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Weak Game Sales Are No Problem For This Stock

Tickers in this article: ATVI EA MSFT SNE TTWO

Console and video game-makers slumped for all of 2012, but 2013 could be a renewed start. In the immediate term, the sector will need to overcome a chronic decline in overall sales. In December 2012, NPD Group reported a 22% decline in game sales for the month, and a 22% drop in sales for 2012. The overall sector may be dropping, but this only means that the strongest will survive. [Related: Infographic: Is The Console Dying?]

In the gaming sector, this will mean few titles capturing the largest sales. Game-makers behind these titles will be the companies to watch.

Activision’s (ATVI) Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the best-selling title in 2012 and in December. Modern Warfare III was also in the top 10. When it was launched, Black Ops II sold $500 million worth in the first 24 hours of availability.

In December 2012, the top 10 titles were:

1.     Call of Duty: Black Ops II (X360, PS3, Wii U, PC) – Activision Blizzard  

2.     Just Dance 4 (X360, Wii, Wii U, PS3) – Ubisoft (UBSFY)

3.     Halo 4 (X360) – Microsoft (MSFT)

4.     Assassin's Creed III (X360, PS3, Wii U, PC) – Ubisoft

5.     Madden NFL 13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, Wii U) – Electronic Arts (EA)

6.     Far Cry 3 (X360, PS3, PC) – Ubisoft

7.     NBA 2K13 (X360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, PC) – Take-Two (TTWO)

8.     Skylanders Giants (X360, Wii, PS3, 3DS, Wii U) – Activision

9.     New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) – Nintendo (NTDOY)

10.   FIFA Soccer 13 (X360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, 3DS, Wii U, PSP) – Electronic Arts

Selling a winning title does not imply the stock is also a winning investment. Large-budget games also face moderately higher longer-term risks: consumers could grow bored of a title. Inadequate research and development in the right features could contribute to weakening future sales.