1 Video Game to Rule Them All This Holiday Season?

A few days before Black Friday, Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) boasted that it owned the single "must-have" game of the next-generation console launch. Now that the early results are in, we have some evidence that this wasn't just typical bluster: Call of Duty: Ghosts really is flying off the shelves as the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.

Image source: Activision Blizzard.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) pegged the game as one of just a handful of brands -- across all categories -- that were top sellers in its record-breaking Thanksgiving Day results. The world's biggest retailer said that Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Xbox One were also hot tickets, and it seems that most shoppers snapped up Call of Duty to go along with their next-gen console purchases on turkey day.

But even before the holiday crush, there were good reasons to believe that the title could be a hit. Activision reported notching $1 billion in sales of Ghosts within 24 hours of its launch, which only seems small when compared to Take-Two Interactive's massive debut for Grand Theft Auto V. And soon after Call of Duty launched, Microsoft and Sony both reported that it was the most-played title on their new consoles. The brand also topped GameStop's recent poll of its customers who called it the "most desired" game of the holiday season. (Electronic Arts' (NASDAQ: EA  ) Battlefield 4 was in third place, behind Assassins Creed 4.)

Activision could use some good news. The company's cash cow, World of Warcraft, is seeing its subscriber base tick lower: It most recently fell to 7.6 million from 7.7 million a quarter back. Activision also told investors recently that the latest chapter in its other tent-pole franchise, Skylanders, was off to a slower start than usual this year. And the company has been cautioning for several quarters now that overall profits could fall in 2013, particularly as Call of Duty would be up against stiffer competition from EA's Battlefield franchise.

However, the early word out of Wal-Mart and other major retailers suggests that Activision's management was right when it blamed its latest sales dips on the fact that customers were saving up for next-gen purchases around the holidays. We'll learn a lot more when we next hear from GameStop, which wasn't open on Thanksgiving Day.

Activision's management has also said that it expects the company's top brands to emerge from the console transition in a stronger position than when they entered it. That sounded a bit like wishful thinking for the Call of Duty franchise, which is a decade old, and has already pulled in $8 billion over that time. But the brand appears to have plenty of life left, and could set records of its own this holiday season.

Rule your retirement
It's no secret that investors tend to be impatient with the market, but the best investment strategy is to buy shares in solid businesses, and keep them for the long term. In the special free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," The Motley Fool shares investment ideas and strategies that could help you build wealth for years to come. Click here to grab your free copy today.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2746863, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/20/2014 5:15:11 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement