Game Sector Update: Ghostbusters Up, Ubisoft Down

by: Michael Comeau

Let's start with the big news: Ubisoft (OTCPK:UBSFY) reported first-quarter results that were well below guidance, citing the following:

  • Significantly lower back-catalog sales of titles for PLAYSTATION® 3 (NYSE:SNE) and Xbox360® (NASDAQ:MSFT) than in the first quarter of 2008-09.
  • Poorer-than-anticipated market conditions.

The above items point to the fact that the video-game industry is feeling the pain of a slowing economy. Given this news, I"d be VERY wary of holding Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY), Electronic Arts (ERTS), or GameStop (NYSE:GME) into earnings.

NPD Analyst Anita Frazier, however, has another point of view on the economic debate, saying’s recession resistant. If the content is there, and the content is compelling, it will drive sales. I still believe content is king.

On a more positive note, Atari (PINK:ATAR) announced that Ghostbusters reached the 1 million unit sales mark - a very solid performance in a slow month for the industry.

THQ (THQI) also had good news yesterday, reporting that it prevailed in its litigation against JAKKS (NASDAQ:JAKK). THQ will record a one-time $23 million gain in its September quarter as a result. Already riding high on the success of UFC 2009 Undisputed, THQ is doing an excellent job of breaking out of its slump.

And finally, UK gamers are planning a boycott against Activision's (NASDAQ:ATVI) upcoming state-of-the-art bang bang Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Believe it or not, gamers aren't concerned with unfavorable currency trends!

Will the boycott matter? I can't say, because this game looks pretty freaking awesome. Gouge me all you want Bobby!

Disclosure: Long THQI, Long ATVI