Nov. 14, 2014, 5:35 PM
- After coming in at #1 in NPD's September U.S. retail video game rankings (following a blockbuster Sep. 9 launch), Activision's (NASDAQ:ATVI) Destiny fell to #5 in October. Take-Two's (NASDAQ:TTWO) NBA 2K15, which launched on Oct. 7, took its place at the top.
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, launched by Take-Two on Oct. 14, was #4. Skylanders Trap Team, which Activision released on Oct. 2, was #6.
- Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ:EA) FIFA 15 and Madden NFL 15 were #7 and #8, down from #3 and #2 in September. The Sims 4 fell out of the top-10, as did Activision's Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
- Altogether, NPD estimates U.S. physical retail game sales fell 27% Y/Y to $350.3M. They were down 36% in September, thanks in part to tough comps caused by last year's GTA V launch. Xbox One/PS4 demand led console sales to rise 59% to $273.6M; Microsoft cut One prices by $50 early in November.
- The digital transition continues: SuperData Research estimates U.S. digital game spending rose 12% Y/Y in October to $957M.
- Activision's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launched on Nov. 3, and should be at or near the top of NPD's November rankings. Metacritic gives the game a score of 77/100.
- ATVI -1.2% in regular trading. TTWO +2.5%. EA +0.1%.
Nov. 11, 2014, 6:59 AM
Nov. 5, 2014, 9:16 AM
- Gainers: CRTO +19%. JIVE +17%. YOD +16%. TTPH +12%. IBIO +11%. AEZS +9%. EXEL +8%. CLNY +7%. ANR +7%. ROYT +7%. EOG +6%. PHMD +6%. NICE +6%. VPCO +6%. ATVI +5%. VG +5%. CTSH +5%. WLT +5%. MACK +5%.
- Losers: CHUY -24%. NUS -22%. FEYE -16%. ZU -14%. TRIP -13%. SSYS -8%. MEMP -7%. NG -6%. ANV -6%. ARIA -6%. AWAY -6%.
Nov. 4, 2014, 4:42 PM
- Though it beat Q3 estimates, Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) is guiding for Q4 revenue of $2.2B and EPS of $0.86, below a consensus of $2.34B and $0.94.
- The World of Warcraft sub base rose by 600K Q/Q in Q3 to 7.4M, a reversal from Q2's 800K decline. Hearthstone registered users have topped 20M, and Destiny registered users 9.5M.
- 43% of revenue came from digital channels, 50% from retail channels, and 7% from distribution.
- 40% of revenue came from next-gen consoles, 24% of older consoles, 18% from online gaming/content, 8% from PC games, 7% from distribution, and 3% from mobile games and other sources. Online revenue rose 15% Y/Y to $209M; mobile/other revenue fell 36% to $35M.
- GAAP costs/expenses rose 20% Y/Y to $745M, thanks in part to a 53% increase in sales/marketing spend to $221M.
- Q3 results, PR
Nov. 4, 2014, 4:12 PM
Nov. 3, 2014, 5:35 PM
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Oct. 31, 2014, 5:28 PM
- Sony (SNE +5.8%) sold 3.3M PlayStation 4 units in calendar Q3, up from 2.7M in Q2 and easily outpacing the 2.4M Xboxes sold by Microsoft in Q3. In addition, Sony reported its gaming unit posted a $195M profit, up from $43M in Q2 thanks to rising PS4 game royalties.
- VG Chartz estimates Sony has cumulatively sold 12.3M PS4 units since last fall, and Microsoft 6.1M Xbox One units. To boost sales, Microsoft recently slashed Xbox One prices by $50 - starting Nov. 2, the One sells for $349 without a Kinect, and $449 with one.
- Electronic Arts (EA +2.8%), Activision (ATVI +1.9%), and Take-Two (TTWO +4.7%) outperformed again today. All three game developers rallied yesterday after Take-Two posted a big FQ2 beat on the back of strong sales for Grand Theft Auto V, NBA 2K14, and Borderlands 2. EA jumped thanks to an FQ2 beat and strong EPS guidance the day before.
- GameStop (GME +1.5%) and PS4 CPU/GPU supplier AMD (AMD +1.8%) are likely also happy with Sony's PS4 sales figure.
Oct. 17, 2014, 1:55 PM
- With last year's Grand Theft Auto V (TTWO +0.3%) launch skewing comps, NPD estimates U.S. physical retail video game sales fell 36% Y/Y in September to $481.2M, a worse decline than August's 21% drop.
- The ongoing spending shift towards digital channels naturally contributed to the drop as well: SuperData Research estimates digital game spend rose 8.6% Y/Y in September to $873M.
- Hardware spend rose 136% Y/Y (up from August's 116%) thanks to next-gen console demand: NPD thinks PS4 sales nearly tripled from August levels with the help of Sony's (SNE +1.8%) Destiny bundle, and outpaced Xbox One sales yet again. GameStop (GME +2.7%) investors approve of the numbers.
- Electronic Arts (EA +4.5%) is rallying after Madden NFL 15, FIFA 15, NHL 15, and The Sims 4 respectively came in at #2, #3, #6, and #8 on NPD's top-10 list. Of the four games, only Madden was on the August list (#1 in its launch month). Battlefield 4 (#9 in August) fell out of the top-10.
- As expected, Activision's (ATVI -0.5%) Destiny was #1. But Diablo III: Reaper of Souls fell to #10 from #2, and Call of Duty: Ghosts (#5 in August) dropped out of the top-10. Activision, like Take-Two, is sitting out a market rally.
- EA reports on Oct. 28, Take-Two on Oct. 29, Sony on Oct. 31, and Activision on Nov. 4.
Oct. 14, 2014, 1:19 PM| Oct. 14, 2014, 1:19 PM | Comment!
Sep. 23, 2014, 1:49 PM
- Following multiple delays, Activision's (ATVI -1.6%) Blizzard unit has pulled the plug on developing Titan, a next-gen MMORPG viewed as the successor to the World of Warcraft cash cow.
- Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime: "We didn't find the fun ... We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."
- As it is, VentureBeat reported last year Activision had "decided to push the reset button" on Titan, and that the game wasn't set to launch before 2016 at the earliest. Blizzard SVP Chris Metzen says a "sense of inertia and obligation and identity that we hold in ourselves and the community may also hold toward us" compelled Blizzard to try and make a new MMORPG, before ultimately changing its mind.
- Metzen adds the popularity of smaller Blizzard releases such as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm contributed to its decision. "I think the lesson that comes around again is just making damn sure that the things we commit to do ... are coming from a place of focus and inspiration."
- Activision's move comes as the Warcraft base continues declining: It declined by 800K in Q2 to 6.8M. Meanwhile, first-person shooter Destiny, which Activision hopes will be its next billion-dollar franchise (joining Call of Duty and Skylanders), recently produced first-day sales of ~$500M.
Sep. 10, 2014, 11:00 AM
- After going on sale at more than 11,000 midnight openings around the world yesterday, Activision (ATVI -1.6%) says its new shooter title, Destiny, generated $500M in revenue in its first day.
- At $60 a copy, it was the most pre-ordered game in history that wasn’t a sequel, says Cowen Research analyst Doug Creutz. Destiny is expected to draw 10M players on its first day, following the record 4.6M that tested the beta release in July.
- Activision is spending as much as $500M to develop and market Destiny, resulting in it being one of the most expensive games ever to hit the industry.
Sep. 9, 2014, 7:52 AM
- A channel check from Cowen Research analyst Doug Creutz indicates video game console/handheld software sales fell 10% Y/Y in August.
- The monthly tally would look even worse if not for the positive comp delivered by this year's Madden NFL game.
- Related stocks GameStop (NYSE:GME), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI).
Aug. 29, 2014, 11:29 AM
- Take-Two (TTWO +4.1%) president Karl Slatoff says his company is weighing the pros and cons of bringing Grand Theft Auto to the big screen. He adds Take-Two doesn't think a weak box office showing would hurt the GTA game franchise.
- Dan Houser, the co-founder of GTA developer Rockstar Games, also appears open to doing a GTA movie. However, he insists Rockstar would want to make the film on its own.
- Benchmark's Mike Hickey thinks a GTA film makes sense, and that it could compel Activision (ATVI +0.3%), rumored to be hatching plans for its own movie studio, to acquire Take-Two.
- Hickey calls an Activision/Take-Two deal a "no-brainer," given Take-Two's developer talent, IP, and low valuation. He notes Activision can lower its business volatility by staggering Rockstar, Bungie, and Blizzard releases, and that Take-Two could help offset World of Warcraft's ongoing decline and Skylanders competition from Disney.
Aug. 12, 2014, 1:56 PM
- Activision (ATVI -0.1%) plans to offer the upcoming Skylanders: Trap Team on the iPad and Android tablets. Like console-based Skylanders games, the tablet versions of Trap Team will interact with Bluetooth-enabled "portals" that allow action figures placed on them to appear on screen.
- A Trap Team tablet starter kit will feature a portal, two action figures, a Bluetooth controller, and a stand, among other things. Like its console counterparts, it will retail for $74.99 when it goes on sale in October.
- The Skylanders franchise remains a cash cow for Activision: The company noted in its Q2 report Skylanders: Swap Force was the #2 console/handheld game in North America and Europe in 1H14, and that it also "outsold the #1 action figure line."
- Mobile, on the other hand, has been a weak spot for Activision: The company's mobile/other revenue fell 34% Y/Y in Q2 to just $59M.
Aug. 5, 2014, 5:55 PM
- Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) expects Q3 revenue of $975M and EPS of $0.11 vs. a consensus of $893.3M and $0.13. Full-year guidance (a little harder to project) is for revenue of $4.7B and EPS of $1.29, slightly below a consensus of $4.71B and $1.31.
- Revenue from digital channels grew 26% Y/Y in Q2 to $481M, overshadowing a 41% drop in retail channel revenue to $111MM. Distribution channel revenue grew 78% to $66M.
- Console revenue fell 18% Y/Y to $201M, but PC revenue rose 201% to $131M (boosted by Diablo III). Online rose 4% to $201M. Mobile/other remains a soft spot, declining 34% to $59M; EA had $120M in calendar Q2 mobile revenue.
- The World of Warcraft sub base fell by 800K Q/Q to 6.8M; the decline was "disproportionately concentrated in the East." That could be a negative for Chinese WoW partner NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES).
- GAAP costs/expenses +6% to $660M. Activision notes Call of Duty: Ghosts remains the top-selling game on next-gen console in North America and Europe combined.
- Q2 results, PR
Aug. 5, 2014, 4:14 PM
Activision Blizzard Inc is an online, personal computer, video game console, tablet, handheld, and mobile game publisher. It has three operating segments: - Activision Publishing, Inc., Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Activision Blizzard Distribution.
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