(ATVI) Activision Blizzard to Unravel Bond 007

From November 1, 2011, ‘espionage’ is set to be redefined when Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) releases its latest James Bond game GoldenEye 007: Reloaded and GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Double ‘O’ Edition. GoldenEye 007: Reloaded will be made available in Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 entertainment system and Sony Corp’s (SNE) PlayStation 3. Moreover, PS3 will also exclusively have the GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Double ‘O’ Edition version.

The game is being developed by Eurocom under license from EON Productions Ltd and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. In the second half of 2010, Activision had released GoldenEye 007 exclusively for the Wii platform. The game had received worldwide accolades, with the good reviews enabling the game to be an instant hit among gamers.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is the improved version of the 2010 release with high definition visual experience and realistic environments that challenges gamers for a full on assault, elimination, stealth and defense objectives. The game enhances the multiplayer experience with its 16-player online matches and has more maps, weapons, characters and game modes that will have the gamers’ adrenaline soaring.

Activision has focused on the digital channel, something that helped revenues in the last quarter. This is an encouraging trend, since digitized games tend to yield higher margins and are also more likely to grow at a faster rate than packaged versions.

Additionally, the title releases scheduled for the holiday season will be beneficial for the company to help its top-line.

Activision recently announced that it would release its latest racing spectacle NASCAR Unleashed in time for the 2011 holiday season. This is the latest entrant in the NASCAR racing series after NASCAR The Game 2011.

Additionally, the company had released Rezurrection, its fourth downloadable content pack for its most successful franchise Call of Duty: Black Ops.

However, Activision continues to face tough competition from Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO).

Activision also does not have a presence in the social and mobile gaming platforms, where Electronic Arts has made strategic acquisitions and partnerships. This could impact its competitive position over the long term.

We maintain our Neutral rating over the long term (6-12 months). Currently, we have a Zacks #2 Rank for Activision Blizzard, which implies a Buy rating in the short term (1-3 months).

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