Analyst downgrades Activision, says Black Ops 2 sales are "a cause for concern"

As far as I can tell, the job of financial analyst is half seaside fortune teller, and half looking at the Financial Times and doing the teeth-sucking noise that mechanics make when they realise their clients don't know enough about cars not to be persuaded to buy an unnecessary replacement. I'm not saying they don't provide a valuable and accurate service, just that this service is so far outside my realm of experience as to be utterly bizarre and incomprehensible. Take the following as a perfect example.

According to Arvind Bhatia, a financial analyst with Sterne Agee, sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are on a trend to be 15% down on Modern Warfare 3's, which itself was down 5% from the first BlOps.

Here's the thing: BlOps 2 pulled in $500 million on its first day of retail, a whole $100 million more than MW3's. Even with a sharper downward sales curve, it's still going to make an absolute boatload of money. A smaller boatload than Modern Warfare 3, for sure - maybe a cruise ship instead of an oil tanker - but it's still a lot.

But the Call of Duty franchise makes up 45% of Activision's total earnings - the rest, presumably, coming from terrible James Bond games and Blizzard's output - which is why the analyst has "a cause for concern". As a result Sterne Agee has downgraded Activision's rating from "buy" to "neutral," reducing their 2013 estimates from $4.74 billion to a meagre $4.3 billion. God only knows what rating the analysts would give THQ.

Thanks, Joystiq


Phil has been PC gaming since the '90s, when RPGs had dice rolls and open world adventures were weird and French. Now he's the deputy editor of PC Gamer; commissioning features, filling magazine pages, and knowing where the apostrophe goes in '90s. He plays Scout in TF2, and isn't even ashamed.
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