NFTs v The World: How GameStop Calms Concerns About Them
Outside of the crypto space, people seem to hate non-fungible tokens (NFTs). At least, this is possible to assume when on social media platforms, or when stumbling upon a report by a mainstream media outlet. In the gaming industry, this animosity seems more pronounced.
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In a report from Venture Beat, published by Jeff Grubb, gaming retailer GameStop is said to be facing backlash from its employees on its new corporate strategy. Three weeks ago, the company announced the launch of its own NFT marketplace.
Part of an attempt to capture the value it acquired during 2021 when a wave of retail investors pushed its stock price from $15 to an all-time high of $500, GameStop has been trying to integrate digital assets into its business model. In December, the company started accepting Dogecoin and Shiba Inu as valid payment methods.
However, its integration with NFTs has created concerns from employees that believe it will “lead to anger among customers”, as Grubb wrote. In past months, other gaming companies have had to either push back on their NFTs strategies or address players’ anger towards the digital assets.
For many gamers, NFTs could enable new ways for companies to boost microtransaction and to benefit further from a strategy that fails to improve their experience. Others seem to believe digital assets and cryptocurrencies are contributing to global warming due to their alleged high energy consumption.
In order to mitigate these concerns, GameStop’s Vice President of Store Experience Cristopher Harkness talked to store associates about their new digital strategy. The executive said current opposition is comparable to when gaming companies introduced their free-to-play and microtransactions model.
Replying to the reason behind GameStop’s digital asset strategy, Harkness said:
NFT and blockchain are new technologies to many gamers but show that they may be the next big evolution in gaming. Regarding scams and energy concerns, there’s an opportunity for a company to overcome these challenges to make the next step in the evolution of gaming.
Will Players Come Around And Embrace NFTs?
The executive emphasized that digital assets are a part of the company’s business strategy for 2022. However, their top priority remains at improving the consumer experience when shopping at their physical stores.
As Bitcoinist reported back in January, gaming giant Ubisoft believes the initial backlash towards NFTs is temporary. This position, similar to the one expressed by GameStop, could easily represent the entire gaming industry, or a large portion of it, which seems determined to integrate NFTs into their products.
In an interview with Finder, Nicolas Pouard Vice-President At Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovations Lab, and Head of the company’s NFT initiative, said the following on what gamers supposedly don’t get about these digital assets:
I think gamers don’t get what a digital secondary market can bring to them. For now, because of the current situation and context of NFTs, gamers really believe it’s first destroying the planet, and second just a tool for speculation. But what we [at Ubisoft] are seeing first is the end game. The end game is about giving players the opportunity to resell their items.
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At the time of writing, GameStop (GME) trades at $118 with a 2.86% loss on the daily chart.
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