"Game On" is The Fly's weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.
NEW RELEASES: This week's big release is the PlayStation 5 (SNE) port of Sega's (SGAMY) role-playing game "Yakuza: Like a Dragon." The game originally launched on PlayStation 4 in Japan early last year and released worldwide for PS4, Xbox One (MSFT), PC, and Xbox Series X/S on November 10, 2020.
GAMESTOP: Last week, GameStop (GME) announced that chief financial officer Jim Bell would be resigning from his roles on March 26, 2021, spurring the company to initiate a search for a new permanent CFO. The gaming retailer appointed Diana Jajeh, senior vice president and chief accounting officer at the company, to the role of interim CFO. Following the news, Bloomberg's Anders Melin reported that GameStop is seeking a new finance chief who is more in line with Ryan Cohen's vision. Cohen, the founder of Chewy (CHWY), has pushed GameStop to rethink its business and compete with Amazon (AMZN), according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Business Insider's Ben Gilbert reported last Thursday that Bell didn't quit, but was rather forced to resign by GameStop's board as part of a push by Cohen.
In other GameStop news, Andrew Left's Citron Research last week put a $50 price target on Esports Entertainment Group (GMBL), saying he believes GameStop should acquire the company. "There is one way for GME to seamlessly both pivot away from its secularly declining retail business and monetize its customer database, and that answer is to acquire Esports Entertainment Group," Citron said.
'ANTHEM': In a blog post last week, Christian Dailey, head of Electronic Arts' (EA) BioWare Austin studio, announced that the developer had decided to stop new development work on "Anthem," a live services shooter that originally released in early 2019. Dailey noted that the company will continue to keep the current "Anthem" live service running as it presently exists. "Since Anthem’s launch, the team has been working hard to continually improve the game, releasing multiple updates that brought with them a variety of improvements and introduced new content to play," he said. "Towards the end of 2019 we expanded on that effort and started working on a more fundamental restructure of the game."
"2020 was a year unlike any other however and while we continue to make progress against all our game projects at BioWare, working from home during the pandemic has had an impact on our productivity and not everything we had planned as a studio before COVID-19 can be accomplished without putting undue stress on our teams," Dailey added. In a report on the matter, GameSpot's Steve Watts pointed out that "Anthem," which appeared to be EA's answer to Bungie's popular "Destiny" franchise, did not meet its initial sales expectations.
STADIA: Bloomberg's Jason Schreier reported Friday Google's (GOOG) attempt to break into the gaming industry through its cloud gaming service Stadia has failed to deliver, despite its major investment in the product as well as exclusive titles. The teams of developers the tech giant hired several years ago in Los Angeles and Montreal barely had time to get started before they were dismissed earlier in February as the company shut down in-house game development, Schreier said. Following its late 2019 launch, Stadia has missed initial sales targets by "hundreds of thousands," and spent "astronomical" sums of money, in the millions of dollars each, to bring in major AAA titles to the platform, including Take-Two's (TTWO) "Red Dead Redemption 2" and Ubisoft's (UBSFY) "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey" and "The Division 2," Schreier noted.
OTHER STORIES TO WATCH:
In an online presentation Friday, Nintendo (NTDOY) announced several new "Pokemon" games in a Direct presentation earlier today, including "Pokemon Brilliant Diamond" and "Pokemon Shining Pearl," full remakes of "Pokemon Diamond" and "Pokemon Pearl," coming to the Switch in late 2021.
Sony Interactive Entertainment said it will no longer offer movie and TV purchases and rentals through its PlayStation Store as of August 31, 2021.
In other Sony news, Bloomberg's Takashi Mochizuki reported that the company is preparing to open up PS5s for internal storage upgrades later this year.
Meanwhile, Sony told GQ that the launch of upcoming PS5 exclusive racing sim "Gran Turismo 7" has been delayed to 2022.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) announced earlier last week that "Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1+2" will be coming to PlayStation 5 (SNE) and Xbox Series X/S (MSFT) on March 26, and to the Nintendo Switch (NTDOY) for the first time later in 2021.