GameStop fires CEO who oversaw retailer’s NFT Push
by James · June 7, 2023
After two years with the company, GameStop CEO Matt Furlong has been dismissed, according to a statement released by the company today. Furlong oversaw the longtime retailer’s expansion into NFT collectibles via a marketplace for digital assets.
No replacement has been named yet, 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 Chewy.
Mark Robinson – formerly GameStop’s general counsel – has been appointed as the company’s day-to-day manager and “principal manager” per a 10-Q file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
GameStop’s share price has fallen approx. 19% in after-sales, per Google Finance, at a current price just above $21 per share. The stock price had hit a new high in 2023 above $26 per share today before the announcement.
Furlong joined GameStop from Amazon in June 2021, shortly after meme creates frenzy which rocketed the struggling retailer’s share price. The retailer had already teased plans to do something about it Ethereum just before his appointment, but eventually disclosed his NFT marketplace and launched the platform during his tenure.
GameStop opened the NFT marketplace in June 2022 just as the wider NFT market was losing momentum. Originally focused on digital collectibles such as art and Profile pictures (PFPs), the marketplace later added support for Web3 games built on Ethereum scaling network Immutable X.
The retailer initially saw some excitement around the launch, with around 3.5 million dollars worth of NFT sales within the first 48 hours, but trading on the platform appears to have fallen sharply since then.
Industry resource DappRadar stopped sharing GameStop NFT data due to lack of details regarding the Immutable X integration. GameStop’s own data missing invariant X sales. The website GMFT.xyz points to about $17.3 million in sales to date via the platform, 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 including a $100 million fund to provide token grants to game developers. However, GameStop faced controversy when it dumped for $47 million of IMX tokens it received in the no-hours deal after the February 2022 announcement.
In December of last year, Furlong said during an earnings call that the company would refocus on its core pillars of video games, pre-owned items and collectibles – and put less focus on NFT and crypto-related efforts.
He said GameStop — which faced several rounds of layoffs during Furlong’s tenure — “will not risk meaningful shareholder capital in this area,” referring to the crypto industry, according to the video game publication GameSpot.