DC Is Still Destroying Marvel in This Key Area

The new trailer for “Batman: Arkham Knight” thrills would-be buyers as Marvel searches for a franchise of its own.

Mar 7, 2014 at 7:37AM


Warner and DC Entertainment plan to release the final installment in the "Arkham" series of games this year. Source: Warner Interactive.

Looking at the trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, the final installment in the award-winning game series, I'd almost swear Christopher Nolan was working on a new film starring the Dark Knight. Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) investors might be even better off today if Marvel put as much effort into video games. (Sigh.)

But don't take my word for it. More than 2.6 million have tuned in to the Arkham Knight trailer as of this writing. You're welcome to join them via the embedded video I've included at the end of this article. 

A better bat signal
Why so much enthusiasm for the new game? Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) turned to subsidiary and Arkham series originator Rocksteady Studios to develop Arkham Knight, which Warner says will ship sometime this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. (Sorry, fellow Mac users.) If history is any guide, retailers will sell on the order of 2 million units the first week, or about in line with the last Rocksteady-produced title in the series, Batman: Arkham City.

Warner could use the help. The company's Montreal-based games division orchestrated the last try in the series, Arkham Origins, only to see the title suffer numerous glitches and fail to wow critics. For example, Metacritic's combined score of Arkham Origins came in at 74 versus 91 for the Rocksteady-produced Arkham City.

Sales also lagged. According to VGChartz, Arkham Origins has sold about 3.54 million copies to console, PC, and mobile players. By contrast, Arkham City sold 9.82 million copies on the same basis. In bringing Rocksteady back for Arkham Knight, executives seem to be hoping for better scores and sales. And yet it's worth noting Warner's worst effort in the Arkham series is producing at roughly the same level as Marvel's best.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes, released last October, has sold 3.6 million copies as of this writing, according to VGChartz. Deadpool, Marvel's other recent try in the console gaming market, sold just 460,000 copies via publisher Activision Blizzard. Average performance at best, yet probably acceptable to Disney, which hasn't been shy about farming out game development work. Electronic Arts is already in process developing a Star Wars title for the House of Mouse.

Warner isn't willing to take the sort of chance, and that's good news for its investors. Rocksteady's history of thrilling gamers should be more than enough to sell 7 million to 10 million copies of Arkham Knight, especially if the gameplay delivers on the trailer I promised to show you. Enjoy:

Rocksteady Studios, creator of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, is the team behind the soon-to-be-released Batman: Arkham Knight. Sources: Warner Interactive, YouTube.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect from Batman: Arkham Knight? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think about Warner handing the reins back to Rocksteady Studios, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Time Warner stock at current prices.

Your pop culture knowledge is power. Use it for good.
Admit it. Even as Wall Street's chinwags moaned about the price tag, you knew Disney had struck gold when it purchased Marvel in 2009. How right were you? The stock has more than tripled since, all while paying dividends! Fortune-making returns like that are why we spend so much time writing about the business of comics, movies, TV, and video games. Like you, we're fans of all those things. But we're also experienced investors who want to help you turn your knowledge of all things geek into cold, hard moola, which is why we've created a special report to help you get started investing. Don't worry, it's free -- click here now to claim your copy.

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 Time Warner and 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.

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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.

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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.

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