‘Call of Duty: WWII’ Dominates Black Friday and Cyber Monday Video Game Sales

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It’s the holiday season, the economy is great and most people just cannot get enough of their favorite forms of in-home entertainment. That leaves the opening for a great video game market in the holidays of 2017. It turns out that Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) is in the running to be the hands-down winner for its release of “Call of Duty: WWII” game.

This appears to have been the best-seller for holiday sales of video games so far in 2017. There has been a heavy level of promotional activities for the game, as well as frequent advertising in multiple mediums.

If you want some strong sales data, the November 8 press release from Activision Blizzard showed that the “Call of Duty: WWII” had gone above $500 million in sell-through worldwide in its first three days of release alone.

Best Buy was shown to have a $20 markdown, which basically made the price $40 plus tax. Wedbush, Cowen and Stifel have all indicated that the hit video game was sold out early on Friday in stores that their teams visited. The Wedbush report noted:

Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: WWII appeared to be the most popular game available last week, with Best Buy offering the lowest price we saw at $39.99, representing a $20 discount.

We think Best Buy had a successful Black Friday, as traffic and inventory levels appeared to be higher than last year.

There were mixed results from our consumer electronics channel checks on Black Friday, with moderate inventory levels for Fitbit products, low HERO6 inventory, and relatively high HERO5 inventory in the stores we checked.

One issue that will help Activision Blizzard in this game is the Season Pass for $49.99. This may not help the retailers if it is just streamed directly to consoles. The season pass will allow gamers to follow the journey with 4 DLC Packs in 2018 with new multiplayer maps, new chapters of Nazi zombies and other new missions. The Deluxe Edition is $89.99 with Gold (or $99.99 without).

Activision Blizzard shares were down marginally on Monday morning and 0.2% lower to $65.90 ahead of the noon hour. Their 52-week trading range is $35.12 to $67.03, and the consensus analyst target price is $71.44. It seems hard to imagine, but Activision Blizzard’s market cap was last seen right under $50 billion.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) also was showing strong sales of its newest FIFA soccer and Madden football titles this season. Its shares were last seen down at $107.25, in a 52-week range of $73.74 to $122.79 and with a consensus target price of $127.92. Electronic Arts recently announced the acquisition of Respawn Entertainment, an independent action and shooter game development studio behind the Titanfall franchise.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) was shown to be selling strong for its latest NBA video game installment. Take-Two shares were last seen down at $117.10, in a 52-week range of $46.27 to $120.62 and with a consensus target price of $126.58. The company recently released new and enhanced versions of its L.A. Noire franchise under its Rockstar Games unit. Oppenheimer also raised Take-Two’s price target to $135 from $112 during the Thanksgiving break.

Amazon has been doing promotions for Cyber Monday as well. The online giant’s video games section said:

Save up to 60% on hit games, including Call of Duty: WWII, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Injustice 2, and Overwatch. … Save up to 50% on select Nintendo Switch accessories.

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) is a company that keeps coming up as a loser due to direct streaming from game-makers to consumers. Some investors (particularly short sellers) think the entire company is a bust in the years ahead, similar to how Blockbuster was replaced in movie rentals. GameStop shares were actually up 1.7% at $17.72, but its 52-week range is $15.85 to $26.85 and the consensus target price is $21.35.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) was last seen up 1.3% at $57.75 on Monday, in a 52-week range of $41.67 to $63.32 and with a consensus analyst target of $59.45. Best Buy has been using sales of new phones and appliances, as well as higher dollar sales of newer and larger flat panel 4K television sets as a buffer against its old reputation of merely being “an Amazon showroom,” wherein buyers would go into the stores and then buy the exact same product online for less or for free delivery.