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Big Video-Game Launches Won’t Move the Needle

Mega-hit franchises like 'Halo' and 'Call of Duty' may perform well, but don't expect a big jump in share prices


For avid gamers, there will be some hot new titles to play for the holiday season. Of course, Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) launched Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) released Halo 4.

So far, the new titles are getting lots of traction. According to GameStop (NYSE:GME), it logged sales of 1 million copies of Call of Duty yesterday. Based on this data point, the game may be a record-breaker — and pre-orders were much higher than those for last year’s version.

Despite this cheery outlook, the stock price for Activision remains a laggard, dropping a grueling 12% year-to-date.

For the most part, the video gaming business is fairly mature and is coming under pressure from emerging categories, such as mobile and social. Besides, it is extremely expensive to develop and market new titles. So a flop could mean a devastating hit to the financials.

As for Microsoft, its Halo 4 title is off to a strong start. The company thinks it can generate more than $300 million in revenues for the first week.

But such lofty sales numbers will do little for Microsoft’s stock price. Investors are more concerned about the company’s reliance on the PC business, which has been lagging. The mobile strategy has also had many challenges. And of course, the company’s Windows division leader, Steven Sinofsky, abruptly left the company yesterday.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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