The game broke several records after it became Activision's best-selling digital game on its launch day. It also became the best-selling digital day-1 game for Sony's (SNE) - Get SONY GROUP CORPORATION SPONSORED ADR Report Playstation, as well as the best-selling day-1 Activision game on Microsoft's (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report Xbox One.
The wording in the above passage is key, though, and could be one reason that Activision's stock is down almost 3% below $76 in midday trading Monday.
Given that there's a strong trend in place for digital sales vs. physical sales of video games, it's no surprise that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 broke the digital sales record for Activision. Beating it for digital sales in the Playstation store is a solid feat, and topping total Activision sales for the Xbox One on day one is also good news for the company.
In fact, none of this is bad news per se, but it's important to realize that digital sales do not equal overall sales and so that's sort of blurring how well the new game may have done in its opening weekend. That said, the Call of Duty series is usually met with wide-appealing fanfare and it's unlikely that this one will be a dud going into the holidays.
So why then is the stock under pressure Monday?
Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Each year, the holiday season is a big one for video game makers. As the economy continues to improve and the gaming population continues to age (as we know from Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report ), that bodes well for game makers like Activision. Meaning: Better economy = more disposable income; aging gaming population = higher average income (someone who's 35 vs. 15, for instance).
However, with this year's lineup, we have names like Fallout 76 and Red Dead Redemption2 both coming in less than two weeks. Super Smash Brothers will release in December and some of these games are not annual releases like Call of Duty, but released just once every few years.
So perhaps some people will wait on Call of Duty to get Red Dead 2 in a few weeks, hoping to scoop up the new Call of Duty game for the holidays, on Black Friday or with a gift card they receive during the holidays.
Another factor could be China's more stringent view on video games. It already banned Twitch, an Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report company that streams video games, and put a hold on issuing licenses for new games. Other Chinese regulations have begun to tighten regarding video games, which isn't much of a surprise given China's policies toward media and content.
Still, with China representing a huge portion of the global gaming market, this is a concern for game makers like Activision, Take-Two (TTWO) - Get Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Report , Electronic Arts (EA) - Get Electronic Arts Inc. Report , Tencent (TCEHY) and others.
As for the charts, they're actually pretty simple. Activision has slowly but surely been churning higher. The 200-day moving average has been support, while resistance continues to trend higher. Over the 50-day and 100-day moving averages and Activision stock would be more attractive on the long side.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.