Tag Archives: gaming

Just An Update, Usual Topics: Stocks, Game Project, Elves

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Two months since my last post. Yikes. This week I let my second account sub expire from LotRO. I’m just not motivated to grind more pointless endgame gear.

Elder Scrolls Online is releasing its High Elf update this week, following its Morrowind update. I almost re-installed just for the elf experiences, but I talked myself down from the ledge. Every time I re-install ESO, I find the interface, navigation, and character system to be so frustrating.

Ironically, un-playability is much more immersion breaking than a more complicated, usable interface. So I re-installed Fallout 4, which is more suitable for Bethesda’s design imperatives, and I’m playing that a bit.

Last night I reached rank 15 in Hearthstone playing Even Warlock, after giving up on Odd Rogue. That’s about all for gaming.


Stocks And Market


The U.S. stock market is not dead yet. I lost some money hedging against a collapse in the last month, but I’ve felt forced to push back into the market in the last few weeks with the profits I previously took in Tencent and NVidia.

Tencent is in the news right now for its ownership of Fortnite. It’s funny that Fortnite is sort of a name drop now by pro analysts on CNBC, so they can sound like they know what they are talking about. I LOL at these people, honestly.

So I basically traded my relatively risky amount of pure Tencent OTC pink sheets stock for more GAMR ETF, and a solid position in the EMQQ ETF (Emerging Markets Tech). Tencent is in both of those. EMQQ also has concentrated exposure to companies like NetEase, JD.com, Baidu, and Yandex, which I would like to own but don’t merit positions of their own. So.

JD.com (JD) is my Kitty watch of the week. I may buy into this on a trade in the next few days. It’s on the verge of breaking out of a big downtrend, and CNBC today reported a lot of option calls being bought. Albemarle (ALB) is also in a big, possibly buyable pullback for various reasons.

The risk is that there is a lot of China problems around the big T. I mean, President Trumpetface. So you could easily buy big on a JD price breakout, and then get slammed the next day because of a tweet.

I also picked up the TAN (solar) ETF, on the day that California announced all new houses have to have solar panels. I also bought a half position in LH (Labcorp), which is U.S. based healthcare lab service, not very ‘Amazonable’, and not very exposed to the strengthening dollar. LH was a great pick so far.

Lastly I pushed a modest half position into Visa, because I’ve finally concluded that Americans just aren’t giving up their credit cards anytime soon, despite Apple Pay, Google Pay, and various challengers.

I still think crypto currencies per se, in themselves as they exist now, are fool’s vapor to invest in, and I can’t believe the genre has like three ETFs dedicated to it.

Visa is the first to go if I feel forced to trim positions, however. There is a lot of financial risk in the system, and Visa has run very big, as noted by analysts this week.

Sony is taking massive stock price hits recently, most recently noting their PS4 hardware is in decline, and their next Playstation version is at least 3 years away. Still, it could be a buying opportunity.

In my last post, I noted accolades from Jim Cramer about Activision Blizzard. This week I learned Cramer has sold his ATVI (like I did also). But now he admits he may have sold too soon, when asked about the upcoming Black Ops 4 offering a Fortnite-like game mode.

As a final note, if you look at a 5 or 10 year chart of the U.S. stock market, it still looks scarily ‘toppy’ even after a 4-month pullback and consolidation. Recession risks are increasing. Europe and Asia had some weak data come out in the last couple weeks.

It isn’t a situation to be aggressive. It seems prudent to stay patient until some crap really hits the fan. I am still over 50% in cash.


Personal Game Project


This is an enormous amount of work. I’m currently writing an illustrated short book on botany. For the school library. In my game.

So I’m re-learning a lot of botany that I learned in college with my Biology degree.

Like in Elder Scrolls, reading the book gives you a permanent stat bonus. In this case, to your Scholar profession. Unlike in Elder Scrolls, you have to actually read the book. And answer thoughtful challenge questions correctly.

So I’m working my full time job, and I’m writing like 2 pages of this botany book per day during the last week. At this rate, developing my game is going to be a fine retirement activity for me in a few decades.

Still, I really enjoy the writing of non-fiction, learning things, and illustrating. My game is about learning to be an elf (probably a bit more so than learning witchcraft/wizardry), so I need to learn botany. This has been my #1 preoccupation in the past few weeks, other than moving into a new apartment.

I want the entire game lore – world and characters in it – to basically be in the school library. So when I need to look up something, like a geographical location or major NPC, I’m going to the library just like a player.

Also the library is haunted. And you won’t be alone. There will be a library fairy, or someone else there. I tend to be a lonely person, so I can feel what I need in the game in terms of companionship, and making the NPCs seem alive. I’m basically making the game I want to play.

That’s about it for now. I noticed Justin Olivetti is up to his old elf-hating ways. On your knees and scrub for those elves, Justin! Scrub it!

Kudos to Justin though for writing a fantasy novel. Wow. I try to squeeze a lot of creative and gaming energy into life compared to most people, but I live alone with no pets, no kids, nothing. I don’t know how he finds the time for everything he has going on.

So E3 is coming very soon, starting June 12. Will we see some amazing new releases? I hope so.

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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.