Shares of Santa Monica, Calif.-based video game developer Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) are trading about 2.2% higher Monday morning at $66.34, continuing their bullish run as the company climbs its way to the top of the S&P 500 as one of the newest members of the Fortune 500.
Based on initial critic reviews of a new science-fiction shooter game, one team of analysts on the Street foresees ATVI shares rallying even higher. (See also: Activision Is a Buy on Overwatch Game, Called ‘Generational Game Changer’.)
Top Reviews, and Revenues
Analysts at Piper Jaffray suggest that given Activision’s “Destiny 2” has already received stellar reviews, it could propel the video game stock above its already 84% rally year-to-date (YTD). “We are encouraged by the early impressions and continue to believe the launch could offer upside,” wrote Piper Jaffray’s Michael Olson in a recent research note.
Olson, who maintains an overweight rating on ATVI shares along with a $69 price target, notes that since ATVI’s first Destiny game did not receive strong positive reviews when it was released back in 2014, the latest version marks a significant improvement. The investment bank expects the new game to sell better than its predecessor and exceed the Street’s revenue expectations.
Looking to Asia
Piper Jaffray remains upbeat on a PC version of the game expected to be released in October. “The PC version offers an opportunity to acquire new players overall, but particularly in Asia where the video game market skews heavily to PC,” said Olson. “Another benefit of PC is those units are more profitable versus console units, which require a licensing fee to the console makers.”
The firm’s next major game release, "Call of Duty: WWII,” the latest version of its long-running series, is slated for Nov. 3.
Also last week, Activision announced plans to open an eSports arena in Los Angeles, doubling down on the booming market estimated by Baird to reach $1.8 billion by 2020. (See also: Activision Shares Jump on eSports, New Mets and Patriots Partners.)