1-Up on Wall Street: Will Telltale's "The Walking Dead" Forever Change Gaming?

Three Fools take to the air to discuss story versus spectacle in the video game business, and offer some ideas for which studios stand to profit most.

Mar 9, 2014 at 7:15AM

Story-driven video games are grabbing more headlines than they have in years. Take The Last of Us, an action narrative developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony (NYSE:SNE), which took home Game of the Year and several more honors during this year's D.I.C.E. awards. Telltale's The Walking Dead won the top honor the year before, at Spike's Video Game Awards. Does this mean we should expect studios to cut back on shoot-'em-up spectacle and focus more on open worlds and compelling characters?

Host Ellen Bowman puts this question to analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this week's episode of "1-Up on Wall Street," The Motley Fool's Web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.

We're examining the topic at an interesting time. Telltale recently released Episode 2 of season of The Walking Dead to rave reviews. GameSpot scores the game 8 out of 10, while Geek Legacy scores it 8.5 out of 10. Metacritic's combined scoring system places the title at 81 out of 100. Tim says you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't like what Telltale has done with the sequel, or any of the other narrative-driven games making headlines right now.

Screen Zombiefight

Players face complicated choices and harrowing encounters in Telltale's latest in The Walking Dead franchise. Source: Telltale Games.

Nathan agrees but points out that glowing reviews don't always pay off at the retail counter. Take The Last of Us, which, according to data compiled by VGChartz, has sold 4.34 million copies worldwide despite the year's second-biggest sales debut. By contrast, Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ: ATVI) Call of Duty: Ghosts has sold more than 19.8 million copies despite largely unfavorable reviews from players. The message? While players say they want great stories, they're buying shoot-'em-up spectacles such as Ghosts or Battlefield 4.

Now it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. Do you see a shift under way in video game development? Or do you expect studios to keep delivering more of the same? Please watch the video as Ellen puts Tim and Nathan on the spot, and be sure to check back here often for more "1-Up on Wall Street" segments.

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Admit it. You knew Take-Two Interactive had a blockbuster on its hands in Grand Theft Auto V. You also knew Zynga would flame out as soon as its user base of non-gamers lost interest. You know what's interesting? Both of those insights could have made you some serious money if you'd committed to investing in the businesses affected by them. Fortune-making decisions like this are why, here at the Fool, we spend so much time writing about the business of comics, movies, TV, and video games. We're not just fans of all those things. We're also experienced investors who want to help you turn your knowledge of all things geek into cold, hard moola, and we've created a special report to help. Don't worry; it's free -- just click here now to learn how to get started investing.

Neither Ellen Bowman nor Nathan Alderman nor Tim Beyers owns shares in any of the stocks mentioned in this article at the time of publication. The Motley Fool recommends Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard. 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.

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