Gaming mention were surging at this time last year while consumers were locked inside. Now these trends are showing signs of normalization.
While plenty of new consumers have picked up gaming, this trend is also tempering: first time gaming mentions are down -15% QoQ. Is this strain felt by major players in the gaming space?
Call of Duty has Bolstered Activision (ATVI)
Activision received an enormous boost from a fortuitous Call of Duty: Warzone drop at the onset of quarantine last year. The company received another demand surge in November when it strategically released Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold Warimmediately following the launch of new Xbox and PlayStation consoles. LikeFolio data shows that Call of Duty game play mentions have tempered comparative to last year's surge (-6% YoY), but remain higher from a long-term perspective: +160% vs. 2019.
Collective ATVI demand fell -26% in 21Q4 (ended March 31), but Call of Duty outperformed other brand franchises.
NBA 2K Weakness is Weighing on Take-Two (TTWO)
NBA 2K gameplay mentions surged on release in September, but have since failed to maintain momentum, currently pacing -54% YoY. It's interesting to watch this as NBA viewership slides... TTWO's Grand Theft Auto is performing slightly better vs franchise peers, but it may not be enough to buoy overall demand.
Collective TTWO demand fell -34% YoY in 21Q4 (ended March 31). It will be critical to monitor consumer demand ahead of May earnings announcements for ATVI and TTWO.