(ATVI) Activision Blizzard Launches War of Transformers

Even before the release of the film, Transformers’ fans can play Activision Blizzard Inc.’s (ATVI) Transformers: Dark of the Moon and experience the thrilling battle between the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS.

The game has been created by High Moon Studios and the theme and characters are based on Hasbro’s highly acclaimed TRANSFORMERS franchise. The game enables the player to choose from their favorite characters while battling the sinister plans of MEGATRON in a strive to save the planet.

Additionally, fans can play the game with or against fellow gamers in the online multiplayer modes. The gamers also have the option to personalize their characters’ look with customized skill sets.

Also, the game features a new gameplay technique called Stealth Force, which allows fans to instantly convert into a third or a hybrid state where gamers can use both the features of the ROBOT and the vehicle simultaneously. The story line is set in the jungles of Central America, Siberian military facilities, urban cityscapes and other places, letting the gamers get a hang of the innovative and cutting-edge graphical presentation.

The Transformers: Dark of the Moon video game is available on the Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Sony Corp.’s (SNE) PlayStation3.

On the Nintendo’s 3DS hand-held system and Wii, the Transformers: Dark of the Moon Stealth Force Edition is available and follows a prologue storyline.

Additionally, gamers in Nintendo DS have the option of choosing either sides of AUTOBOTS or DECEPTICONS through two distinct titles, Transformers: Dark of the Moon AUTOBOTS and Transformers: Dark of the Moon DECEPTICONS.

Viewpoint

In the gaming industry monthly reviews, May recorded the biggest decline since October 2006 and analysts expect software sales to be muted in the coming few months.

However, we expect Activision to benefit from the new spate of digitalization initiatives. This would generate a revenue stream that will likely have a positive impact in the long run.

In the forthcoming quarters, we expect the company’s initiatives to expand in the high-margin digital business segment, which will pay rich dividends. Additionally, the title releases scheduled for the forthcoming quarter will prove beneficial for Activision.

However, Activision continues to face tough competition from Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO), which will act as a headwind going forward.

Moreover, Activision does not have any exposure in the social gaming platform as compared to Electronic Arts, which may hurt its competitive position over the long term.

Nonetheless, though we maintain our long-term Neutral rating, we currently have a Zacks #2 Rank for Activision Blizzard Inc., which implies a Buy rating in the short term (1-3 months).

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