Disney Discards Video Game Dynasty

In a move that reflects the state of the industry, another major video game producer is shutting down its operations in corporate consolidation. Disney ( DIS) announced on Wednesday that they would be shutting down the video game arm of the Lucasfilm company, LucasArts. [More Investing Ideas in the Gaming Industry:  GameStop: A Stock With More Potential Than You Think]

Disney, the world’s largest media conglomerate, acquired George Lucas’ renowned film studio and the producer of the Star Wars franchise, Lucasfilm, in December 2012 for a price tag of $4 billion. Because the focus of the project is on reviving the Star Wars series, the company has decided to shutdown and lay off one hundred employees of the game-producing arm of the firm that has rapidly been losing revenue and market share. Since 2006, total revenues for LucasArt has shrunk from $173 million to $55 million. Disney said that moving forward other companies under license would produce any and all Star Wars video games.

Although it may be disappointing for Disney to have to shutdown the video game maker that was started in 1982, it is indicative of the trends in the industry. Electronic Arts ( EA ) recently had their CEO resign after positive internal changes failed to develop and THQ Inc. was forced to sell off its assets into bankruptcy.  In the last year, new game disc sales fell 23% industry-wide.

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Will this industry trend turn around in the near term? Or will the proliferation of entertainment options available permanently cut into the market share of the video game industry? Depending upon what you think, this game-changing event may signal it's a good time to make a move on some stocks in the industry. 

1. Walt Disney Co. ( DIS): Operates as an entertainment company worldwide. Market cap at $103.74B, most recent closing price at $57.46.

2. Electronic Arts Inc. ( EA): Develops, markets, publishes, and distributes game software and content for video game consoles, personal computers, mobile phones, tablets and electronic readers, hand held game players, and the Internet. Market cap at $5.27B, most recent closing price at $17.55.

3. Activision Blizzard, Inc. ( ATVI): Activision Blizzard, Inc. publishes online, personal computer (PC), console, handheld, and mobile games of interactive entertainment worldwide. Market cap at $16.4B, most recent closing price at $14.73.

4. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. ( TTWO): Develops, and distributes interactive entertainment software, hardware, and accessories worldwide. Market cap at $1.43B, most recent closing price at $15.60.

5. Konami Corp. ( KNM): Develops, publishes, markets, and distributes video game software products for stationary and portable consoles, as well as for use on personal computers. Market cap at $2.79B, most recent closing price at $19.47.


DAN CONNELLY, Kapitall Editor