Activision's stock price (ATVI) rose by 4.7% in Friday's trading following the announcement of sales figures for its latest game release - Call of Duty: Black Ops II. In only the first 24 hours of sale, the company's newest game generated over $500 million in retail sales. This is a new first-day record for the franchise and compares favorably to last year's edition, which generated $400 million in first day sales and $1 billion in the first 16 days. As a frame of reference, the new blockbuster Bond movie, Skyfall, has generated $500 million in global sales since its international release in late October.
While it's difficult to extrapolate results from one day of sales, the record numbers are indicative of ATVI's ability to successfully exploit its Call of Duty brand with a product that creates considerable buzz among gamers. After nine years since the original Call of Duty release, the franchise appears stronger than ever.
Reviews have been very good, though not as high as some of the previous iterations. GameRankings.com, a site that consolidates the ratings of a number of credible reviewers, has assigned it a score of 86 out of 100.
Friday's news release reinforces one of the most attractive aspects of the video game business, the ability to develop a franchise which delivers consistent results on an annual basis. Across a number of game franchises, ATVI has demonstrated strong product loyalty with its user base. The predictable annual release of new versions of a game is almost equivalent to a product or service with a recurring revenue stream.
ATVI is currently selling at a P/E ratio of just 11.0 times next 12-month consensus estimated earnings - a 13% discount to the market. According to Zacks Research, ATVI has beat consensus estimates for the past four quarters. I regard the stock as attractively valued for investors seeking long-term growth.