Fortnite Video Game Leads Baird's New Internet and Gaming Catalysts

The one constant in an ever-changing technology and communications landscape is the fact that change is ever present, and it is coming at investors at a pace that would have been almost unheard of a short 15 years ago. Think about it: the smartphone was born as the iPhone, and that was only 11 years ago in January of 2007. With the rate of change so rapid, it’s crucial for investors to know what’s around the proverbial corner.

At 24/7 Wall St., we constantly screen our research universe and other sources for information that may be helpful in investing, or at the very minimum is interesting. Often the data and catalysts we find can be helpful in determining the direction of technology, gaming, communications companies and more.

The Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) controversy is a big player in the public spotlight now, and the technology team at Baird have rounded up some fascinating tidbits and potential internet catalysts. They said this in the new research report:

It’s been quite a month for Facebook and Fortnite; this week we look at some of the tangential impacts from Cambridge Analytica and Fortnite’s rise to mainstream Relevance. In these occasional reports, we aim to highlight various rankings and lists that can provide investors with a glimpse into interesting trends, entertaining facts, and/or emerging themes covering Internet and Interactive Entertainment that are not always obvious from day-to-day research.

1. Internet users have had no problem when divulging their issues with Facebook recently. Many have asked Google “Ok Google, how do I delete Facebook.” In fact, indexed search volume for “Delete Facebook” has soared. Despite the jump, the analysts were surprised it wasn’t higher, given the incessant media coverage on the story.

2. Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) founder and CEO Elon Musk was not aware that two of his companies, Tesla and SpaceX, had Facebook pages. He recently responded to WhatsApp founder Brian Acton who initiated the “Delete Facebook” movement by asking “What’s Facebook?” When informed that both companies had pages with over 2.6 million followers each, both were hastily deleted, and the excuse was, “they were lame anyway.” Interestingly enough, they maintained the Instagram accounts for both.

3. Apparently, popular singer Drake has joined eSports star Nijam, rapper Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Schuster-Smith for a few bouts of the hugely popular battle royale game called Fortnite. Fortnite and PUBG are two video games that are among the hottest running. PUBG, which is the frontrunner, is being heavily challenged by Fortnite. Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) is said to be testing their own Battle Royale playground in the popular Call of Duty game.

4. The most popular search on Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) popular YouTube for the past 30 days is “Fortnite Mobile.” In the second slot is “Freaky Friday,” which is a music video from an artist names Lil Dicky. The Baird team finds it amusing, but note that discretion is advised.

5. Incredibly, someone paid a stunning $3,350 for a Fortnite item that was sold on eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY). For what you may ask? An early access code for Fortnite on mobile/iOS.

6. Fortnite generated an incredible $126 million in February in-app purchases, according to the firm Superdata. And for the first time it pulled ahead of the competition from PUBG.

7. In a display of what may be a sign of things to come, Fortnite’s Instagram account has 2.9 million followers, versus Fortnite’s Facebook page, which has 1.6 million followers. Clearly the younger demographic is skewing to Instagram.

8. The most popular research piece over the past two weeks at Baird was the firm’s report on Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), which covered the analysts’ takeaways from management meetings with the company. In the report they noted the “meteoric” rise of the Fortnite video game, and they still see multiple growth vectors benefiting the overall industry including users, platforms and monetization.

9. Lastly, the top tech CEO quote of the week came from Facebook’s embattled leader Mark Zuckerberg, when he said: “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” Perhaps the biggest understatement of this year.

There you have it, nine catalysts and tidbits that could all have some bearing on the gaming and technology landscape going forward. In a world that changes daily for technology, gaming and communications companies, just holding serve is not enough. The big companies know that, and they fight every day to keep one step ahead of the competition.