The Industry's Top Video Games

Not surprisingly, big studios were behind 2013’s top video games. But to one industry observer, the story also isn’t that simple.

Feb 8, 2014 at 7:35AM


Michael, a bank robber and one of three main characters in Grand Theft Auto V. Source: Rockstar Games.

Once more, big studios dominated the list of 2013's top video games.

You know the names: Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) joined France's Ubisoft (NASDAQOTH:UBSFF) with more than two games each in NPD Group's list of last year's top 10 best-selling video games:

Developer/  Publisher


Grand Theft Auto V

Xbox 360, PS3

Rockstar Games / Take-Two Interactive


Call of Duty: Ghosts

Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PC, Wii U

Infinity Ward / Activision Blizzard


Madden NFL 25

Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One

EA Tiburon / Electronic Arts


Battlefield 4

Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PC

EA Digital Illusions CE / Electronic Arts


Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC

Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft


NBA 2K14

Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Visual Concepts / Take-Two Interactive


Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC

Treyarch / Activision Blizzard


Just Dance 2014

Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Xbox One, PS3, PS4

Ubisoft Milan / Ubisoft



Xbox 360

Mojang, 4J Studios / Microsoft


Disney Infinity

Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, Wii U, 3DS

Avalanche Software / Walt Disney

Sources: IGN, NPD Group, Wikipedia.

What can we take from this list? Maybe that, when it comes to in investing in video0game publishers, it's generally better to stick with the stalwarts than to bet on an upstart.

"Gamers are weird," says Justin Cavender, executive editor covering video games for Geek Legacy. "Sometimes they get bored with [big titles] and ask for something new. But then when something new comes out, they don't give it a chance."

Fickle fantasy
Consider the sad tale of former baseball star Curt Schilling, whose 38 Studios spent tens of millions to produce the action role-playing title Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The company closed its doors in May 2012, barely three months after releasing the game and Schilling -- recently diagnosed with cancer -- is still battling the state of Rhode Island, which backed the studio with a $75 million loan.

Console timing didn't help, Cavender says. Amalur launched toward the end of the last refresh cycle, just as Microsoft and Sony were developing the Xbox One and PS4. Gamers may not have been ready to bet big on a new title with new hardware on the horizon.

The next legendary opportunity?
Publishers are doing what they can to mitigate the risk. In some cases, they're avoiding consoles entirely, and making a mint in the process. Riot Games' League of Legends, for example, which The Wall Street Journal reports as serving 27 million players daily.

That's a massive number that, according to SuperData Research, accounted for $624 million in revenue from in-game add-ons. "You pay a dollar here and a dollar there for characters and [more] to customize them. It adds up," Cavender says, noting that he expects to see more publishers to embrace the model.

Rockstar, for its part, isn't waiting. Grand Theft Auto Online has become so dependent on these sorts of "microtransactions" that the game has its own regulated economy. In October, parent Take-Two injected a first round of "stimulus" to compensate for technical glitches some players had suffered in the early going.

Looking ahead
So what can we expect for the rest of 2014 in video games? That's tougher to say. Unless, that is, you ask Gamespot, which has already identified the three most anticipated games of the coming year. As an investor, I'm inclined to bet on the biggest name franchises and none come bigger than Grand Theft Auto. I still don't believe it's fair to value parent Take-Two for less than the retail sales footprint of its signature property -- especially when there are so many more games in its portfolio, from Bioshock to the 2K imprint of sports games to Max Payne and Red Dead Redemption.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Which do you rate as the industry's top video games? Would you buy, sell, or hold Take-Two Interactive stock at current prices? Leave a comment in the box below to let us know what you think.

Start 2014 off right
The best defense against failure in the market is preparation, and that means doing the hard work to find big winners before they take off. Are you willing to make that sort of commitment? Let us help. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has just hand-picked his favorite opportunity for the year ahead in our new report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Free and immediate access is simply a click away, so get your copy now.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive, and Walt Disney and owns shares of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information