With E3 over, equity research firm BMO Capital Markets offers its perspective on all the big players and the industry as a whole going forward. According to BMO analyst Edward Williams the video games industry has earned an overall rating of "outperform." In a note to investors Williams says that the interactive entertainment industry is on the cusp of a "period of sustained growth."
Williams comes to this conclusion based on the press events this week at E3 which fully revealed two new consoles and a healthy line-up of games for them.
Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated analyst Colin Sebastian offered his E3 Expo wrap-up report to investors, saying the Sony's PlayStation 4 was the clear winner at the trade show which ends in a few hours.
Sebastian said that after meeting with multiple publishers and evaluating all of this year's E3 press conferences, his firm remains cautiously optimistic on the sector. He said that platform holders still need to offer a compelling reason to upgrade, and a clear value proposition for mainstream audiences.
In a FORM 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), bankrupt game publisher THQ disclosed that certain transactions that were the result of a massive asset auction have closed. The company also disclosed particulars on the current employment of its interim president Edward L. Kaufman.
Atari Inc., the US division of French parent company Atari S.A., has asked a U.S. bankruptcy court for permission to auction off its assets in July. The assets include the Atari logo, the Test Drive, Asteroids, Pong, Total Annihilation, and Rollercoaster Tycoon franchises.
Atari filed for bankruptcy in January and tried to solicit bids for its entire catalog, but the 15 offers it received were deemed unacceptable. Now the company hopes to divide its assets up and sell them separately in hopes of generating more cash to pay down its debtors.
Bloomberg is reporting that, under pressure from its shareholders, Sony executives and board members have decided to discuss billionaire Daniel Loeb’s proposal for an initial public offering of its entertainment business. Loeb's firm Third Point owns a fair share of Sony stock, giving him some influence over what Sony does.
Activision Blizzard majority stakeholder Vivendi is still interested in selling off the 61.2 percent it owns in the company but according to the Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard would like to buy back some of it. The WSJ reports that Activision Blizzard management is interested in using some of the cash reserves it has managed to stockpile to buy back at least some of what Vivendi owns. This is probably a good idea since Vivendi has been looking to offload its stake in the company since last year.
According to this Kotaku report citing two unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation, TimeGate Studios has laid off its entire staff. The developer behind Section 8 and the co-developer of Aliens: Colonial Marines sent everyone home early today according to the sources.
Aliens: Colonial Marines co-developer and Section 8 developer TimeGate Studios has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas Southern Bankruptcy Court, according to court documents obtained by Polygon.
Minecraft developer Mojang announced that Minecraft - Pocket Edition for Android and iOS devices, has sold more than 10 million copies to-date. The portable version of Mojang's popular sandbox building game joins other versions of the game - PC and XBLA which have sold millions upon millions of copies to-date. It just goes to show that people never get tired of a game that is decent and is constantly updated by its creators.
"We are very thankful to all the support that we have gotten and people playing and talking about our game," said Mojang's Daniel Kaplan.
According to this Bloomberg report Sony executives have agreed to forgo salary bonuses for the second year in a row following another year of less than stellar profits from the electronics giant. According to a Sony spokesperson (speaking to Bloomberg), around 40 of the company's executives will return bonuses scheduled to be paid out following a general shareholders meeting this June.
The Associated Press is reporting that the country's fourth largest mobile carrier T-Mobile USA has completed the acquisition of rival mobile phone carrier MetroPCS. T-Mobile will add the company's estimated 9 million customers to its own 34 million users. While T-Mobile has no plans to make any immediate changes, the company does plan on shutting down MetroPCS’s network over the next two years.
Update: A representative for Activision points out that Bloomberg has updated its original story, and that because Activision is a public company it has to account for compensation in the year it is granted, even though the amount of performance-based compensation Kotick would receive under the new agreement he signed in 2012 would be vested over a five year period. Here's the update from the Bloomberg story we sourced:
German browser games operator Travian has laid off up to 60 employees due to "internal restructuring," according to a GamesIndustry International report - as reported by its German sister site. Multiple sources have confirmed the move with GII's German reporter during the Quo Vadis event, which is taking place this week in Berlin.
With the current chairman of Nintendo of America, Tatsumi Kimishima, set to move over to his new position as managing director of Nintendo Co. Ltd. - assuming shareholders approve the move (which they likely will), Nintendo wants to move its global president Satoru Iwata into the role. More specifically he will absorb Kimishima's current responsibilities as the CEO of Nintendo of America. Nintendo of America president and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime isn't going anywhere, and will remain in his current positions, reporting directly to Iwata.
Nintendo released its earnings report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, revealing that it had taken a loss much like it did in the last fiscal year. Nintendo recorded a 36.4 billion yen operating loss ($366 million) for the fiscal year, with less than expected sales of the Wii U continue to have a "negative impact on Nintendo's profits." Thanks to a depreciation of the yen, Nintendo's net income was 7 billion yen ($71 million). Net sales for the year were forecast at 635.4 billion yen ($6.38 billion), down from the year before.
During its Q3 earnings report, Microsoft announced that Xbox live subscriptions have reached 46 million worldwide - an 18 percent increase from last year - and that it has sold 1.3 million consoles over the past three months - down nine percent from the same period a year ago. Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division revenues rose 56 percent to $253 million despite the drop in console sales.
Capcom is blaming development projects overseas for a revised financial forecast that takes into account a special loss due to game cancellations. The company said today that it will take a $73 million hit from cancelling various projects. The company also said that it will be making more of its games in-house due to a "drop in quality" from outsourcing projects to Western studios...
According to The Hill, IBM - as a strong supporter of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) - will send over 100 executives to Washington D.C. to hold nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers over a two-day period.
"We’re going to put our shoe leather where our mouth is," Chris Padilla, vice president of governmental affairs at IBM, told The Hill.
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus will take a salary of just $1 in 2013, according to Inside Social Games. We're not sure if this move by the social game giant's CEO is a publicity stunt to garner good will or not, but it's certainly a bold move by Pincus.
Harmonix has secured funding for three of its upcoming products from Colorado-based capital venture firm The Foundry Group, according to Polygon. The firm generally invests in companies that are in the business of "human computer interaction," and its last high profile investment land at Zynga.
In late January we reported that GungHo Group had acquired Suda 51's studio Grasshopper Manufacture. In late February the Japanese mobile publisher revealed staggering sales figures: it reported it had generated around $65 million during January - or about $2 million dollars a day - from a single game: Puzzle & Dragons.
Sony has decided to unload its holdings in mobile game developer and publisher DeNa, according to this Reuters report. Sony has reportedly sold all of its shares in the company to Japanese-based investment firm Nomura Securities for $438 million.
THQ announced that it will auction off the remaining assets it didn't manage to sell as part of its bankruptcy. The company hopes to sell the remainder of its intellectual properties by mid-May. Initial bids must be submitted by April 1, with final bids required by April 15. Last month, the bankruptcy court approved the sales of three of THQ's studios and games in development, as well as Evolve, a working title under development at Turtle Rock Studios, Homefront 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Former Square Enix and Taito executive Keiji Fujita has joined Japanese mobile ad network and game publisher Adways, the company announced today. Fujita will take the reins of the company's San Francisco office, which will serve as the home of the U.S. subsidiary, Adways Interactive. Keiji Fujita will serve as the Vice President of Game Business. The company also announced that it is looking for non-Japanese free-to-play mobile games to launch in the Japanese market. It will be on the hunt for such properties at Game Connection America 2013, where it will be present as an exhibitor.
GamesBeat is reporting that the Baltimore, Maryland studio that used to be headed up by veteran game developer Brian Reynolds has been shut down by social games publisher Zynga. The studio is responsible for CityVille 2, which Zynga has discontinued. A Zynga spokesperson said the company is trying to place those that were laid off from its Baltimore studio in other studios within the company.
UK retailer HMV has managed to secure key new music, video games, and movie releases, after reaching an agreement with key suppliers this week. Earlier in the week it was announced that HMV closed 66 retail stores, which employed an estimated 930 workers.