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What You Missed This Week in Video Games

Posted February 8, 2023 at 3:00 pm
Sam Martinelli
The Fly

New ‘Harry Potter’ video game out this week

“Game On” is The Fly’s weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.

NEW RELEASES: 

This week’s biggest release is Warner Bros. Discovery’s (WBD) “Hogwarts Legacy,” a role-playing game in the “Harry Potter” franchise. The game launches February 10 for PlayStation 5 (SONY), Xbox Series X/S (MSFT), and PC, with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch (NTDOY) releases expected later in 2023.

Click here to check out recent Media Buzz Sentiment on Warner Bros. Discovery as measured by TipRanks.

EARNINGS ROUNDUP: 

Many of gaming’s biggest publishers reported quarterly results in the past week, starting with Electronic Arts (EA) last Tuesday, which reported downbeat third quarter earnings and net bookings. Looking ahead, the company provided a downbeat outlook for the fourth quarter and lowered its fiscal 2023 earnings and net bookings guidance, in part due to the delay of upcoming title “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor,” which will now release on April 28 instead of in March. Meanwhile, the game maker announced that it halted development on “Apex Legends Mobile” and “Battlefield Mobile.”

Take-Two (TTWO) reported Q3 results after the market close yesterday, with both GAAP earnings per share and net bookings coming in below Wall Street estimates. The company also provided Q4 guidance below consensus estimates and clashed its net bookings outlook for FY23. Of note, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier in an interview that December release “Marvel’s Midnight Suns” was a commercial flop, despite being a critical success. Zelnick added that “it’s possible the release window wasn’t perfect,” adding that he believes the game could have a long tail.

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) reported downbeat Q4 adjusted earnings but better-than-expected net bookings for the quarter. The company noted that Q4 mobile net bookings grew mid-teens year-over-year, with in-game net bookings rising 46% year-over-year.

Additionally, Nintendo reported a slight year-over-year decline in nine-month revenue as well as a drop in operating profit for the period. The game maker noted that hardware units sold for the period were down 21.3% year-over-year, though The Fly notes that the cumulative sales total for the hybrid console makes it the third highest selling game system of all time, surpassing Sony’s PlayStation 4 and just behind the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2. Nintendo also lowered its FY23 revneue and operating profit outlook, saying it aims to maintain hardware sales momentum by “continuing to convery the appeal of the Nintendo Switch family of systems.”

E3: 

After IGN reported last week that Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo would not have a physical presence at this year’s E3 event, The Fly reached out to several independent game developers and publishers asking if they had any plans to attend E3 or any other major trade show in 2023. Mike Rose, director at “Let’s Build a Zoo” publisher No More Robots, said that his company’s plan is to “to announce a big game this summer, and we’re certainly thinking about how that can align around the general E3 timeline. But for us really, it doesn’t super matter whether it’s ‘at’ E3 or not — as long as people can see the announcement somewhere online, we don’t really have a problem where it’s happening.”

Meanwhile, Lukasz Kukawski, PR lead at “Frostpunk” publisher and developer 11 bit studios, said that many companies are still taking a “pretty cautious approach” to physical events. “The pandemics have changed the way many developers and publishers plan their promotional activities, with some betting more on digital events rather than physical ones,” Kukawski added. “At the same time, E3 had its own challenges even before the COVID breakout with companies like EA, PlayStation or Activision skipping the show and organizing their own events around it. The news about ReedPop collaborating on the E3 organization, with their successful track record on events like PAX, received positive vibes in the industry. At the same time, there’s still just a handful of information about the show which may keep companies restrained. We definitely see a great value in meeting face-to-face with the press, gamers, and business partners during gaming expos. As for our presence at E3, we have not yet announced anything about it.”

Additionally, Nate Austin, co-owner of “Wildermyth” developer Worldwalker Games, said, “We won’t be attending, but we typically don’t. For us, fan-facing conventions feel the most relevant, but we’re not making a big push this year, so we don’t have anything scheduled.”

  • Microsoft expects the U.K.’s CMA to oppose its proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard, NY Times reports [more]
  • Ubisoft+ (UBSFY) on Xbox may be imminent, Windows Central reports [more]
  • Activision Blizzard will pay $35M in a settlement with the SEC over whistleblower rule [more]
  • PlayStation 5 sales in the U.K. rose 98% y/y in January, Gamesindustry.biz reports [more]
  • Nintendo plans to increase workers’ pay 10%, Reuters reports [more]
  • EA canceled development of an unannounced “Apex Legends” title, Bloomberg says [more]

Originally Posted February 7, 2023 – What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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