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GameStop has teamed up with Immutable X to launch a marketplace for nonfungible tokens (NFTs) later this year. Immutable and GameStop are also creating an up-to-$100-million fund dedicated to providing grants to game developers and studios to build on Immutable X and the NFT marketplace.

In doing so, it runs the risk of angering hardcore gamers and some game developers who have expressed their displeasure (to put it mildly) on social media that NFTs are either deceptive or a cash grab. It’s not clear how GameStop’s customers will react, as many are hardcore gamers who don’t seem to like NFTs, but many GameStonk investors (who pushed GME’s stock price to well over $100 on the strength of memes) have embraced radical new theories about ownership.

GameStop will use the liquidity platform of Sydney, Australia-based Immutable, which has built the Immutable X platform to power NFT marketplaces.

GameStop said that building on the Immutable X protocol will enable faster, more affordable, carbon-neutral, and nearly limitless transactions on GameStop’s NFT marketplace, which is being built for launching gaming developer-focused NFT projects.

To apply for grants, you can go to this site. Immutable X sits as a layer on the Ethereum protocol, which provides security for transactions on the transparent and secure digital ledger of the blockchain.

Immutable X will enable game developers to have high transactions rates and zero gas fees, or costs related to computing usage, for trading and minting NFTs in a carbon-neutral environment.

Part of the reason blockchain games and NFTs aren’t consumer friendly is because they incur big gas fees for transactions. Gas is the fee required to encourage the blockchain to process the transaction. If you have to pay a transaction fee of $50 to $500, then it defeats the purpose of doing a $5 NFT purchase.

Immutable X is getting four new games from Japan.
Immutable X is getting four new games from Japan.

GameStop claims that, up until now, developers have been challenged to create in-game items that players can truly own due to prohibitive gas fees. By building on Immutable X, GameStop is seeking to tap into Ethereum’s dominant and open ecosystem of NFTs without the high fees.

“Immutable is excited to be working with GameStop and leading gaming publishers to support genuine power to players. Gaming is now bigger than music and movies combined — but the time and value that gamers invest cannot be turned into real economic value. GameStop, in partnership with Immutable, has the potential to cement itself as the ultimate destination for the next paradigm of gaming; true in-game economies that enable permissionless ownership of in-game items and value players for their time,” said Robbie Ferguson, cofounder of Immutable, in a statement. “GameStop’s NFT marketplace will bring the power of an insanely strong community to its over 50 million users and every developer that launches on it, and our technology will make it faster, easier, and more affordable to do so – while being 100% carbon-neutral.”

The GameStop NFT marketplace, powered by Immutable X, will create significant opportunities for developers to create in-game, carbon-neutral economies in which gamers can buy, sell and trade in-game assets (e.g digital real estate, swords, skins).

Immutable X is built using StarkWare’s StarkEx zero-knowledge proof technology, which rolls up hundreds of thousands of transactions into one Ethereum transaction while positioning GameStop to secure their users’ digital assets directly on Ethereum. Any carbon footprint is then offset with certified climate-conscious partners Trace and Cool Effect, the companies said.

Existing partners on Immutable X include Gods Unchained (one of the top-three largest games on the blockchain by players), Guild of Guardians (a blockchain mobile RPG), Ember Sword, Playco, TikTok, Planet Quest, ESL Gaming, GreenPark Sports, and Illuvium.

I asked Ferguson what he thought of the resistance to NFTs by hardcore gamers.

In an email, Ferguson said, “The best thing to do is to create truly player-first gaming experiences that embrace the benefits, rather than the hype, of NFTs. Most importantly, the games have to be good – it’s play-and-earn, not play-to-earn. Gods Unchained, our trading card game, didn’t use the word ‘NFT’ for the first three years — we simply talked about the benefits players received, now they could sell or trade their card collection like you would Magic the Gathering or Pokemon cards. Until we can create amazing experiences without having to say ‘NFT,’ we’re not there.”

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