What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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New “Call of Duty” 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 new release is Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.” The latest in the popular first-person shooter franchise launches October 28 for PlayStation 4 (SONY), PS5, Xbox One (MSFT), PC, and Xbox Series X/S. Also out this week is Nintendo’s (NTDOY) “Bayonetta 3,” an action-adventure title developed by PlatinumGames that launches exclusively for Switch on October 28. In addition, Capcom’s (CCOEY) 2021 horror title “Resident Evil Village” is being ported to macOS (AAPL) and Nintendo Switch on October 28.

NPD HARDWARE: 

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said that U.S. consumer spending on video game content, hardware and accessories reached $4.1B during the month of September 2022, a decline of 4% when compared to the same month a year ago. Hardware was the best performing segment during September, led by double-digit percentage growth for both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles. Year-to-date total video game spending across content, hardware and accessories is now 8% lower than 2021, at $38.4B. Hardware sales in September increased 19% when compared to a year ago, the third consecutive month of double-digit % growth. Improved supply of PlayStation 5 was a primary driver of the increase, with PlayStation 5 ranking first in both unit and dollar sales. Nintendo Switch ranked 2nd in unit sales among hardware platforms in the month, while Xbox Series placed 2nd in dollar sales.

NPD SOFTWARE: 

Meanwhile, NPD’s Piscatella said that U.S. video game content spending fell 7% in the month of September year-over-year, to $3.4B. Content performance was driven by a double-digit percentage gain in non-mobile video game subscription spending, which was offset by declines across other content segments. Six new video game releases ranked among the top 8 best-selling titles of the month in tracked spending. The top selling games in the U.S. in September, according to NPD, where Electronic Arts’ (EA) “FIFA 23,” EA’s “Madden NFL 23,” Take-Two’s (TTWO) “NBA 2K23,” Nintendo’s “Splatoon 3,” Sony’s “The Last of Us Part I,” Konami’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection,” Bandai Namco’s (NCBDY) “Elden Ring,” and Microsoft’s “Minecraft.”

MICROSOFT/CMA: 

A number of stories emerged last week in the midst of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority investigating Microsoft’s proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard. Of note, The Verge’s Tom Warren reported that Microsoft told the CMA it is working on an Xbox mobile store to directly offer games on mobile devices, potentially rivaling Apple and Google (GOOGL) in the space. The company has previously hinted at such an endeavor, but has recently quietly revealed details of the plans in filings with the CMA, adding that a big motivation for the takeover is to help build out its mobile presence. The Fly notes that Activision Blizzard owns King, which is the developer of the “Candy Crush” series of mobile games.

With respect to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service, the Xbox maker told the CMA that Sony has been blocking the “Call of Duty” franchise from appearing on Game Pass, and may continue to prohibit it even if Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard is completed, according to Forbes‘ Paul Tassi. The software and technology giant said that an agreement between the PlayStation maker and Activision Blizzard “includes restrictions on the ability of Activision Blizzard to place Call of Duty title on Game Pass for a number of years,” Tassi said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also told CMA that it believes cloud gaming is “immature” and “unproven,” according to the Washington Post’s Shannon Liao. Today cloud gaming remains in its infancy and unproven as a consumer proposition,” Microsoft wrote. The company added in its written response that it doesn’t anticipate the situation with cloud gaming to improve in the next few years, and doesn’t expect cloud gaming to replace consoles or PC, as it is a “new and immature technology,” according to Liao.

OTHER STORIES TO WATCH:

  • U.K. game console sales surged 41% in September, Gamesindustry.biz reports [more]
  • Electronic Arts said that a new “Sims” game is currently in development [more]
  • The Communications Workers of America filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Activision Blizzard, WaPo reports [more]
  • Bethesda’s “Fallout 4,” which first launched in 2015, will be getting a next-generation update in 2023 [more]
  • Tencent’s (TCEHY) Riot Forge delayed the release of two “League of Legends” spinoff games to 2023 from 2022 [more]

Originally Posted October 25, 2022 – What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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