Total videogame sales tumbled in November, led again by a slip in console hardware, though the industry saw declines in every area, and titles faced a tough comp from last November.
Sales overall dropped 24% Y/Y to $1.97B, according to NPD Group, and as part of that, videogame hardware sales dropped 35% to $723.8M. Accessories sales dropped 6% to $259.8M.
Meanwhile, videogame software dropped 18% to $955.2M and PC game software dropped 28% to $27.5M. New titles had to compare to a solid top three from a year ago (Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Fallout 4, and Star Wars: Battlefront). This year's top three were Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (NASDAQ:ATVI), Battlefield 1 (NASDAQ:EA) and Pokémon: Sun (OTCPK:NTDOY).
"Battlefield 1 launched in October, and Pokémon: Sun launched at a lower MSRP than last November’s console games," NPD's Sam Naji notes. "As all titles outside of the top three grew a combined 12% vs. a year ago, it is the top three title grouping that drove the year-on-year decline."
Console declines were led by drops in PlayStation 4 (NYSE:SNE) and Xbox One (NASDAQ:MSFT). PlayStation 4 was again the top-selling hardware system. Nintendo scored by selling 196,000 units of its retro NES Classic Edition.
Individual games (ranked by dollar sales): Behind Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (ATVI), Battlefield 1 (EA) and Pokémon: Sun (OTCPK:NTDOY), Pokémon: Moon settled into fourth and Titanfall 2 (EA) into fifth.
Rounding out the top 10: NBA 2K17 (NASDAQ:TTWO); Madden NFL 17 (EA); Watch Dogs 2 (OTCPK:UBSFY); Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks); FIFA 17 (EA).
Black Friday weekend channel checks from investment firms are still pouring in. A few tidbits are posted below.
Wells Fargo: Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) was a traffic outperformer, while Calvin Klein (NYSE:PVH) and Carter's (NYSE:CRI) held the line on pricing amid a promotional atmosphere.
Wedbush: High-profile video games were discounted more than last year. Keep an eye out on GameStop (NYSE:GME), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA).
Fung Global Retail & Technology: Shoes (FL, FINL) were identified as a hot seller, while jewelry (NYSE:SIG) sales were down.
Jefferies: Unexpected strength for the UGG brand (NASDAQ:DECK) and Gap was observed. Demand for Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) and Coach (NYSE:COH) handbags appeared soft.
Videogame sales were up 6% Y/Y in total in October, as some key pre-holiday software releases again made up for slipping hardware.
Overall sales were at $875.7M, according to NPD Group. Hardware revenues dropped 20% to $215.2M, and accessories spending fell 24% to $121M.
“Unit sales for the Xbox One (MSFT +1.7%) brand of hardware grew by 8% compared to last October," said NPD's Sam Naji, as pricing for Xbox One hardware dropped 17% with a lower priced One S Minecraft bundle. The month's best-selling hardware, though, was the PS4 (SNE +1.1%) Slim 500 GB Uncharted 4: A Thief's End bundle. And Nintendo's (OTCPK:NTDOY +3.4%) 3DS saw its fifth straight month of Y/Y growth.
Meanwhile, videogame software spending on console platforms rose 31% to $505.7M, and PC game software jumped 172% to $33.8M, thanks to "popular new games that included Battlefield 1, Mafia III, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2 and Civilization VI," said Naji.
Individual games (ranked by dollar sales): Battlefield 1 (EA +1%) took the top spot, followed by Mafia III (TTWO +4.7%) and Gears of War 4 (NASDAQ:MSFT). FIFA 17 (NASDAQ:EA) was fourth and NBA 2K17 (NASDAQ:TTWO) fifth.
Rounding out the top 10: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks), WWE 2K17 (TTWO), Civilization VI (TTWO), Titanfall 2 (EA) and Madden NFL 17 (EA).
Electronic Arts (EA -0.9%) has fallen 1.1% after hours after posting fiscal Q2 earnings that met expectations for a loss, but with a forecast that looked light for the all-important holiday sales season.
Of $898M in net revenue, $566M (63%) was digital. Change in deferred net revenue was $200M (-$80M of which was digital; packaged goods and other was $280M).
Net cash from operations was $109M; trailing 12-month operating cash flow was $1.1B.
For the holiday quarter, it's guiding to revenue of $1.125B and a change in deferred net revenue of $910M ($2.035B combined) vs. consensus for $2.08B, and a loss per share of $0.17 vs. consensus for a loss of $0.12.
For the full year, it's raising guidance, to net revenue of $4.775B, light of consensus for $4.95B, and diluted EPS is expected at $2.69 (vs. expectations for GAAP EPS of $2.64).
Videogame sales ticked up Y/Y, rising 1% as key new game releases reversed a trend of declines, according to NPD Group.
Spending had been falling against tough comparisons with last summer's releases. But a strong release schedule, including a new year's Madden NFL and a high-profile release in No Man's Sky, rescued August from summer doldrums.
Overall sales rose to $573.4M as a pickup in software slightly more than offset continuing declines in hardware and accessories.
Hardware sales continued a downward trend, coming on the cusp of a console refresh cycle at Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Those revenues fell 6% Y/Y to $178.1M.
"The unit growth in sales for the Xbox One and the 3DS was not enough to offset the decline in spending on the PS4, Wii U and older consoles," says NPD's Sam Naji. "The decline in unit spending was also compounded by the 7 percent decline in the ARP for consoles and a 22 percent decline in the ARP for portables.”
Videogame software spending, including digital estimates, grew 8% to $273.7M. And PC game sofware rose 18% to $14.2M. Meanwhile, accessory spending dropped 5% to $107.4M.
In individual games (ranked by dollar sales), new releases took the spotlight: Madden NFL 17 (NASDAQ:EA) topped the chart, followed by No Man's Sky (SNE) and Deux Ex: Mankind Divided (Square Enix). Grand Theft Auto V, a cash cow at Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO), was No. 4, followed by Overwatch (NASDAQ:ATVI).
More from Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation event, focused on the visual upgrades in the new PS4 Pro: The high-end model will be available Nov. 10 at a price of $399.
The slimmer, now baseline PS4 will be available next week at $299.
While the Pro model will support 4K graphics and High Dynamic Range, the company revealed that a firmware upgrade will make all currently installed PS4 models HDR capable.
Key representatives from top gaming firms were represented: Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) CTO Andy Hendrickson spoke for Call of Duty, saying that the franchise's upcoming Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare: Remastered would support PS4 Pro "from day one," as will the previously released Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 via an online upgrade.
Meanwhile, Aaryn Flynn of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) noted the company's FIFA soccer franchise and upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda would support the new graphics.
Sony added that a Netflix upgrade would provide 600 hours of 4K content by the end of the year, including Narcos and Luke Cage. And YouTube is developing an app for the Pro model that will support 4K content.
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is off 1.7% following fiscal Q1 earnings, on its last quarter reporting key metrics on a non-GAAP basis (with adjustments for deferred revenue).
The company posted a surprise profit on a non-GAAP basis, reporting EPS of $0.07. GAAP EPS came to $1.40 vs. $1.31 expected.
Non-GAAP net revenue of $682M fell $11M short of consensus. On a GAAP basis, total net revenues of $1.27B beat an expected $1.2B.
About 54% of GAAP net revenue was digital. Change in deferred net revenue was -$589M (-$121M of that digital).
During the quarter, the Battlefield franchise had more than 11.5M unique players, and Star Wars: Battlefront had more than 6.6M uniques. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes players averaged almost 2.5 hours of gameplay each day, and the company said its EA Access subscriber base more than doubled Y/Y.
For 2017, it's guiding to (GAAP) net revenue of $4.75B (may not be comparable to expectations for $4.94B) and EPS of about $2.56 (above consensus for $2.47), along with changed in deferred net revenue of $150M and operating cash flow of about $1.3B.
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) will stop reporting many of the adjusted financial measures it has used for years, addressing regulators' stepped-up criticism of how companies apply customized metrics in earnings.
In a conference call with analysts Tuesday, the company said results for its most recently ended quarter, due Aug. 2, will be the last to include revenue, gross margin and per-share earnings on a non-GAAP basis.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is a little less deafening this year with the absence of Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), while Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) has already told fans not to expect to see its next-generation game console, code-named NX.
Still, Sony and Microsoft got attendees buzzing on Monday with plenty of game announcements, and the unveiling of PlayStation VR (which will roll out Oct. 13) and Xbox One S.
Electronic Arts' (EA -0.9%) investor day earned it a price target boost from Oppenheimer, as it previewed a more interesting game slate and largely inspired confidence in its plans for $1B in incremental revenue.
Analyst Andrew Uerkwitz raised his target to $88, from $78. With today's lower price, Uerkwitz's new target implies 18% upside in the stock; he rates it Outperform.
“We came away more confident in EA’s growth strategy and ability to engage existing and potential customers with new tools,” Uerkwitz writes. “We believe secular tailwinds such as the move to digital and mobile will support multiyear margin expansion and profit growth for the company.”