The video-game industry is still in a funk. Industry tracker NPD Group is out with its report for the month of September, and it's not pretty. There was a 24% plunge in industry sales at physical retailers last month relative to September of last year.
It was easy to predict a drop in hardware as consumers tire of dated systems, but did anyone really see a 39% drop on the hardware side? The 18% decline on the software side is also disheartening. Wasn't Activsion Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI ) supposed to breathe new life into its World of Warcraft online PC gaming franchise with a panda-stoked expansion pack?
The only real winner in the carnage was Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA ) . It put out several of last month's hottest sellers, including top draw Madden NFL 2012. Perhaps more importantly, the annual football installment sold 10% more units than it did a year earlier.
In other words, gamers appear to be showing up when marquee titles come out. That may be the silver lining for Activision Blizzard as it gears up for next month's release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- In an interesting development, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) CEO Reed Hastings revealed that he will step down from Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) board of directors when his terms ends next month. He isn't leaving any other boards that he currently serves on, so one has to wonder whether the two companies are starting to become competitors. Is Microsoft rolling out a video service? Is Netflix moving more into the actual gadgetry to consume its streams? Then again, it could just be a CEO -- realizing that his stock has been slammed over the past year -- who's taking a step back to focus on turning his own company around.
- Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) keeps rocking. The satellite-radio provider revealed that it closed out the third quarter by adding 445,921 net subscribers during the period. Sirius XM is now expecting to close out the year with 1.8 million more subscribers.
- PC sales continue to slump. Both IDC and Gartner put out studies this week showing sharp declines in desktop and laptop shipments this past quarter. The slump was global, but it was even worse closer to home. I guess everybody's thinking outside the box these days.
It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched their company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.