The Video Game Industry Is Starved for Games

Sony, Xbox, EA, and Activision all offered financial updates recently. The big takeaway: the video game industry is starved for quality games. The good news, however, is that 2022 will end on a stronger note, with 2023 looking better.

Modern Warfare II Delivers at Launch
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II generated over $800 million in its first three days, a franchise record. It’s also the largest entertainment launch of 2022, period. When we reviewed MWII’s campaign, we wrote that Activision “appears to have a hit on its hands,” with tight gameplay, an adequate campaign, and lack of competition this season.

  • Previous Record: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) made $775 million in its first five days
    • The Asterisk: MWII’s current-gen base versions are $10 (17%) more than MW3’s and have microtransactions
  • Great sign for Warzone 2.0 (Nov 16), a potentially even bigger cash cow
Sony’s Revamped Subscriptions Fall Flat
PlayStation Plus subscriptions fell by almost 2 million (47.3 to 45.4 million) during the first full quarter of Sony’s reworked subscription tiers. Compared to Q2 last year (47.2), the fall was effectively equal. PlayStation blamed post-pandemic changes and soft third-party and declining PS4 engagement in these latest Sony financial statements.
  • PlayStation rolled out new tiers and options for its PlayStation Plus subscriptions in June
    • Sony was hoping to have a potential rival to Xbox’s Game Pass
  • Q2 included part of summer – prime gaming months
  • Potential Recovery: MWII’s strong debut and the arrival of God of War Ragnarok in time for the holidays should boost subscription & PS5 adoption.
Game Pass Loses Some Shine
Game Pass fell short of its subscription growth targets for the second quarter in a row. Microsoft blamed a sparse release schedule of third-party and especially first-party games.
  • Starfield is expected to arrive next year
    • Most significant first-party exclusive for Xbox Series S & X to date
    • First Bethesda release since Microsoft bought publisher for $7.6 billion in 2021
EA Sets Itself Up for 2023
EA had a “solid quarter,” in its own description for Q2 FY 2023. Net bookings were up 4% year-over-year, with live services up 7%. Most importantly, EA looks like it has a strong slate for the holidays and winter.
  • Need for Speed Unbound launches Nov 29
    • Three years since previous installment
    • EA is gambling on Unbound’s new cartoonish art style to appeal to younger demographics
  • EA teased a “Major IP” release by March 31, 2023, which could be Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
    • Sequel to 2019’s hit Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
    • EA’s exclusive Star Wars deal ended last year
  • EA announced a deal with Marvel to develop three Marvel video games

Featured image: AMD