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| Comment!
Aug. 4, 2014, 5:35 PM
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Jul. 18, 2014, 2:07 PM
- After rising 57% Y/Y in May due to new game launches, U.S. retail physical game sales fell 3% in June to $286.8M, per NPD. But with June 2013 having a stronger launch title lineup, that figure was better than expected. Sales were also still up over 4% from a May level of $274M.
- Ubisoft's (OTCPK:UBSFY) Watch Dogs was the top-selling title for the second month in a row. Electronic Arts' (EA +3.1%) UFC (launched on June 3) was #4, and FIFA 14 (receiving a World Cup boost) was #5. Titanfall (#8 in May) fell out of the top-10.
- Activision's (ATVI +1.2%) Call of Duty: Ghosts rose 2 spots to #8. But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (#6 in May) dropped out of the top-10.
- Take-Two's (TTWO +4.1%) NBA 2K14 (boosted by playoff interest) rose a spot to #6, and GTA V came in at #10. Nintendo's (OTCPK:NTDOY) Mario Kart 8 and Tomodachi Life were respectively #2 and #9.
- With the help of Microsoft's cheaper Xbox One package, hardware sales rose 106% Y/Y to $292.7M. Together with the software numbers, that's providing a lift to GameStop (GME +4.4%).
- EA reports on July 22, while Activision and Take-Two both report on August 5.
Jul. 3, 2014, 4:02 PM
- Rob Pardo, the chief creative officer for Activision's (ATVI +0.9%) Blizzard Entertainment unit, is leaving the company following a 17-year stint.
- Pardo was previously the lead designer for Activision's World of Warcraft cash cow and Warcraft III, as well as multiple expansion packs. He suggests in a blog post he'll eventually turn up elsewhere in the gaming industry.
- Blizzard accounted for 60% of Activision's Q1 revenue. In addition to Warcraft, the division is responsible for the StarCraft and Diablo franchises.
Jun. 17, 2014, 1:59 PM
- Thanks to new game launches, U.S. retail physical game sales (just a subset of total game sales) rose 57% Y/Y in May to $274M, says NPD. That represents a big turnaround from April's 10% drop, and March's 27% decline.
- Ubisoft's (UBSFY) Watch Dogs, which sold 4M units worldwide in its first week, was the top-selling title. After holding the top spot the last two months, Electronic Arts' (EA +2.9%) Titanfall fell to #8.
- Activision's (ATVI +1.7%) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was #6, up two spots from April, and Call of Duty: Ghosts was #10 (down from #2). Take-Two's (TTWO +3.6%) NBA 2K14 was #7 (down from #3).
- EA and Activision are making fresh 52-week highs. Take-Two isn't far removed from its 52-week high of $22.41.
May 22, 2014, 12:10 PM
- Vivendi (VIVHY) will receive net proceeds of ~$850M by selling 41.5M Activision (ATVI -1.1%) shares (a 5.8% stake) at $20.70. The price is modestly below Activision's Wednesday close of $20.87.
- The sale is part of a broader cash-raising effort by Vivendi. Last month, the conglomerate agreed to sell French mobile carrier SFR for over $23B.
May 21, 2014, 4:58 PM
May 21, 2014, 4:23 PM| Comment!
May 16, 2014, 2:43 PM
- Though available only on the Xbox One/360 and PCs for now, Electronic Arts' (EA +2.1%) Titanfall was the bestselling game in U.S. physical retail channels for the second month in a row, per NPD's April numbers. Strong Titanfall sales have already fueled EA's big calendar Q1 beat.
- Activision's (ATVI +0.7%) Call of Duty: Ghosts rebounded to #2 on NPD's list after coming in at #4 in March. Another Activision title, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, landed at #8.
- Take-Two's (TTWO +0.9%) NBA 2K14 rose to #3 from #7 as the playoffs arrived. Grand Theft Auto V came in at #9.
- Total physical retail game sales fell 10% Y/Y, as gamers direct more spending towards next-gen consoles (hardware sales rose 76%) and digital channels. But the figure represents an improvement from March's 27% decline.
- One encouraging piece of data for the next-gen console cycle: NPD states PS4/Xbox One game sales are up 40% relative to PS3/Xbox 360 sales over their first 6 months of availability.
- Game developers are ticking higher a couple days after selling off in response to Take-Two's soft calendar Q2 guidance, as is GameStop (GME +0.5%).
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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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