The hits keep coming for Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) and its Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare game. With concerns mounting over demand for the latest in the COD franchise and with bad reviews coming in, investors and analysts have been worrying about the impact on sales.
The latest bad news comes from Mizuho Securities, which lowered its price target on Activision Blizzard to $45 a share from $48 a share and lowered its fourth-quarter and 2017 estimates due to the weaker sales of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The Wall Street firm also warned that sales of Activision’s older Call of Duty game sales could be hurt due to fewer sell-through units and lighter engagement in the game.
A Better 2017?
“Activision’s stock is down 10% in the past three months and we believe that largely reflects weak CoD performance,” wrote Mizuho analyst Neil Doshi. “While we don't see many near-term catalysts, we do believe that Activision could have a better second half of 2017 with Destiny and a traditional warfare CoD.”
For the fourth quarter, Mizuho now expects non-GAAP earnings of $0.66, lower than its past forecast of $0.76 a share. For 2017, the EPS estimate got cut to $1.85 from $2.14 a share. The Wall Street firm maintained its buy rating on the stock. In the case of COD: Infinite Warfare, Mizuho is now expecting unit sales in the fourth quarter of 3 million units to 12 million units.
The Piling on Continues
Mizuho isn’t the only one that is expressing concern about COD this week. On Thursday, BMO Capital Markets cut its outlook on Activision because of negative reviews of the game. "The PR has been so bad it has caused investor sentiment to shift quickly, with some investors now questioning the longevity of the franchise and the development strategy Activision employs," BMO analyst Gerrick Johnson said in a research report covered by TheStreet.com.
Johnson, who lowered his sales estimate for the game to $620 million from $661 million for the fourth quarter and to $1 billion from $1.24 billion for all of 2016, said weakness in demand for the game will also negatively impact its fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 revenue and earnings. (See also: Bad Reviews for Activision’s COD Stir Estimate Cut.)