GameStop says PS5, Xbox Series X on track for 2020 launches
"Game On" is The Fly's weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.
NEW RELEASES: This week's major release is a remake of Capcom's (CCOEY) 1999 game "Resident Evil 3." The game, a follow-up to last year's "Resident Evil 2" remake, comes out on April 3 for PC, PlayStation 4 (SNE), and Xbox One (MSFT). Also out this week is Atlus' role-playing game "Persona 5: Royal," an enhanced re-release of 2017's "Persona 5." The game rolls out for PlayStation 4 consoles on March 31 worldwide.
GAMESTOP: Last Thursday, video game retailer GameStop (GME) reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter, with total global comparable store sales falling 26.1% year-over-year. Commenting on the quarter, CEO George Sherman said that the coronavirus outbreak has led to increased demand for the retailer's products, though the company has opted to suspend further guidance amid the uncertainty around the "evolving situation." The company added that it is still evaluating markets for "continued store dedensification," though the retailer said on its quarterly call that the closures are not in response to recent market trends.
Of note, GameStop also said on its call that new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, namely the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, are still on track for late 2020 launches and that it continues to see the Nintendo Switch (NTDOY) resonating with customers, as the system continued to perform well at the company's stores in the back half of 2019.
ANIMAL CROSSING: Japan's Famitsu reported last week that Nintendo's latest Switch exclusive "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" had sold over 1.88M package copies at retail in its first three days on sale in Japan. The number makes the game's debut the biggest for any Switch game in Japan to date, Famitsu noted.
Following the report, JPMorgan analyst Haruka Mori said that the game's contribution to fiscal 2019 results will likely be limited to initial shipments, but sales volume is likely to increase further in fiscal 2020 and be one of the major titles in terms of FY20 earnings contribution. Mori added that while concerns about console shortages may linger in the short term, she believes that the expanded base of those who play "Animal Crossing" games, mainly Switch Lite users, will be a positive for the earnings outlook for the next fiscal year.
AKAMAI DOWNLOADS: Last Tuesday, Akamai (AKAM) said in a blog post that it was taking steps to reduce gaming software downloads at peak times in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. "In regions where demand is creating bottlenecks for customers, we will be reducing gaming software downloads at peak times, completing the downloads at the normal fast speeds late at night," the company said. "This approach will help ensure every internet user and consumer continues to have the high-quality experience they expect across all of their internet services, and that gamers will still get the download they want, though it may take longer than usual during peak usage times. Even more importantly, this will help ensure healthcare workers and first responders working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 have continual access to the vital digital services they need."
OTHER STORIES TO WATCH:
Yesterday, GameInformer reported that Germany's PlayStation Store briefly leaked a listing for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered" (ATVI) with a release listing of March 31.
In a surprise Direct presentation last week, Nintendo announced that ports of Take-Two (TTWO) games "XCOM 2 Collection," "Borderlands Legendary Collection," and "BioShock Remastered Collection" will all be coming to the Nintendo Switch on May 29.
Meanwhile, Take-Two's "The Outer Worlds" will be coming to the Switch on June 5, 2020, following a coronavirus-related delay, developer Obsidian announced.
In esports news, Capcom announced last Thursday that it has canceled the first half of the 2020 Capcom Pro Tour, which is the company's official "Street Fighter V" esports competition, in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Keywords: video games, game on, animal crossing, switch, resident evil, gamestop, akamai, covid-19, coronavirus