The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, just wrapped up in Los Angeles, and a number of companies took the opportunity to reveal their latest offerings in the gaming and entertainment space for this year and next. Here’s a look at how some of the public companies presenting at the event fared, and what the rest of the year looks like in light of this.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) had a lot to prove coming into the E3. For the past few years, and most noticeably back in 2013, the company has fallen short of Sony as far as crowd pleasing is concerned. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the same thing happened this year.
The company has three new consoles slated for release, all pretty much just slightly altered variants of its current offering, and there was no real focus on any of the three from a consumer perspective. This looks to have left markets questioning Microsoft’s entertainment segment marketing strategy, and it looks like it might hit the company when third quarter rolls by and the holiday season gets underway.
In contrast to Microsoft, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) came out of the conference having conveyed a clear message to its console customers. Specifically, there are swathes of new and highly anticipated games set for release pre-holiday season, and a virtual reality headset with games hitting markets before the fourth quarter kicks off. If the bout between these two at E3 is representative of who has the upper hand come holiday season, Sony is the stock to hold.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is a relative newcomer to the event, having entered the console gaming industry by way of its Oculus VR acquisition back in 2014. The company offered up some promising title releases set to hit shelves before the close of the year, but it also has drawn criticism for various grants given to developers on terms that see them agree to releasing media on Oculus before other platforms.
As Sony has demonstrated so acutely over the last few years, consumer sentiment is king in the gaming industry, and these sorts of practices might hurt Facebook’s Oculus prospects. This said, a solid performance paints Facebook’s gaming segment as a sound revenue driver nonetheless, and while it’s far less direct an exposure to the sector than Microsoft or Sony might be, its one to keep an eye on throughout the remainder of the year.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) acquired Twitch at the end of 2014 and has since gone on to carry the social gaming platform to its current industry leading position. The platform outranks YouTube from a revenue perspective in the game streaming space, pulling in more than 35% of the $3.8 billion industry during 2015, and the company’s performance at E3 suggests grand plans to build upon this domination across the next few years. Amazon is even less of a direct exposure than Facebook, but this might change in the years to come.
All said, once again it looks like Sony is the gaming stock to hold heading into the 2016 holiday season, but Amazon and Facebook make for intriguing, but speculative, indirect exposures to the space. Microsoft stock probably won’t disappoint, but it’s got a lot to do to catch up with Sony if it wants to take the crown and the market this time next year.