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| Comment!
Oct. 10, 2014, 10:21 AM
- Believing Electronic Arts' (EA -0.2%) FY16 (ends March '16) will benefit from a strong game lineup and installed base growth that's 50% better than the prior console cycle, Benchmark's Mike Hickey has upgraded the game developer to Buy, and set a $42.50 target.
- Hickey predicts "investors will begin to focus on fiscal ’16 performance opportunity over the next quarter, which should accelerate target valuation considerations."
- Shares opened higher, but have given back their gains amid a Nasdaq selloff. FQ2 results arrive on Oct. 28.
Sep. 12, 2014, 8:37 AM| Comment!
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. 15, 2014, 9:08 AM
- Video games sales fell 15% Y/Y in July, according to data from the NPD Group. The tally is for sales at physical retail outlets such as GameStop (NYSE:GME), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), and Target (NYSE:TGT).
- The comparable to last year was impacted by a dispute between the NCAA and student athletes which prompted Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) to stop producing its popular NCAA football series amid the legal dispute.
Jul. 29, 2014, 4:02 PM
- For $4.99/month or $29.99/year, Electronic Arts' (EA -2.1%) EA Access service will provide Xbox One users access to a library of titles. FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4 are the first supported games; more are promised.
- The service also provides a 10% discount on EA digital content purchases made via the Xbox Games store, and trial access to new EA games (including Madden NFL 15 and FIFA 15) up to 5 days before the release date. GameStop and Amazon are among the retail partners.
- No word on whether a similar service will arrive for the PS4. The service points to a willingness by EA to cannibalize traditional game sales in favor of subscription-based revenue streams.
- EA's digital revenue rose 28% Y/Y in FQ1 to $482M (62% of total revenue). Full game downloads accounted for $71M of that total.
Jul. 22, 2014, 5:55 PM
- Though it soundly beat FQ1 estimates, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is guiding for FQ2 revenue of $1.14B and EPS of $0.50, nearly in-line with a consensus of $1.14B and $0.51. Moreover, FY15 (ends March '15) guidance is for revenue of $4.1B and EPS of $1.85, below a consensus of $4.14B and $1.89.
- With the help of Titanfall, UFC, and FIFA 14, EA's packaged goods and other revenue rose 150% Y/Y in FQ1 to $293M, helping drive a big revenue beat. Digital sales rose 28% to $482M, with mobile revenue rising 18% to $120M (15% of total revenue) and full game downloads 87% to $71M.
- North America revenue +57% to $321M, international revenue +57% to $454M. The Xbox One/PS4 accounted for 26% of revenue, and the Xbox 360/PS3 35%. PCs made up 21%.
- Job cuts allowed R&D spend to fall 5% Y/Y to $265M. G&A spend +4% to $88M. $50M was spent on buybacks.
- Shares have priced in some good news.
- FQ1 results, PR.
Jul. 22, 2014, 4:05 PM
Jul. 21, 2014, 5:35 PM
Jul. 18, 2014, 5:37 PM
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. 14, 2014, 6:02 PM
- Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) has hired Ken Moss, formerly the head of eBay's Seattle office, to be its CTO. Officially, he'll lead "the organization, strategy and vision for EA’s Digital Platform and Information Technology divisions."
- GeekWire observes Moss, who has also spent 20 years at Microsoft, provides data services expertise that could be valuable to EA. The company is counting on the value-added services attached to major gaming franchises such as Battlefield and FIFA to act as a growth driver.
- EA's FQ1 report is due on July 22.
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.
Jun. 9, 2014, 7:16 PM
- The Sims 4 will launch on PCs in North America on Sep. 2, Electronic Arts (EA) promises during its E3 conference presentation (live blog). Meanwhile, Battlefield Hardline will launch on Oct. 21 on consoles and PCs; a PS4/PC beta is already out.
- Engadget refers to Hardline, which is powered by EA's Frostbite 3 game engine and (story-wise) represents a departure from past titles in the franchise, as "an insane version of cops and robbers." GameSpot is a big fan of its multi-player mode.
- EA also previewed a slew of upcoming sports titles - FIFA 15, which should get a World Cup boost, is due this fall - and (more notably) showed off a teaser video for the anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront (due in spring 2015).
- CEO Andrew Wilson did his best to insist EA is now paying more attention to fan feedback. The company has been voted the worst company in America multiple times by The Consumerist's NCAA bracket-style online poll; it was dethroned by Comcast this year following a first-round defeat to Time Warner Cable.
Jun. 2, 2014, 3:04 PM
- Apple's (AAPL -1.2%) reported home automation platform has been unveiled. Called HomeKit, the platform acts as "a common network protocol" for 3rd-party hardware/chips that can be managed by iDevices - initial supporters include Broadcom, Cree, TI, Philips, Honeywell, and Haier.
- HomeKit also integrates with Siri - saying "Get ready for bed" can result in a connected house automatically locking its doors and dimming its lights.
- Apple promises iOS 8 will deliver major GPU performance enhancements, such as a 10x increase in draw-call rates. Electronic Arts (EA -1.9%) is bringing its powerful Frostbite engine to the platform.
- For the first time, iOS will support 3rd-party keyboards. Swype owner Nuance (NUAN) has ticked slightly higher in response. The OS will also add support for inter-app communications, a feature long requested by developers.
- Also: 1) Siri now has a Google Now-like always-on mode. Saying "Hey, Siri" activates the service. 2) The Touch ID fingerprint sensor has been opened up to 3rd-party apps. 3) Like Yosemite, iOS 8 supports 3rd-party Notification Center widgets.
- As expected, iOS 8 will launch to consumers in the fall (likely in tandem with the iPhone 6).
- Live blogs: I, II. Live stream.
- Previous coverage: Mac OS Yosemite, iOS 8
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