With the novel coronavirus pandemic resulting in self-isolation, it’s not just video conferencing stocks that are in the spotlight. Video games are having a major moment as well. And that is having an effect on gaming stocks.
Here are four gaming stocks to keep an eye on during the coronavirus lockdown:
- Nintendo (OTCMKTS:NTDOY)
- Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL)
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
- Sony (NSYE:SNE)
One of these companies is seeing their stock pop in a big way. Nintendo has been on a tear since mid-March and has now posted gains of 40% since then.
The other gaming stock are building interest, hoping gamers will come out of the coronavirus pandemic ready to plunk down their cash.
First up on this list of gaming stocks finding success during the coronavirus lockdown is Nintendo. Nintendo couldn’t have timed the release of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” for the Switch any better if it had tried.
The family-friendly game which launched at the end of March has no shooting, no explosions, and no dramatically rendered aliens. Instead, players wander around a deserted island. They pick up fruit, fish, and use the proceeds of their gathering to craft and decorate a home, then build a society as they interact with animal characters on other islands. Their island paradise can be shared with real life friends and family, who can visit from their own islands.
In other words, it’s the perfect game for a time when people are on lockdown, isolated, and stressed out. The New York Times called Animal Crossing “the game for the coronavirus moment.”
Since the release the game shattered sales records in Japan. Figures haven’t yet been released for North America, but it appears to be doing just as well here. The popularity of the game has also resulted in downloads of Nintendo’s mobile app version of the franchise — “Animal Crossing:Pocket Camp” — seeing seven times the usual download volume, while there have been shortages of Nintendo’s Switch consoles in stores.
There is probably no other gaming stock that’s getting a boost from coronavirus the way NTDOY has.
Google (GOOG, GOOGL)
Google’s Stadia game streaming service got off to a bit of a rocky start, but the company is stepping things up during the coronavirus shutdown.
On April 8, Google announced that Stadia Pro will be free for two months. No console or gaming PC needed, just a basic computer, tablet, or Android smartphone. Players even get instant access to nine games at no charge. Those who had already ponied up for a Stadia Pro subscription get a credit for those two months.
Will Stadia turn into a success? Opening up its game streaming service for free during the pandemic is a savvy move on Google’s part — earning good will, and possibly hooking players who will continue to pay once the current crisis is over.
Sony has very carefully dolled out information about its next-generation Playstation 5 game console over the past several months.
On April 7, it revealed the first glimpse of what the new system will physically look like by unveiling the PS5’s DualSense wireless game controllers.
The result was instant headlines and renewed excitement about the big release. The Verge called the new controller Sony’s “most exciting design since the original PlayStation.” Many publications felt the same way. Some didn’t take it as well, but the company accomplished the goal of getting gamers talking about the Playstation 5.
Like Sony, the last on this list of gaming stocks, Microsoft, has a lot riding on the launch of its next game console. Perhaps even more than Sony.
After losing the current generation console sales title to Sony’s Playstation 4, investors are looking for MSFT to take the crown with the Xbox Series X. And they’re looking for a big revenue bump over the holiday shopping season, after a year of sliding Xbox One sales.
On March 16, Microsoft revealed full details about the new Xbox Series X, including photos of the console and its controller, full specifications, and compatibility with previous generation Xbox games. Microsoft also confirmed the console’s holiday 2020 launch.
Those details have given gamers plenty to chat about while in isolation. The one detail still up in the air? Price. Expect Microsoft to hold off on that bit of information until the last minute. In the meantime, those who are able are making plans to set aside their coronavirus stimulus check to put towards the new console when it’s released.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.