From the makers of Console Wars comes the origin story of the Gamestop stock market phenomenon, featuring exclusive access to the original players who lit the fuse on a historic amateur investor uprising. Spotlighting the human side of a sensational business drama, Gamestop: Rise of the Players is a David vs. Goliath tale about ordinary people waking up to the power they have in numbers.
The date was January 11, 2020. COVID-19 was making its presence felt worldwide and the country could feel a shift on the horizon. Personally, the first thing that came to mind was the supply chain (countries were just starting to shut down). I thought, “getting a PlayStation 5 is going to be a nightmare if everything shuts down… I need an ‘in’ with a supplier.” That’s when I started building a relationship with my local GameStop and my interest in their stock began.
Like the majority at the time, I was not shy about trashing the video game retailer whenever I had the chance. There are copious memes about their trash customer service and their distasteful valuation of video game trades. But, I had just a smidgen of confidence that they would fare well against odds in November of that year because of the console launches (PS5 and Xbox Series S/X). When I looked up their stock (I’ll never forget this) it was a paltry $2.88. Living by the age-old advice of “buy low, sell high!” I jumped in and never looked back.
What took place a year later in 2021 could never have been predicted. One of the most hated retail stores in America was the top story on every news network in the country. That same stock that I had bought at $2 had risen to over 2500% in value thanks to a larger-than-life short squeeze. On my end, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, but there was a small group of hopefuls who could see this financial eruption taking shape from a mile away.
Justin Dopierala, Rod Alzmann, Dmitriy Kozin, Farris Husseini, and Jenn Kruza are a few of the names you’ll become familiar with. This cache of online investors saw the potential that GameStop had from the beginning. Shrugged off and pushed aside by most online groups, fate brought them together in the comments section of the now infamous YouTuber, “Roaring Kitty”.
What started as a random group of online investors quickly grew into a nationwide phenomenon. A financial war between the everyday retail investor and hedge funds was beginning to take shape, and in the end, the hedge funds took a shellacking. Thanks to WallStreetBets, Twitter, and a host of other social media platforms, the general public had launched a full-scale attack on Wall Street.
I give Gamestop: Rise of the Players a 9 out of 10. This documentary does an excellent job of explaining everything that took place down to the minute details. Loaded with interviews and insight, you can’t help but be drawn in with intrigue. A guest whose face I was shocked to see was that of Andrew Left, a man who quickly became internet enemy #1 after trashing GameStop in videos and interviews nationwide. It’s absolutely amazing that all of this took place in just over a year and the documentary was put together in six months.
Gamestop: Rise of the Players is in theaters now.
Photos: Courtesy of NEON