Wall Street Watch This Week: Let's Start Playing Games

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Call of Duty Black Ops IIThe video gaming industry is ready to put on its game face.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) will roll out "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" on Tuesday. The combat game is the latest installment in Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty franchise, which broke sales records with last November's release. There's no reason to believe that Tuesday's debut won't set a new record.

On Sunday, Nintendo (NTDOY) begins selling Wii U. As the first new gaming console in years, Nintendo builds on the initial success that the company had with the Wii before sales began to taper off in recent years.

The new software and hardware couldn't come at a better time. Industry tracker NPD Group is reporting that domestic retail sales of new video game products fell 25% last month. Software sales dropped 25% and hardware plunged a jaw-dropping 37%. There was a 5% uptick in console accessories, but that's not much of a silver lining to this storm cloud.

Some will argue that the data is incomplete, and rightfully so. It only tracks sales through traditional retailers. It also doesn't account for the booming digital delivery market.

However, it's clear that the tired video game industry needs a spark. If the Wii U doesn't do the trick -- and it might not, given Nintendo's financial setbacks over the past couple of years -- it will be at least a year before the PS3 or Xbox 360 gets refreshed.

It's a game that no one can afford to lose.

Other things worth watching

There will be plenty of retailers stepping up with their quarterly results, including the country's two biggest discount department store operators. Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) don't necessarily draw the same clientele, though they both specialize in marked down staples. As the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart prides itself in delivering low prices. Target prefers to emphasize its "cheap chic" allure, banking on the "Tar-jay" appeal to charge a little more for stylish apparel and items. Both chains will hit the register on Thursday with fresh financials ahead of the critical holiday shopping season.

Let's bring out the orange aprons. Home Depot (HD) reports on Tuesday. The leading home improvement retailer has been seeing signs of life, and not just because its northeastern stores were busy preparing folks for Hurricane Sandy and then dealing with repairs and generator requests in the aftermath. Companies that specialize in home improvement projects have been holding up pretty well this earnings season. Wood-alternative decking leader Trex (TREX) and hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators (LL) have stepped up with well-received blowout quarterly results in recent weeks. Analysts see healthy year-over-year improvement at Home Depot, too.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nintendo and Lumber Liquidators Holdings and owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Nintendo, Home Depot, Activision Blizzard, Trex, and Lumber Liquidators Holdings and creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard.


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mike edwards

the only people with money are people that worked and put money into an ira paid for homes at a 7 percent rate got no bailouts lived according to thier means had a modest home no cable and cell phones party lines remember now thier coming after us people getting entitlements that arnt even us getting tax refunds ect the average person has no direct connection with stock market

November 12 2012 at 8:43 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mike edwards's comment
cpo1514

Except that the pensions are funded by employers in the mutuals and bonds that they never see. When Obama went after BP and the dividends dried up that quarter, the GLOBAL pension funds took a hugh hit. So much for no stock market.... see how pension funds are shrinking and company plans now cease to exist.

November 12 2012 at 9:03 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
pdbliz

..WALL STREET PLAYS GAME FOR REAL DAILY.!!!!!!................NOT THERE MONEY THEY ARE PLAYING WITH....................SAME AS THE GOVERMENT,,,THE GOVERMENT HAS NO REAL MONEY,,,,IT IS THE PEOPLES MONEY......
LET THEM DO AWAY WITH SOCIAL SECURITY AND GOVERMENT PROGRAMS,,AND,,GIVE YOU THE MONEY DIRECT WHEN YOU WORKED,,OUT OF YOUR EARNED INCOME...
EACH PERSON BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES..........
OUR OTHER TAX MONEY GO FOR PROGRAMS WE NEED.

November 12 2012 at 6:59 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to pdbliz's comment
mitch rochelle

what about the people that have paid in all there working lives..? what about the people that are on social security and medicare..?where will the money come from..? what about the very wealthy that refuse to pay a living wage ... middle class income has been flat for 30 years.....all the while the top 10% income has seen gains of 300% plus..........until we have a better way of doing things this country will continue to be for the rich by the rich and powerful.......

November 12 2012 at 8:10 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cpo1514

Lets start with the President , House, and Senate being enrolled with Obama care! Heck... this fearless Occupant should have Obama Care card #1.... after all its his plan!!!!!! (Sorry Harry & Nancy).

What does he do??/ Has Senate EXEMPT him from his namesake plan .... not a good sign of a popular Dictator.

November 12 2012 at 9:06 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cpo1514's comment
lgnu

You are wrong. Go to fact check.org and see for yoursel. I can't believe that myth still exists

November 12 2012 at 10:47 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down
freethedems2012

Those in control will NEVER lower themselves to Obamacare. That is for we peasants. The paupers have welfare.

November 12 2012 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down