US videogame retailer GameStop has fired Mike Recupero, its chief financial officer, and begun laying off an unspecified number of staff. In an internal memo leaked to Reddit (opens in new tab), CEO Matt Furlong wrote, "Change will be a constant as we evolve our commerce business and launch new products through our blockchain group."
The company's pivot to blockchain began earlier this year, when GameStop announced it was launching an NFT marketplace and then launched its own crypto wallet. Furlong's memo goes on to say, "These changes will enable us to operate in a profitable manner as we execute against our strategy of pursuing sales growth in our commerce business and launching new products that empower customers within the digital asset and web3 gaming verticals."
The timing for GameStop's shift to a focus on blockchain and "the digital asset and web3 gaming verticals" hasn't been great, however, with cryptocurrency markets collapsing to their lowest levels in years, and other companies racing to distance themselves from it. Meta just dumped its crypto wallet, for instance.
As well as GameStop staff, employees of Game Informer, the magazine acquired by GameStop in 2000, appear to have been laid off. Though no official announcement has been made, Game Informer's staff have tweeted about canceled podcasts (opens in new tab), with video editor and host of the Game Informer Show Alex Stadnik writing (opens in new tab), "GI Show is canceled for the week. I have no fucking words."
According to another Reddit post (opens in new tab) about the layoffs, "nobody let go from the NFT team."
GameStop's only official communication has been the announcement of a new chief financial officer (opens in new tab), with chief accounting officer Diana Saadeh-Jajeh stepping into the role. Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports that GameStop shares have fallen "more than 5% in extended trading" since the news broke.