GameStop, Immutable X Plot Ethereum Gaming NFT Marketplace, $100M Fund



In brief

  • GameStop will use the Immutable X layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum to power its upcoming NFT marketplace.
  • The partners have established a fund to incentivize game developers with up to $100 million in total IMX token grants.

GameStop’s long-teased NFT plans are finally coming to light. Today, the video game retailer revealed that it has chosen Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution Immutable X as the technology for its upcoming marketplace and that the companies have established a $100 million token incentive fund focused on NFT gaming.

We knew that GameStop planned to build in the Ethereum space, as its teaser site launched in May 2021 showed an Ethereum logo, but it wasn’t clear how the retailer planned to tap into the leading NFT ecosystem.

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Immutable X works on top of the Ethereum blockchain and is designed specifically for token-driven video games and NFT-based projects. It inherits the security of the Ethereum mainnet, but it can handle a much larger volume of transactions at much lower costs, with a significantly smaller environmental footprint in the process.

Essentially, Immutable X takes upwards of hundreds of thousands of transactions handled on its own blockchain and then rolls them up and commits them to Ethereum’s mainnet. Immutable X is based on StarkWare’s zero-knowledge proof technology.

GameStop’s marketplace will focus on NFT items that can be used within games, such as those with a play-to-earn model.

“This is a huge leap forward for the gaming industry and blockchain,” Immutable co-founder and CEO Robbie Ferguson told Decrypt. “It is further validation that NFTs and blockchain have tremendous utility and are reaching a much broader audience.”

Unpacking the $100 million fund

The companies have established a fund that will provide up to $100 million to help yield the next wave of NFT-fueled video games.

Ferguson told Decrypt that the fund will provide grants of Immutable X’s IMX token to studios that build on the platform and use GameStop’s marketplace—to “attract the best developers and studios and accelerate mass adoption,” said Ferguson.

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“Immutable and GameStop are focused on incentivizing long-term gaming projects, where AAA or high-quality studios are trying to build games that are enjoyable to both play and earn,” he explained. “The future of gaming is one where digital property rights are inherent—but the games still have to be fun.”

An NFT acts like a deed of ownership for a unique digital item, and while digital artwork and profile pictures have been prominent use cases, NFTs can also represent in-game items.

For example, leading Ethereum game Axie Infinity has playable monsters and land plots as tradeable NFTs, while gaming giant Ubisoft recently launched Tezos-based weapons and skins for its online shooter, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

The wider NFT market generated $23 billion in trading volume last year, per data from DappRadar, and is already yielding record-breaking sales in 2022.

Immutable X is already used for its own Gods Unchained card-battling game, as well as upcoming crypto games Guild of Guardians and Ember Sword, plus projects from social video app TikTok, esports tournament organizer ESL Gaming, and more.

“Until now, developers have been challenged to create in-game items that players can truly own due to prohibitive [Ethereum] gas fees,” Furguson said. “By building on Immutable X, GameStop is seeking to tap into Ethereum’s dominant and open ecosystem of NFTs, creating massive opportunities for participation and liquidity.”

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that GameStop had hired a team of more than 20 people for its NFT project.

In November, competing scaling solution Loopring was speculated to be GameStop’s choice to power its NFT marketplace, due to apparent references in Loopring’s code and other purported leaks. Loopring’s token price tripled in value at the time.

However, even if GameStop really was flirting with other providers, Immutable X’s technology will ultimately power its NFT marketplace. It’s expected to launch sometime later this year.


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