American brick-and-mortar video game retailer GameStop just added support for a new breed of NFTs on their marketplace, the result of a long-running partnership with Australian Web3 gaming unicorn Immutable X.
While the partnership between the two companies was announced in February this year, today was the day the video game retailer officially announced support for interactive, game-based NFTs on its platform, which runs entirely on the Immutable blockchain.
The Immutable X blockchain is a Layer 2 scaling solution for the Ethereum network. In simpler terms, this means that it sits on top of the Ethereum network but handles its own transactions, making it a good deal faster and more suited to lots of activity.
Immutable X games such as Gods Unchained, Ember Sword, and Guild of Guardians are some of the titles that will now see their interactive NFTs available for trading on the new GameStop marketplace.
These NFT-based items from Immutable’s games are wide-ranging and include things like digital trading cards, which play a crucial role in Gods Unchained, all the way to fully customisable plots of land from role-playing game Ember Sword.
Bringing the next billion players to Web3
In conversation with The Chainsaw, Jonathan Reedy, the VP of Strategic Partnerships for ImmutableX said that today’s move will help bring a massive amount of new players into the Web3 gaming industry.
“Today’s launch of the GameStop NFT Marketplace provides players with a one-stop shop to access millions of world-class NFT gaming assets that provide real utility and full digital ownership. In addition, we’ll have an opportunity to bring existing and soon-to-be launched gaming titles to Web3.”
Now, because many Web3 games aren’t exactly what you’d call “user friendly”, Reedy says that the games destined for success in the blockchain industry must be both easy to use and fun to play.
“The next billion players from Web3 are going to come from games where players have real economies and can trade assets without even knowing what the technology is under the hood.”
Reedy also said that while crypto asset prices have been declining, the numbers still point to a fairly bullish outlook of Web3 games.
“Despite a bear market environment in Web3 at large, Web3 gaming continues to buck the trend and has produced more investment in the past 18 months than in any years prior, with more than US$14 billion poured into Web3 gaming in the last two years,” he added.
“Players are seeing the value of true digital ownership and are starting to directly participate in the game economy and Immutable is leading the way in building this future.”
GameStop’s partnership with Immutable first hit the headlines in February with the firm announcing a US$100 million token incentive fund for Web3 game developers. Following this, GameStop then threw its weight behind blockchain games by taking part in a separate US$500 million fund with investment and grants for NFT and game creators using Immutable.
Before everyone jumps entirely on board the GameStop hype train, it’s worth noting that the GameStop NFT platform has technically been running since July. As such, it’s only witnessed around US$29 million in total trading volume over the three and a half months leading up to today’s launch, according to DappRadar. This isn’t fantastic when you compare it to a leading NFT marketplace like OpenSea which generated roughly US$303 million in trading volume in October alone.
With this in mind, GameStop’s move to start offering game-based NFTs is a significant step forward for the marketplace. It’s also taking steps to encourage consistent user activity on the platform, with the marketplace giving back 1% of its daily trading volume back to users in the form of Immutable’s native IMX token as a reward. It will also offer additional incentives to users who stake their IMX on the platform.
Immutable notably achieved ‘unicorn’ status when it obtained a US$2.5 billion valuation and $200 million in funding from firms including Chinese gaming company Tencent and prominent Hong Kong-based metaverse investor Animoca Brands.