"Game On" is The Fly's weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD: After the market close last Tuesday, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings and net bookings for the second quarter, with CEO Bobby Kotick saying the company was "pleased" that the company "continued to deliver strong results," including 408M total monthly active users in the quarter across the company's many games. Looking ahead, Activision Blizzard provided somewhat upbeat third quarter earnings and bookings guidance while raising its guidance views for adjusted earnings and net bookings for fiscal 2021.
On the company's quarterly earnings conference call, executives somewhat addressed the recent controversy around a California state lawsuit over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination at the game maker, saying that harassers will be "held accountable for their actions" and that it is "carefully monitoring" its business operations.
The earnings report came after Kotaku's Ian Walker reported that Activision Blizzard employees had released a statement actions in the wake of the suit. The statement in particular called out CEO Bobby Kotick's lack of "meaningful" progress following his first public statement and the decision by management to hire a law firm with an anti-union history to conduct an internal review, Walker noted. You said you would do everything possible to work with employees in improving our workplace," ABK Workers Alliance said in a statement sent to Kotaku. "And yet, the solutions you proposed in that letter did not meaningfully address our requests. You ignored our call for an end to mandatory arbitration. You did not commit to adopting inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. You made no comment on pay transparency."
In the midst of the company's quarterly earnings, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that Blizzard's head of global human resources Jesse Meschuk had also left the game maker, following the departure of Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. Meanwhile, the game maker's esports leagues have also begun to feel some pressure as a result of the suit, with Dexerto's Theo Salaun reporting that T-Mobile (TMUS) appears to have dropped its sponsorship agreement with the Call of Duty League and Overwatch League. In addition, the Washington Post's Teddy Amenbar said that Coca-Cola (KO) and State Farm were reassessing their Overwatch League partnership.
EA EARNINGS: Electronic Arts (EA) also released its quarterly report last week, reporting better-than-expected earnings and net bookings for the first quarter and raising its earnings and bookings guidance for fiscal 2022. "We've had a very strong start to the fiscal year with our incredible teams delivering experiences that continue to bring hundreds of millions of players together," said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts. "Our new launches, leading games, and live services all had an outstanding quarter. With our expanding EA SPORTS portfolio, more amazing experiences in Apex Legends, the groundbreaking new Battlefield 2042, and our leading live services including mobile, we're set to deliver more great games and content to players this year." Of note, EA said on its quarterly call that "Mass Effect: Legendary Edition" has performed above expectations and that it will continue to invest in the "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" franchise.
NINTENDO EARNINGS: Nintendo (NTDOY) also reported Q1 results and provided 2022 earnings guidance last week. Notably, the Japanese game giant said it sold 4.45M Switch units in the quarter, bringing lifetime hardware sales for the console of 89.04M. The company noted that, for the Switch, unit sales rose year-on-year despite factors such as logistics delays caused by COVID-19 and the impact of the semiconductor shortage on production, mainly because COVID-19 had a significant impact on production during the same period of last fiscal year. For Nintendo Switch Lite, unit sales declined compared to the same period of last fiscal year, when Nintendo had relatively plentiful inventories for Europe and North America and unit sales were high.
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