Nintendo, Activision Blizzard Among Black Friday Gaming Winners

More than 154 million consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend, up from 151 million a year ago, with 28% of the holiday shoppers purchasing books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games, according to a National Retail Federation survey of 4,330 consumers.

Customers have been especially fond of Nintendo's (NTDOY) "Pokemon Sun and Moon" video games and Activision Blizzard's  (ATVI) "Call of Duty" franchise. These games have been the most popular and second-most popular video game products, respectively, so far this holiday season (Nov. 1 to Nov. 24), according to Adobe's (ADBE)  2016 online shopping data for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

"This year the [games that] I think are going to top the charts are the big shooters, big sports games and 'Pokemon Sun and Moon,'" said Mat Piscatella, U.S. gaming industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group.

Some of these highly-anticipated games were discounted at video game retailer GameStop (GME) this past holiday weekend, unlike major video game launches a year ago. 

GameStop offered $20 off big fall releases such as Activision Blizzard's "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" and Electronic Art's (EA) "Battlefield 1" and "FIFA 17."

Most items included in GameStop's Thanksgiving weekend promotions, except for the $99 Nintendo 3DS console, were available throughout Friday, Credit Suisse analysts said in a note today. 

In general, the products most likely to be out of stock on Black Friday were the Nintendo NES Classic, Nintendo 3DS XL Solgaleo Lunala Black Edition, Sony's (SNE) PlayStation VR bundle, PlayStation 4 Call of Duty Black Ops bundle, and Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Console Bundle, according to Adobe data.

While steep discounts helped drive sales Thanksgiving weekend, Jefferies noted that such discounts are unlikely to persist throughout the entire holiday season.

"We believe the higher promos on Black Friday were strategic decisions on the part of retailers to capitalize on higher traffic," Jefferies analysts said in a note today. "In the weeks ahead, we see promos trending flat to lower year-over-year, as retailers are not forced to resort to the unplanned discounts of holiday 2015."

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