Tag Archives: gaming

Elf In Real Life: A Tree Is Injured! And Gaming News Update.

tree bus

My last post was four months today. Here is a quick update.

Yesterday a bus driver in Tennessee flipped a school bus full of kids into a tree, killing five children and injuring several others.

My first thought when seeing this news was to worry about the tree. How badly was the tree injured? Will it survive? I doubt if any of those humans care about the poor tree, which is the real victim of human carelessness.

So I’m making progress in becoming more like a real-life elf.


LotRO


I’ve also reached cap and geared up a 105 elf Warden and 105 elf Rune-Keeper in LotRO. I’m multi-boxing up a 90 Captain right now on a second account, and then I’ll be ready for Mordor.

LotRO has a Mordor map in-game now, which looks really grim, deadly, and impressive.

Who knows when that expansion will happen, but supposedly Turbine has extended the license for at least one more year. The end of LotRO is not immediately imminent.


Hearthstone


I’m playing Hearthstone now. I reached rank 14 tonight. I am balancing my anxiety meds to relax enough to not get stressed, but not be a zombie-like bad player either.

Blizzard finally released a female priest hero! And she’s an elf!! I was lucky enough to have an Amazon Prime membership to get Tyrande. (I’ve since cancelled that.)

I like Tyrande’s portrait, which isn’t as angry-boobed as the original female heroes, and her voice is nice and calm. I bless everyone I play – and then squelch them so they can’t taunt or otherwise spam immature human emotional emotes.

I pre-ordered the Mean Streets Of Gadgetzan expansion and bought 40 packs of Old Gods cards. Those cards gave me Twin Emperor Veklor, but C’Thun priest seems not too great against actual good decks in ranked play.

I crafted N’Zoth with the leftover dust though, enabling deathrattle decks. N’Zoth is a long-term keeper to use in Standard and in future Wild Mode for as long as Hearthstone is alive (unless the card gets nerfed, in which case I have the option to get 100% dust back.)

I’m not too excited about the Gadgetzan expansion yet, but clearly it will enable some new deck ideas, like secret mage, jade golem rogue, and more.


Activision Blizzard Stock


$ATVI has taken it on the face lately, the same as Electronic Arts stock. I was not in either of these stocks during this recent downturn, which was exacerbated by Trump’s victory, causing fears of a China trade war, which could slaughter gaming companies, and all tech companies doing big business in China.

I’ve nibbled half back into Activision Blizzard at this week, prepared to buy more if the stock goes down another 10%. I’m just surprised it took this long for the stock to crash this far. Apparently there are concerns now about Call of Duty sales in the UK. Or something.

I’m also still holding Chinese stock in Tencent, the world’s largest game company, which remains up 10% since I bought it. NVidia soared 25% on stunning results this quarter, but unfortunately I sold it along with Electronic Arts at the pre-election recent market top, which apparently was not the top for some stocks.

Also last week, I initiated small long-term positions in Facebook and Home Depot on their respective big selloffs.

Home Depot’s gain has matched Blizzard’ loss in the last week, so I’m breaking even as the market goes up. That’s never a great feeling. I’m also fairly exposed to potentially devastating Trump trade warfare between the U.S. and China (thus Home Depot), and warfare against an open internet.

Overall market valuations are very stretched right now compared to historical bull markets, but some analysts say tax breaks will boost the market significantly in terms of the current high P/E multiples.


Trump Presidency


Trump currently has his crazy truck in reverse on all of his major policy promises, except maybe NAFTA. He is even moderating on climate change already.

If he does follow through with bringing back the coal industry and making Sarah Palin the interior secretary (drill baby, drill), then a Trump presidency may actually be good for trees. (Surely he isn’t building his Mexico wall out of wood.)

Trees love carbon dioxide! They turn it into oxygen, and that’s how we are all breathing and alive right now. So go ahead and burn coal, President Trump. The polar ice caps will melt, the sea levels will flood the coasts, and the coral will die, but the trees will survive just fine.


E3 Halftime, World Markets DIAF

DBEF ETF chart
According to recent polls, the chances of a Brexit, and thereby the EU possibly falling apart, increased to almost 50%. This and a China flop, a bolstered dollar, and dropping oil are all of the fear factors I mentioned in my last post.

The idea of Trump as president, combined with the Orlando massacre over the weekend, are punctuation marks on a feeling of terror that dragged the U.S. market down with Europe and China on Friday and Monday.

The hedged world large cap ETF that I follow, DBEF, reached a pivotal point on Friday, where a five-month uptrend met a one-year downtrend. The failure shown in the image is spectacular. I dumped Visa last Friday at break even, so I’m once again sitting on the sidelines, looking for a spot to buy.

NVidia was by far the strongest stock I was following today, soaring even more in the wake of an analyst upgrade believing in even more upside.

The CEO of Electronic Arts appeared on CNBC today. The highlights of the short interview:

  • Star Wars game for Sony’s VR headset. There are physiological design issues.
  • Three more Star Wars games coming for EA.
  • Microsoft’s new VR-focused console will drive more sales.
  • Things are awesome.

It should be noted that EA’s Star Wars games are all made by different game studios, published by EA. So it looks like they are throwing everyone and Uncle Joe at making Star Wars games, and therefore profit. This seems definitive for the ethics of EA.

So how can you bash Blizzard when you see the business tactics of EA and Bethesda?

I was excited to hear that Bethesda is doing a new Quake game next, but I was then devastated to hear it’s another arena style tournament game. Quake: Champions will be an arena game with tournaments and leagues. This is lame. This isn’t even Quake.

EA’s stock was down -1.4% today, on a day when it should have been sailing. Sony’s stock was punished even more for its big run up to E3, at -1.8%.

Blizzard showed relative strength today, and Intel was also a rare stock in the green with NVidia. Microsoft was beaten down -2.6% for its announcement that it is purchasing LinkedIn for a pricey 26.2 billion.

Microsoft is a little less of a gaming stock play now, and more of a corporate cloud ecosystem.


FIFA 17 Gets A Story Mode


Are you kidding, EA? Star Wars: Battlefront has no story, but FIFA soccer gets a story mode with a Mass Effect style dialogue wheel? Is this April 1st?

People wanted to see a little bit more beyond the pitch,” Senior producer Nick Channon says. “We looked at the game itself and where could we improve, and what could we add? And we felt it was a good time to add new major mode. We felt narrative story was something that had been missing.

I have to say that Battlefield I, set in WW1, looks fabulous. I love historical reproduction type games (like Mafia). It seems a little sacrilegious to turn a tragic world war into fun arena-style entertainment though.

In other news, DLC for games are now called “expansions.” And that’s all for this quickie excerpt from the recent news. Prayers and thoughts for the victims in Orlando and their families.


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.


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.


Blizzard Shocks Wall Street, Microsoft Shocks The XBOX

Last night, Blizzard announced shocking revenue growth with strength across its product lineup (except WoW). Activision Blizzard stock is up over 13% today. Congratulations to everyone who didn’t sell the stock recently like this stupid kitty.

Here are some highlights from the Blizzard earnings release for the second quarter of 2015:

  • On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $759 million, as compared with $658 million for the second quarter of 2014.
  • “Our audience size and the total amount of time people spend with our franchises continue to grow. In the second quarter, our monthly active usersB grew by 35% year-over-year, and the time our communities spent playing our games grew by 25% year-over-year”. – Bobby Kotick
  • Destiny now has over 2 billion hours of gameplay since launch, which amounts to an average 100 hours of gameplay for each of Destiny’s over 20 million registered players.
  • On April 2, 2015, Blizzard Entertainment launched Blackrock Mountain(TM), the second Adventure for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The release of Hearthstone on iOS and Android smartphones followed on April 14, 2015. Key engagement metrics, which were already very strong, nearly doubled year over year, largely on account of the new content and new platforms.

Electronic Arts is up 5% today in sympathy, so this kitty is not totally forlorn. And Blizzard still has over 4 billion in long-term debt, compared to EA’s ~600 million.

Yesterday I watched the Microsoft presentation at Gamescom. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. XBOX One will be updated with Windows 10 in November.
  2. Microsoft Cloud has 20x the computing power to stream a game than an XBOX One.
  3. XBOX One will also receive DVR capability, so you can record shows from TV and store on an external hard drive. You can schedule on the go, and all shows on this DVR can then be streamed to any of your Windows 10 devices. This is coming in 2016.
  4. Microsoft showed a DirectX12 demonstration. DirectX12 is just one of the ways Win10 was built for gaming. In Windows 10 you can record and share your favorite clips with a built-in game DVR, no special hardware or software.
  5. Built-in XBOX app in Windows 10. Voice and text chat, PC to console. Start game on one device, continue on another. Cross-buy feature. Anything you purchase can also cross-play. You can play on either Windows or XBOX platform, stream from PC to anywhere in home network.
  6. Scalebound. A new action RPG, on foot or on the back of a dragon. You play as a guy with draconic powers in search of a dangerous artifact. You play with a companion, except your companion is a ridable dragon that fights and talks with the main character. I’ve recently lamented the fact that dragons are too often just plain big monsters in video games, so this is a nice-looking change.
  7. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. A new side scroller with heavy RPG elements. Simultaneous release on XBOX One and Windows 10, and gamers on both platforms can can play together.