Gamestop Stock Breaks Record


Courtesy of The New York Times

Sara-James Ranta, Editor-In-Chief

With 2021 just beginning, January alone had some riveting events. By the end of it, everyone’s asking: what happened with Gamestop? Looking to become the next BlockBuster, Gamestop was headed for the ground less than a few weeks ago, with plans to close over 450 stores in response to the hard hit of COVID-19. That had all changed over the course of just two hours, according to the Washington Post, after shares in the stock market soared 145%, and Gamestop’s gain as a result also soared over 300%. 

For all those not involved in the market, the stock market is a public business of markets consisting of shares and exchanges, which according to Nerdwallet, represent small claims on businesses. Share prices depend on supply and demand, which correlates to the popularity of the business or how well the business is doing economically. If more people buy shares, the price of one share goes up. The more shares you buy, the more you’re investing in the company, and the more profit you might get in the long run (if your shares increase in price.) Lots of hedge fund managers (who use more risky, max-profits-minimal-risk ways of investing to get more return for their investments and the billionaires that hire them, this method of investing is very popular on Wall Street) shorted their Gamestop shares because of the slow fall of the company. Shorting shares is a process of buying shares and immediately selling them, in hopes to scoop them up at a lower price. According to, investors who do this return them to the lender and pocket the difference, but it is much riskier than buying stocks. 

However, the drama surrounding Gamestop started after a Reddit stock forum started pushing the buying of these shares, especially as the stock was so cheap before the surge. The stock was originally priced at $3.25, and as Reddit users started purchasing, it ended with one share priced at almost $150. The motivation to buy, according to Keith Gill, (one of the first Reddit forum movers on Gamestop) was the underlying potential of the dying company. According to Gill, the potential lies in “a big base of reward points members, an upcoming inflow of money from the release of the new console generation, and a new set of activist board members with a background in e-commerce. Once other people noticed, the price would go up.” 

The problem surrounding the surge was the trading platform the stocks were being purchased from. Robinhood, a popular trading app for retail investors, stopped the trading of Gamestop’s shares after the rise began. Robinhood not only blocked retail investors and manipulated trading activity, but allowed hedge fund managers to continue trading stocks freely. According to the lawsuit filed following the incident, and in an interview with Robinhood users, “Robinhood purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removed the stock [GME] from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock rise and thereby deprived retail investors of the ability to invest in the open-market and manipulating the open-market…the manipulation includes Robinhood slowing the growth of GameStop’s stock to manipulate the market for the benefit of people and financial intuitions who were not Robinhood’s customers”

In all honesty, Robinhood’s play towards big-name investors clearly shows how “in-the-bag” Wall Street has it with trading platforms, solely for their benefit. It comes as a surprise Robinhood would be influenced by the needs of others, ones who obviously control the market, after the app was released on the basis of encouraging user-friendly trading and beginners to make their start. 

Thus, what argument is justified? On one hand, Reddit forums collaborating together to push the buying of shares is stock manipulation and displaces the market. On the other hand, why punish the average Americans fluctuating the market when it’s rigged for large Wall Street hedge fund firms anyway? Even if the blame gets projected onto Reddit users, hedge fund managers are sure reaping the consequences of shorting their Gamestop shares. As of January 29th, according to Business Insider, short-sellers are looking at over 19 billion dollars lost after betting Gamestop would plunge. Are Reddit users just “playing the financial metagame?”