After a pandemic-fueled boom, most major gaming companies disappointed investors in 2022 due to a thin release schedule and an economic slowdown that kept a lid on sales of all but the most popular titles. Ubisoft Entertainment SA, Nintendo Co., Electronic Arts Inc., Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., and GameStop Corp. all posted results for the last quarter that missed Wall Street's expectations or shared disappointing outlooks for the beginning of this year.
Last year, there was a dearth of blockbuster game releases, and several anticipated titles slipped into 2023. Many of the big games that did release, such as Marvel's Midnight Suns by take-a-two and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope by Ubisoft, didn't experience the kind of demand that the publishers had hoped for.
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Activision Blizzard Inc. stood out in a sea of grim results for one clear reason: Call Of Duty Mobile Dragonfire Draw: Rewards, Price, All Details. The latest installment of the blockbuster series, Modern Warfare II, topped $1 billion in sales in 10 days in October and was the best-selling game of 2022, according to industry researcher NPD Group.
Activision’s ‘Call of Duty Sets It Apart as EA and Take-Two Stumble
These outcomes contributed to the largest increase in bookings in nine quarters, a 43% increase in the final three months of the year. “Consumer wallets have clearly tightened for everything but the blockbusters,” analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets wrote in a note following the results.
Take-Two Chief Executive Officer Strauss Zelnick conceded as much in his own comments on the company's results, which saw the publisher of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption cut its outlook for bookings in fiscal 2023 and give a disappointing forecast for the current quarter.
Call of Duty Sets It Apart as EA
“We believe that consumers shifted their holiday spending toward established blockbuster franchises and titles that were offered with pricing promotions in light of macroeconomic conditions,” Zelnick said. While Grand Theft Auto is one of the most lucrative game franchises of all time, Take Two's next installment in the series doesn't have an official release date.
Still, while a lot of the market depends on a much-hyped new release, the industry is also learning. Check the latest Update on the return of Battlegrounds Mobile India milk existing hits for years.
Many top gaming titles are no longer a one-time $60 purchase. They are made to be social experiences that can be replayed endlessly and are constantly getting new content. Service games like Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty, released in 2013 by Take-Two subsidiary Rockstar Games, continue to sell well. Last quarter, it exceeded 175 million units.
In these games, players continually purchase digital items or content expansions for months or years post-release. According to Call of Duty EA Chief Financial Officer Chris Suh, revenue from live-service games such as Apex Legends accounted for 75% of the company's business over the past 12 months. Pokemon Go Valentine’s Event 2023 coming soon! Celebrate new challenges In 2022, the top 3 games by monthly active users were released in 2017, 2011, and 2013, according to gaming analytics firm NewZoo.
Many analysts expect the industry to turn a corner this year. Call of Duty A packed calendar of buzzy releases from Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and Square Enix Holdings Co. could drive a rebound. On Friday, Hogwarts Legacy, inspired by the Harry Potter series, will be released from Warner Bros. Games. In mid-January, pre-order data on the game indicated sales could break records.
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Shares in Activision and Take-Two were up more than 5% on Tuesday, while Call of Duty shares at EA gained about 1%.