For The Win: Can 'Last Jedi' boost 'Battlefront 2' sales?
Welcome to "For The Win," The Fly's weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks. EA HOPES FOR 'STAR WARS' BOOST: On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs analyst Christopher Merwin downgraded Electronic Arts (EA) to Buy from Conviction Buy to reflect fewer near-term catalysts around in-game monetization of non-sports titles. The analyst noted that since being added to Goldman's Conviction List on September 8, EA shares are down roughly 9%, largely due to an execution misstep around the implementation of in-game monetization in "Star Wars Battlefront 2." Meanwhile, Dan Gallagher wrote in the Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" column that EA may be hoping that the release of Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will boost sales for "Battlefront 2." The game sold 900,000 copies through retail locations in the first two weeks of sale, a 49% dip from initial retail sales of the first "Battlefront" game, Gallagher noted. GOLDMAN UPS ACTIVISION TO BUY: On the other side of the coin, Goldman's Merwin upgraded Activition Blizzard (ATVI) to Buy from Neutral and raised his price target on the shares to $73 from $67. Merwin said he recommends owning this discounted "high-quality" asset ahead of accelerating earnings growth over the next 2-3 years. The analyst raised his 2019 and 2020 estimates as well to reflect a robust pipeline of games including "Diablo," "Overwatch 2," and a Blizzard mobile title. SWITCH SALES REACH 10M: On the hardware front, Nintendo (NTDOY) said earlier this week that its Switch system has already sold 10M units worldwide, despite launching in March, a month "not usually reserved for home console launches." For comparison, the Wii U, Nintendo's previous home console, has sold just 13.56M units total since its November 2012 launch, according to the company's IR site. EA DIS ATVI NTDOY