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
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%).
May. 13, 2014, 8:47 AM
- Electronic Arts (EA) COO Peter Moore, studios chief Patrick Soderlund, and general counsel Stephen Bene respectively sold $3.5M, $1.25M, and $260K worth of shares last Friday.
- The sales came after EA shares flew higher in response to a big FQ4 beat (aided by healthy Titanfall, mobile/handheld, and extra content revenue) and solid FQ1/FY15 guidance.
May. 7, 2014, 12:48 PM
May. 7, 2014, 9:15 AM
May. 6, 2014, 5:40 PM
May. 6, 2014, 4:10 PM
- Electronic Arts (EA) expects FY15 (ends March '15) revenue of $4.1B and EPS of $1.85; the former is slightly below a $4.11B consensus, but the latter is well above a $1.52 consensus.
- In addition, FQ1 guidance is for revenue of $700M and EPS of -$0.05, well above a consensus of $632.7M and -$0.23.
- EA has also announced a $750M buyback; it's good for buying nearly 8% of shares at elevated AH levels.
- FQ4 results, PR
May. 6, 2014, 4:09 PM
May. 5, 2014, 5:35 PM
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May. 2, 2014, 4:59 PM
- Comcast (CMCSA -0.2%) and Electronic Arts (EA -0.8%) are close to a deal that would allow games such as FIFA 14 and Madden NFL 25 to be streamed to Comcast's advanced X1 platform, Reuters reports.
- The service, said to be in testing for two years, would give EA access to Comcast's 22M+ subs (and perhaps eventually Time Warner Cable's subs, should the merger clear) at a time when console game sales growth remains muted and highly cyclical. It would also arrive as Apple and Google reportedly gets set to join Amazon in launching set-tops supporting casual gaming.
- EA +1.3% AH. The gaming giant's FQ4 results arrive on May 6.
Apr. 18, 2014, 4:34 AM
- Microsoft (MSFT) has sold over 5M Xbox One computer gaming consoles to retail shops since launching the device in November, well below the more than 7M PlayStation 4 machines that Sony (SNE) has sold since its product was launched last year as well.
- Still, Xbox One sales have outpaced those of its predecessor, the XBox 360, by over 60% at the same point in time since launch.
- The introductions of the Xbox and PlayStation 4 helped boost U.S. sales of consoles in March by 78% on year to $395M.
- However, sales of videogames fell 28% to $432M, with revenue to multiplayer Internet games such as "World of Warcraft" dropping 19% to $84.8M.
- Tickers: EA, ATVI
Apr. 17, 2014, 6:58 PM
- While U.S. physical retail video game sales have been slumping for some time (as shown by NPD's data), SuperData estimates U.S. digital gaming revenue rose 9% Y/Y in March to $936M.
- Revenue for subscription titles such as Activision (ATVI +1.2%) cash cow World of Warcraft fell Y/Y, but download and free-to-play revenue rose. Electronic Arts' (EA -0.1%) much-hyped Titanfall delivered the most digital revenue among "boxed" titles.
- SuperData estimates conversion rates (i.e. the ratio of paying users to total users) for social gaming platforms rose to 2.3% from 1.9% six months earlier. But Zynga (ZNGA +4.4%), which had a Q4 conversion rate of 1.7% and only averages $0.13 per DAU (less than its closest rivals), continues to trail.
- Zynga rallied today after officially launching FarmVille 2: Country Escape (first announced in March) in the App Store and Google Play. Morgan Stanley praised the game's monetization potential last week.
- In spite of widespread concerns about slumping Candy Crush Saga (KING -1.3%) usage, SuperData thinks the game is holding up reasonably well for now. It estimates spending rose 1.2% M/M (3 extra days helped), with mobile MAUs rising 0.3% and social (read: Facebook) MAUs falling 2.1%.
- Other game developers: TTWO, GLUU, KNM, SGAMY
Apr. 9, 2014, 5:39 PM
Apr. 2, 2014, 11:58 AM
- The rumors were true: Amazon's (AMZN +0.6%) new streaming set-top will support "thousands" of Android games by next month (live blog). To play them, Amazon is providing an optional $40 controller that comes bundled with 1,000 Amazon coins (normally retails for $9.50) to buy games with, and a tablet controller app. A small number of titles can be played with the Fire TV's bundled remote.
- Electronic Arts (EA -0.9%), Take-Two's (TTWO +0.2%) 2K Games unit, Sega, Gameloft, and Disney are among the game developers on board. Amazon, as reported, will also be developing its own titles. The Verge: "The graphics are pretty solid, they seem about on par with what you can get on top-end Android devices. It's not lagging at all."
- Should Sony (SNE -0.6%), Ninetendo (NTDOY), and Microsoft be worried? The Fire TV, and perhaps also gaming set-tops reportedly on the way from Apple and Google, are unlikely to compel hard-core gamers to ditch their PS4s and Xbox Ones. But much like mobile devices, they could gain a strong following among consumers wanting a cheap, simple, casual gaming experience.
- The Fire TV itself will sell for $99 - the same price as Apple TV and Roku 3. It begins shipping today.
- Earlier: Amazon unveils Fire TV set-top
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