GameStop wants to create a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace and establish new cryptocurrency partnerships, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
The retailer has reportedly hired 20 people to run the unit, and hopes to build a virtual hub where people can buy, sell, and trade NFTs and other digital goods including game cosmetics.
The marketplace is apparently slated to launch later this year, and GameStop has seemingly already been contacting game developers to convince them to hock NFTs in the work-in-progress bazaar.
Although it's still a rumor at this point, the story was also picked up by CNBC, with one source close to the situation claiming GameStop has been working on its NFT project for months.
As noted by CNBC, the news has now caught the attention of investors, with GameStop shares rising more than 10 percent during morning trading on January 7, 2022, as rumors of the company's blockchain ambitions began to circulate.
NFTs and blockchain projects have become a divisive topic within the games industry. Major companies including Ubisoft, Sega, and Square Enix have already begun exploring the nascent space despite pushback from those worried about the environmental impact and credibility of such initiatives.
Other industry figures, however, appear more cautious amid the cacophony of NFT chatter. Last year, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the company was wary of "exploitative" NFT projects, while Valve has banned titles that use blockchain tech or feature NFTs from its popular Steam marketplace.