GameStop decided to meet the gamers where they live today, opening a new Discord server where thousands are coming together under the enriching banner of a video game retailer. The community launched without a filter, as evidenced by a torrent of the n-word flooding chat on Tuesday night. The moment I first peeked into the server, several hours after launch, was precisely when one particular user was successfully halting all conversation with an unending spam of “CLITTYS.”
I’ve refreshed throughout Tuesday night, and events on GameStop’s Discord remain somewhat hectic. Chat has improved enough to have the occasional coherent thought or vague conversation, they’re just peppered with outbursts of dicks and poop. Given media attention revolving around the GameStop server’s unruly state earlier on Tuesday, it seems possible that someone at GameStop HQ will become aware that a ruckus has unfolded under the company name. Hopefully, then, it’s just a matter of time before moderators set everything straight. While you’d think that a gaming company would be familiar with the concept of trolls, stuff like this happens all the time, unfortunately.
But let me ask you something. What, exactly, would a person want from a GameStop Discord server? The value proposition for GameStop is obvious; a Discord channel could be a great way to share promotions and products of interest, perhaps tempting someone to make a purchase. And sure enough, the Discord has channels that the company is using to share branded content, like YouTube videos. For users, the appeal is less straightforward.
Would you go into a GameStop server to find a gaming buddy when there are dedicated Discords for specific popular games? Probably not, right?
But maybe you’re looking for a place to talk about video games? Strange choice, but plausible. GameStop did announce the whole thing by suggesting that it could be a place to connect with other obsessed gamers. But if GameStop truly intends to give users a place to talk games, and by extension about places that sell video games, then it has to host folks strategising on how to best save money at GameStop’s own expense. Or worse, complain about GameStop and its business practices for trade-in games. I observed both in equal measure.
“GameStop is literally the worst shop you can go to to get video games stuff,” one Discord denizen noted. Likely, anyone looking to save some bucks will choose to frequent places [like] CheapAssGamer or Wario64 over GameStop itself. So if you’re not there for deals and you’re not there for games, what are you there for?
For some, it was obviously boredom. Nothing about being on a GameStop server sounds particularly cool or enticing, but during a pandemic, anything is welcome as a distraction.
But the most overwhelmingly common type of GameStop Discord user I observed on Tuesday night was memesters. It’s usually hard to capture the pulse of any chat that’s popping off, but the continued appearance and wide variety of Among Us twerking emotes along with the constant stream of rocket ship emojis spoke for itself. Whether ironically or earnestly, GameStop’s Discord server seems to be where people go to repeatedly type “stonks” at each other with the assurance that others will find it funny for the millionth time. This is the community birthed in the wake of the $GME blow-up, and these wayward souls finally have an official place to congregate that’s not r/wallstreetbets and its many offshoots.
By midnight, much of the chat had started discussing whether or not the new Discord needed a dedicated stocks channel. Some were for the idea, because, as one Discord dweller noted, memes were plaguing the chat. “It’s a losing battle on every side to completely shut off stonk talk, but containing it channel-wise is good,” they wrote.
Others were sceptical, obviously wanting to distance themselves from folks running a joke ragged. “Stonk talk 24/7 might not be healthy for the brand,” another wrote. As of this writing, GameStop has not created a stocks channel. Nevertheless, the gamers persist.