Tag Archives: electronic arts

May/June Update


Game News and Deals


We’ve seen a lot of video game news and updates in the last few weeks, in shows that basically replaced the annual E3 conference.

The highlights for me were the EA announcements this week. The big one was Star Wars: Squadrons, which is finally bringing a new full-on pilot experience for the Star Wars game universe.

EA also announced they are bringing a lot of their titles over to Steam for the PC, instead of requiring you to have and use Origin. That’s great news, and will allow me to find and consider these titles that I normally wouldn’t even see for sale.

EA is currently offering a short-time discount for its basic plan on Origin, 99 cents for your first month. So I’ve signed up to play a bunch of EA games in the coming weeks.

Hearthstone released a new free adventure, which was fun for a few hours. Free packs and solo content are never bad.

I’ve also played a bit of Doki Doki Literature Club (free on Steam) and Bards Tale Remastered trilogy (EA Origin Basic).

I quit LotRO from burnout and inability as usual to connect with any kin. I could tell some ridiculous stories about trying to join a kin.

I still have urges to play WoW and Diablo, but it’s just a been-there, done-that situation. Maybe Wow Classic enough of a success that Blizzard could think again about a new MMO? One can hope.

So the video game life is pretty awkward right now. I’m basically doing Hearthstone dailies and ranking up every few days. Cyberpunk 2077 is now postponed from September to November 12th-ish. So we’ll have to wait a little longer for that.


Stock Market


I bought a half-position in Electronic Arts (EA) early this week. It has kept strong upward momentum, and was my top performer today in a down market. It looks short term overbought, but not so much on a 3-year chart.

I did the same sort of momentum play a month or so ago with JD.com (JD), and it’s up 20% now, even after two big 3%+ down days to consolidate. I think the same gain could be coming in EA.

In addition to Squadrons and Steam, other catalysts for EA stock include Covid making a comeback and speculation that EA could purchase Warner Brothers Interactive studios, which went up for sale last week.

Of course, the overall market is more important than any individual stock. And the U.S. stock market is in limbo. It’s too high to go higher, and there is too much investment money sitting there for dips to not be bought. So we are going to bounce.

The news stories about millions of people getting onto Robin Hood are very interesting. The new zero-fee landscape for stock trading turns investment into a gambling game, sadly.

Novice traders might not be very aware of the “spread”, however. The spread is an additional broker fee for making a stock purchase, defined by the “bid and ask” prices listed when you make a trade.

I seem to be noticing the spreads are higher nowadays than they used to be. This means that the “free” trade brokerages are still siphoning off real money on your trades.

I mean, the spread used to be pennies back in the day. I’m looking at EA now in after hours, and the spread is more like $2 per share. That is probably an after-hours price to not freak out about, but it’s something to watch when you are trading stocks. Are you actually paying $4 or $5/trade due to a sneaky spread?

I haven’t done a deep dive on it yet, but it seems reasonable, in these days when everything is a scam, that the “zero fees” are just being moved and hidden in bigger bid-ask spreads on every trade. I’d like to see real research on this, but as yet haven’t seen any.


Game Project


I’m wrapping up the Dark Game epilogue now: The Grand Peacock Fashion Faire. I started the module over 2 months ago. It’s so long and full of content at this point that I plan to adapt into the first story module of chapter 2.

So that will be a bit more work, but a better use of resources. Branching content that only half of your players can see is expensive. I don’t have that luxury.

The volunteer dungeon writer I recruited hasn’t done anything. That bum! Kidding! His prospectus is pirates now. (I hope he’ll do some disgusting and/or sexy stuff that I can put in the game, but not be responsible for authoring it. Ha! We elves are clever.)

I’ve done a lot of oil painting lately, which has diverted my attention from the game project. I have to take time to be an elf in real life. Video game elves just aren’t real enough for me anymore.

Anyway, happy Summer Solstice, and happy gaming. Thanks for reading this far. You might be the only one, so you can feel good about your accomplishment. Feel free to hop over to my main hosting site to check out my game.


Mighty Blizzard: Meet Stock Market Meltdown

S&P500 image
This week was one of the worst in stock market history. Major indices lost over 6%, with the Dow losing over 1000 points.

China’s growth is slowing down. The U.S. dollar is strengthening. Prices of oil and other commodities are still in decline. This brings a risk of financial triggers for countries that rely on oil and raw materials exports, which brings risk to the world financial system.

I watched oodles of CNBC this week, and I’ve never heard the Wall Street boys so defeated. Even the bullish opinions sound like slick salesman B.S. or clinging desperation. The pessimism is actually a plus. If everyone is already out, how much more money can leave the market?

More. Large U.S. outflows have been observed from foreign countries. Some analysts suggest heavy European selling. Every Joe and Jane will see their 401k funds melting, and they’ll pull their money on Monday. Today some analysts mentioned that the market never bottoms on a Friday.

Jim Cramer talked about Blizzard on Mad Money on Tuesday. He said Activision-Blizzard’s 27 billion valuation was undervalued and even “ridiculously cheap”. Cramer spoke highly of Bobby Kotick, who he knows from the old days.

Cramer also spoke highly of NVidia. I personally thought Microsoft and NVidia were played out in terms of news catalysts. I was wrong.

Microsoft popped today on an announcement of a plan to make their own SIM cards for a new phone service for Windows 10. Jim Cramer thinks there is still positive news ahead for Nvidia, at least for two more quarters.

On Wednesday, Cramer spoke on Electronic Arts. He called EA “more problematic”, and said to stick with Blizzard. This general idea was echoed in an analyst report on EA yesterday. Cowen predicted a very strong quarter for EA in mobile, however, with possibly 50% sequential revenue growth.

Cramer is not always right of course. A valid trading strategy is to do the opposite of everything he says. A year ago this month in January, he was recommending Kinder Morgan (KMI) and recommending against Valero (VLO).

Of all the bad CNBC stock advice I saw in 2015, only Karen Finerman’s repeated recommendations of SunEdison (SUNE) ended worse.


Video Game Stocks As “Sin Stocks”


I’ve heard a few Wall Street analysts recommend RJ Reynolds this week, a stock which has risen strongly this week while most other stocks fell. It has a good dividend, but I assume the real reason is because it’s a traditional “sin stock”.

Sin stocks are supposed to do well in a recession. According to the article, they are “businesses that provide an outlet for consumers”. They also have deeper margins than traditional consumer plays.

Sin stocks include alcohol, tobacco, gambling/casinos, and weapons. Really? It sounds like a new category of sin stock needs to be added, since that’s pretty much a definition of video games: addictive, with lots of gambling mechanics and as many guns as possible.

As Jim Cramer mentioned today on Mad Money, Constellation Brands (the brewer of Corona, etc.), reported a stellar quarter and the stock rocketed yesterday. I don’t see why video game stocks shouldn’t also outperform.

I sold Nvidia, Microsoft, TAN (solar ETF), and Electronic Arts in previous weeks closer to their tops. The question is when to buy them back. Yesterday I pushed 50% back into EA, but it’s important to have major patience.

The solar ETF is a trickier trap since it’s influenced so heavily by politics, oil, and having 25% of its holdings in China.

Some big name money managers are calling this another major financial crisis, on par with the 2008 Great Recession, which lasted 18 months. That seems as good as anything for a worst-case scenario timetable.

Other people are saying the severe oversold conditions are a setup for a “multi-week rally”. I don’t see why the S&P should break the “crowning top” pattern until other bearish patterns, like oil and Dow transports, are broken first, but anyway, that’s enough of that.

Happy Friday, time to stock up on sins.


New Year 2016: Looking Forward And Back

Pink Bed

I spent New Year’s on social media. I didn’t feel too alone. I was in bed with my computer. One time I told my guild in LotRO that I couldn’t do a dungeon run because I was ‘playing in bed’.

This image is what I mean, boys.

Last week I purchased Divinity: Original Sin on sale on Steam. It’s a really polished game, and I was having fun exploring and solving puzzles. At level two I was suddenly told that I was the saviour of the world, and the enemy is a void dragon.

I haven’t played Divinity in several days. I was also dying too much in fights. The same formula made me quit Skyrim: dragons, dying, and ‘chosen one’.


Looking Back At 2015


This was Activision Blizzard‘s year. They were called out yesterday on CNBC as up 92% on the year, the third best performing stock in the S&P 500. They were also cited on Bloomberg as the winner of Christmas based on Call of Duty sales. COD won’t match Star Wars, but it’s in the same ballpark.

Meanwhile, EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront debut was a critical fizzle, a disappointing lump of pretty-looking mediocrity according to this kitty’s most trusted Jedi of truth-telling.

Acti-Blizz also bought King Digital for a ridiculous sum of course, and the breaking news today is their purchase of Major League Gaming.

I’ve mentioned on this blog the large amount of debt Blizz is carrying already. Can they really crush it as the 1000-pound gorilla, or can nimbler studios pull the rug from under Blizzard’s efforts to counter the outflow from WoW?

Even though EA’s stock has sold off on their latest (perceived) IP fumbling, it might still be a better long-term investment, especially if Star Wars sales numbers are solid with casual console players.

Some high-profile Wall Street analysts are making this prediction, calling EA a strong buy in its current trough. I sold at 72. I’ve learned to not sell Blizzard.

Of course, the stocks will now probably go in opposite directions because that’s what happens to the stupid kitty.


What I’m Looking Forward To In 2016


Mafia 3 ~ Not. I’ve been looking forward to this game for two years, but Take Two ruined it. They turned the classy, artsy feel of this game into a knuckle-head brutality fest.

I can’t even bear to watch that trailer again to compound this kitty commentary.

It looks like they just GTA-ified this great franchise. That means it’s GTA, but they changed the Italian ‘family’ into a ‘family’ Lousiana style – or something.

I just know I won’t be playing as that bicep-busting caveman. Goodbye forever, handsome Vito. Thankfully we have another shooter –

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 ~ Yes! I recently found out the game offers a choice of gender! Can this kitty love Acti-Blizz even more? I hope so. Thank you Blizzard. I’m looking forward.

Dogma: Eternal Night ~ The Kickstarter for this vampire-themed labor of love failed miserably this month, and it’s looking more like a shiny pipe dream. I hope those guys get hired by the big companies with zero balls to spend real money on vampires.

You know who you are. (Massively coverage.)

Everquest: Next ~ Who knows! You’re better off watching kitten videos on Youtube than watching EQN news.

More Hearthstone ~ More Hearthstone unless I have heart failure. I hit rank 15 again and quit this month. I feel like I can go a lot higher with my Dragon Priest (yes, I’m aware of the irony).

Hearthstone is giving me a panic attack. That’s the problem. I wish I could just relax and play Hearthstone, with no more anxiety than tossing a ball at a wall for an hour.

The World of Warcraft Movie ~ I’m skeptical I can enjoy this without knowing the lore but who knows. Blizzard is already building a movie studio so this first film needs to be profitable, right? Otherwise a movie studio would be a bad idea.

In other news, this was an all-time record year for Hollywood with 11 billion box office sales in North America. So maybe Blizzard is crazy like a goblin, a very wealthy goblin.

Since I’m ‘meh’ about Black Desert, Blade and Soul, and Camelot Unchained, that’s about it. I’m still working on my ‘bi-adventure’ game project. Here is an image of my first map.

Happy gaming and best wishes for the new year.

adventure map

More Reading: Massively’s 2016 post.


Weekly Wyrm 08/28/15 ~ Gaming Stock Roundup

It was fun to see MassivelyOP report on Blizzard’s stock today. Activision-Blizzard was added to the S&P 500 last night, sending the stock to gains of over 6% today before settling at 4.6. Yes, the kitty watches the markets all day.

Last spring I said a big opportunity to invest in gaming stocks was coming, but I said to wait until the market broke either up or down from its holding pattern. Early this week it broke down over 10%, officially forming a “correction.”

I added to my Electronic Arts (EA) position. Electronic Arts has far less debt than Blizzard, a lock on Star Wars, and franchises. In an increasingly competitive game development environment, I believe franchises will be more of an asset in the long term than an albatross.

I also boldly bought AMD into an 8% bounce in the last few days. NVidia also roared up from the bottom, matching Amazon in demand from investors. I’m not really skeptical about Nvidia, but a chip company doesn’t seem like a core holding for me. AMD is a small speculative investment.

I’ve been trying and trying in recent weeks to come up with a way to play the new frontier for console sales in China.

Sony has negative earnings and is adding more debt to make more camera components. Nintendo is only tradeable in Japan. As for Microsoft, I’m worried about conflicts with the Chinese government, and Microsoft has been royally irking the kitty in the last few weeks, badgering me to upgrade every day.

My work office also upgraded to Office 2013 this week, which is worse than the previous iteration while instituting an online “account” feature, which apparently stores some of your settings. Oh great – more big brother and ways to pay. Just what I always wanted.

Meanwhile, my anger at my broken, non-functional Radeon software on my PC is far behind me. So MSFT is sold, and I’m gambling (nothing I can’t afford to lose) on an AMD bounceback with both PCs and the China consoles, as well as new moves into mobile markets.

AMD has chips in all three major consoles, including the Wii U. Star Wars ep. VII will singlehandedly trigger a new round of console sales for the holidays, so the kids and old timers alike can play Electronic Arts’ game.

AMD also has a hot female CEO (by my gay standards), which means something to me. Lisa Su is an MIT graduate. She just paid herself a big bonus though, in a scathingly criticized move.

So the ship is either sinking fast, or the horizon is bright enough for bonuses. Nothing this kitty didn’t already know, which is nothing, except the stock is basically pricing for bankruptcy right now.

So is it all clear to load up on gaming stocks now that the market drop has flushed out a lot of weak hands? It’s a little late. Blizzard and NVidia have practically bounced back already.

Maybe the market will be ok since the GDP was revised upwards. This clears the way for a fed rate hike again though, which may bring another dip.

The market’s movement depends a lot on how much new money came in on this dip, and whether it’s enough to build a new high. If it isn’t enough, the ship is sinking again in this kitty’s opinion. The big moves in the most popular stocks are just people chasing the winners.

I went from 25% invested to 35% invested on this dip, so if the market drops another 10% or 20%, I’ll buy again. Hopefully soon I can stop watching the stupid pot boiling.

This week I was creating fantasy art and brainstorming story and lore for my personal browser-based RPG project. I’m taking a break from school. Yolari is back on board as a tester and consultant. I also might have someone to do cheap voice work.

Happy Friday and happy gaming.


Rift: Game Is In Great Shape, Announcement Coming (+ Gaming Stock Commentary)

In response to player concerns today about the future of Rift, community manager Ocho had this to say in the forums:

“So let’s get to some facts:

  • The RIFT Dev team is the largest Dev team I’ve ever worked with in almost a decade of working on triple A MMOs.
  • The team has grown over the last year and a half, and hiring for the team continues.
  • Population in RIFT is strong, lots of people play RIFT and lots of new people continue to start to play RIFT.
  • Profits from RIFT are certainly reinvested in RIFT. AA took 0 devs from RIFT. None, nada, zilch.
  • RIFT is in zero danger. We’re really excited about the future, right now is a great time to be playing or working on RIFT. …
  • We’re not only reusing old content, we’re also developing new content. Keep your eyes out over the next couple weeks, we might be announcing something.”

– Ocho

This is great news, since this kitty has also been a little worried.

This week I capped my rogue alt, and I continue close to picking up a few pieces of raid gear earned for my main by weeklies and dailies instead of raiding. I’m also enjoying the creative and quirky nightmare saga story.

The second act released yesterday. The return of old classic characters doesn’t bring much life to them (so far), and we mostly see them as generic quest-advancers. The third act of the saga also supposedly forces you to do a lot of PvP and NTE dungeons.

I disagree with this design, even if it’s to justify the epic weapon you can theoretically get when it’s all over. There are two main types of players:

  • Players for whom this is just same-old grinding to pad out the saga.
  • Players for whom this is horrible and will spend an entire weekend trying to queue for PUG DPS and beat five dungeons, or queuing PvP and hating Trion the entire time.

Just doesn’t seem like a winning scheme to me.


Video Game Stocks


Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft (MSFT) both had solid earnings reports this week, so hopefully these will be long term for my paltry little portfolio, and I can ease up on my nine-month quest (right before the stock market goes off a cliff, possibly.)

How can Microsoft compete with Apple and Google? By uniting your PC in an ecosystem with your other devices and monetizing by applying what they’ve learned from Free-To-Play video games. I plan to buy a Lumia soon. My Samsung tablet completely fails to recognize my Windows 7 PC.

You’ll also be able to stream XBOX to PC with Windows 10, or stream console-quality games to your PC without an XBOX using the cloud, which Microsoft demonstrated yesterday.

If you need any more good news for Microsoft, China announced this week that it will now allow game consoles to be sold in China after a 15 year ban. This is probably more better for Sony and Nintendo.

My third tech pick is still Equinix (EQIX), a cloud pipeline and data center owner. They are allied with Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, which I hope will eventually win against Amazon’s huge cloud. Who wants to trust Amazon with their entire corporate business and security if the other choice is the Microsoft on your PCs?

I also still hold AT&T (T), which is now FCC-approved to merge with DirectTV, with an expectation of leveraging their scale to produce their own competitive over-the-top video streaming service like everyone else.

Nvidia’s (NVDA) stock continues to head into the abyss with PCs and chips, although the stock is super tempting as it dips below $20. The future of virtual reality in video games and in general might see Nvidia as a big player.

As TAGN reported, Blizzard (ATVI) announces results next week on 8/4, followed by an announcement of a new expansion a few days later on 8/6. Interesting.

In the last two quarters, Blizzard reported strong results and the stock popped. Both times I sold and took small profits. The stock might pop again, but right now Wall Street seems to be in a mood to sell any stocks after their results hit print.

Especially if a stock ran up into its earnings announcement.

I would not be betting on Blizzard’s stock to be higher the day after it reports. If ATVI sells off hard, it might be a buying opportunity, especially if the Wall Street boys aren’t completely up to speed with the expansion deal.

Also, if Blizzard is announcing their expansion earlier than normal at Gamescom, then maybe they are saving something even bigger for Blizzcon in November?