executive” of the company, according to a 10-Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
GameStop’s stock price has plunged nearly 19% in after-hours trading, according to Google Finance, putting its current price above $21 per share. Prior to the announcement, the stock price had hit new 2023 highs above $26 per share today.
Furlong joined GameStop from Amazon in June 2021, shortly after the meme stock craze that drove up the struggling retailer’s stock price. The trader had teased plans to do something on Ethereum right before his appointment, but eventually revealed his NFT marketplace and launched the platform during his tenure.
GameStop opened the NFT marketplace in June 2022 just as the broader NFT market was losing momentum. Initially focused on digital collectibles such as artwork and profile pictures (PFP), the marketplace later added support for Web3 games built on the Ethereum scaling network Immutable X.
The retailer initially saw some excitement around the launch, with nearly $3.5 million in NFT sales within the first 48 hours, but trading on the platform has quickly declined.
Industry resource DappRadar stopped sharing GameStop NFT data due to the lack of details regarding the Immutable X integration. GameStop’s own data lacks Invariant X sales. The site points to $17.3 million worth of sales through the GMFT.xyz platform so far, but it’s unclear if that data is complete.
GameStop’s NFT push was bolstered by a partnership with Immutable, the game publisher and Web3 startup behind Immutable X, which included a $100 million fund to provide token grants to game developers. However, GameStop faced controversy when it relinquished the $47 million IMX tokens received in the deal without announcing a February 2022 date.
Last December, during an earnings call, Furlong said the company would refocus on its core pillars of video games, pre-owned items and collectibles – and focus less on NFT and crypto-related endeavors.
He added that GameStop — which faced several rounds of layoffs during Furlong’s tenure — “doesn’t want to risk shareholder capital in a meaningful way in this space,” referring to the crypto industry, according to video game publication GameSpot.
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