Wednesday night marked the long-awaited unveiling of the PlayStation 4 gaming console from Sony (NYSE:SNE). Sony showed off new features of the console and several new games that will be released exclusively for the company's first console since 2006. The other winner of the press conference was Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI).
Blizzard was one of the last presenters at the press conference. Co-founder and CEO of Blizzard Chris Metzen appeared on stage to announce that Sony and Blizzard had entered into a partnership to "take over the world." Metzen was of course kidding, but his company could be close to taking over the PS4 platform.
Blizzard will release its "Diablo III" PC game on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 within the coming year. An all new user interface and control scheme will be presented for the two Sony consoles. The plot and gameplay remains very similar with several notable differences.
Players of "Diablo III" on consoles will be able to play in four player online modes and local co-op modes. This is huge for both Blizzard and PlayStation as it will utilize the PlayStation Live Network and also keep people playing the game for hours at a time. The popularity of Activision's Call of Duty series has been helped by its multiplayer modes online.
Blizzard will demo a live version of "Diablo III" on PlayStation 4 at the PAX East, held March 22-24. Metzen had this to say of the game, "Diablo III looks and plays great on the PlayStation." The game was the fastest selling PC game of all time, when it was released May 15th, 2012. Over 12 million copies of the game were sold in 2012.
Here's what I wrote in January 2012 about "Diablo III" being available for consoles:
There have also been rumors online of the game being released on consoles for the first time. While this would anger some hardcore PC fans, it would also increase revenue for parent company Blizzard. The company will not confirm the game being available for consoles but the company has hired several people to test the compatibility of the game on consoles.
I predicted the game would be released for consoles in 2012. It appears I was a little early to the party, but in the end, my prediction paid off. Those lucky enough to buy shares on my recommendations in 2012 are in positive territory.
The negative here is despite its huge sales figures, "Diablo III" was a letdown to many video game players. The game had problems from the start and failed to live up to its hype. Will PC gamers really switch and play the popular game on a console? Likewise, will console gamers that don't know the franchise shell out $60 to play the already released game later this year?
Activision was also at the PlayStation 4 press conference as one of the developing studios for the console. Activision talked about its new game "Destiny" from Bungie Studios, the creators of the "Halo" video game franchise. That game was just announced by Activision and I profiled it in a recent article.
"Destiny" will be released for the XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3, but has now been officially announced for the PlayStation 4 console. Bungie executives said there will be exclusive content available for "Destiny" players on the PlayStation 4.
I profiled an exciting 2013 coming up for Activision recently. The company has exciting new releases in a "Walking Dead" video game, "Starcraft II" expansion, "Blizzard All-Stars," "Skylanders Swap Force," "Destiny," and now the addition of "Diablo III" on two more consoles.
Shares of Activision recently passed $14 for the first time since 2008. Analysts on Yahoo Finance expect the company to post earnings per share of $0.96 from $4.54 billion in revenue. The company's own guidance calls for $0.80 in earnings per share and $4.2 billion in revenue. I expect Activision to beat both its own guidance and that of analysts. Shares are headed higher and have an exciting 2013 in store.
Disclosure: I am long ATVI. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.