Market Overview

E3 2015: Will EA, Activision Or Take-Two Impress Investors?


Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) are some of the biggest publishers heading to the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

All three companies closed down on Monday -- should investors be worried, or are they ready to impress at this year's E3?

Asif Khan, CFO of Virtue LLC and CEO of, recently dissected these publishers (and their anticipated software lineup) to see if they have what it takes to impress Wall Street.

Electronic Arts

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) signed a multi-year agreement with EA two years ago that will allow the publisher to develop new games based on the "Star Wars" franchise. The first project is a new chapter in the "Star Wars: Battlefront" franchise.

"I hope we get more color on that -- an idea of how great it's going to be," Khan told Benzinga.

EA also discussed its lineup of sports games (most notably "Madden 2016"), as well as the long-awaited sequel to "Mirror's Edge."


Khan summed up Activision pretty quickly: "That's just more 'Call of Duty,' isn't it? More 'Call of Duty,' more 'Skylanders.'"

"It's Activision," he said. "They just take their IP and ring it out over the sink and scoop up whatever juice comes out of it. They do a great job of it. They're the largest third-party software developer [and] I'm not gonna argue with what they're doing."

Activision is also expected to introduce a new chapter in the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" series.

Related Link: E3 2015: Why AMD And NVIDIA Are Worth Watching

Take-Two Interactive

Take-Two is rumored to be working on "Red Dead Redemption 2," but Khan isn't holding his breath.

"There's what I want Take-Two to do and there's likely what will happen," he explained. "What I want them to do is, I want to see a 'Red Dead' sequel, and I want to see probably some downloadable content for 'GTA5.'"

Khan said that he expects Take-Two to unveil new DLC for "Grand Theft Auto 5." He also expects to see a new edition to the "L.A. Noire" franchise.

"I don't think we'll get a 'Red Dead' sequel or prequel or whatever," he said. "That game was one of the best ever. A lot of people on our site love it."

Fans might want to lower their expectations this year.

"I trade the stock and I'm currently long [Take-Two] through options," Khan continued. "You buy the stock for its launch in 'GTA.' You hold it for two quarters and then you sell it. Then you wait five years and do it again. Every five years they make like $2 billion in revenue on one game. No other company can do that. But I don't think this is the year that we get that. I think this is the year we get some DLC and maybe a game that has a cult following."

Related Link: E3 2015: How Sony Could Lose Its Leverage To Microsoft

Take-Two's Big Flop

Khan said that "Evolve," which was promoted heavily at last year's E3, was supposed to be the next big game for Take-Two. He said the final product (which arrived in April and sold less than one million units across three platforms) was "categorically a flop."

"There's no other way to describe 'Evolve,'" he added. "They tried to make a free-to-play game that they charged you for. That doesn't make any sense. No gamer wants that. It largely could be described as a failure."

"Evolve" has lowered Khan's expectations for future Take-Two releases.

"I'm not gonna get too excited if Take-Two shows off something new at E3," said Khan. "The things they're really good at are 2K Sports with NBA (and WWE now) and 'Grand Theft Auto' IP. Everything else is kind of like, 'Yeah, we also do that, but it's not what makes us money.'"

Anticipated Winner…

"Activision will probably have the best E3 out of those three," Khan concluded. "They'll have the best showing. People like the 'Black Ops' series and that's what we're getting - 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.' In that world, I think [it's] Activision with EA closely behind."

Khan said that it is an "off year" for Take-Two because the firm already released its biggest title, "Grand Theft Auto 5."

"They're not gonna show off "'GTA 6,'" said Khan. "And DLC for GTA tends to not sell very well. It can but you don't get these huge numbers like you tend to for [the full GTA games]."

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.


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