GameStop lays off staff and fires CFO, continues banking on blockchain

(Image credit: GameStop)

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, 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, with video editor and host of the Game Informer Show Alex Stadnik writing, "GI Show is canceled for the week. I have no fucking words."

According to another Reddit post 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, with chief accounting officer Diana Saadeh-Jajeh stepping into the role. Bloomberg reports that GameStop shares have fallen "more than 5% in extended trading" since the news broke. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.