Earnings Calendar Apr & May 2024: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

I’m back, with a brand new season. Nope, I’m not referring to Spring, as it’s now here in the States. Though I’ll take the nicer weather, at least looking out my window while playing games.

It’s earnings season!

Which means I’m sharing what I like to call one of the most comprehensive lists of gaming, media and technology earnings dates on the internet. Now approaching 120 companies strong, it will give a sense of when companies are reporting, and where they are in their fiscal cycles. And when an exact date isn’t known yet, I try to estimate based on previous announcements.

As you’ll notice in the above image and the below Google Sheets link, the week of Monday, May 6th is going to have a lot action, including almost a dozen companies reporting on May 9th. Get ready, everyone.

In order to prepare for the next busy season, feel free to bookmark, save, share and post of course.

I also recommend keeping an eye out for my recaps both here and on social media. Plus, here’s three companies to watch over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Apr & May 2024: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Reddit, Inc: Tuesday, May 7th

After one of the biggest IPOs of the year, Reddit is poised to publish its first quarterly report as a public company when it shares fiscal year 2024 Q1 results. The “front page of the internet” saw its stock price jump in March, yet has cooled to settle below its listing price in April. Within its prospectus, the company boasted 73 million average daily active unique users and generated over $800 million in annual sales, however it’s also currently operating at a loss. I’m mostly curious to see if its business model will expand as the firm matures, and if executives expect to become profitable any time soon.

Capcom Co. Ltd: Monday, May 13th

I’ve been upbeat on Capcom for what seems like a decade now, and the Japanese publisher will report its latest annual results in a few weeks. Just today, the firm revised both sales and profit forecasts upwards, a rarity right before reporting. This signals management is even more optimistic as it’s on track for yet another year of growth, assuredly on the strength of March’s Dragon’s Dogma 2 shipping 2.5 million units right out of the gate. Between that and continued momentum for its Resident Evil and Street Fighter franchise sales, I’m guessing Capcom will beat even its updated guidance, then move into a year where we could see another flagship launch in Monster Hunter Wilds soon enough.

Ubisoft Entertainment SA: Wednesday, May 15th

It feels like Ubisoft, which also reports annual results in May, has been quiet lately even though it’s had a few releases and continues as the caretaker of a big intellectual property portfolio. It produced a couple commercial snoozers like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora in December then February’s Skull & Bones. And while Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is amazing, it’s not a blockbuster. So I’m cautious on its latest results. However, I’m quite upbeat on its near-term future as its slate for the upcoming year starts to take shape with Star Wars Outlaws, a game I believe will sell well, officially announced for August while the impending Assassin’s Creed Codename Red could also be out in the next six months or so, a nice one-two punch as far as triple-A tent-poles go.

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites.

-Dom

Earnings Calendar Jan & Feb 2024: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Here we go, the first earnings seasons of 2024!

I want to acknowledge my anticipation while also tempering excitement, mainly due to the difficult situation for people working across all industries right now where many people are finding themselves out of work.

It’s been an especially tough time within gaming, media and technology, the exact sectors I cover here at the site. I’m again sending my best to everyone impacted by layoffs and I hope you’ll bounce back soon. Don’t give up on your dream just because of a company’s decision!

That said, we’re here to cover companies and the dates on which they report their latest results. I’ve gathered up my usual quarterly list, now including well over a hundred companies. I do my best to track down individual dates however, as you’ll see, not everything is available at the time of publishing so I’ll give a range based on historical timing.

Note that the dates themselves are added according to each company’s announcement in their local time zone. Say a Japanese company announces results on a Wednesday, it might still be Tuesday in your location.

I recommend saving as a bookmark, copying the image and visiting the link below to track everything during a busy time for tracking trends and performance. Plus, read on for three companies worth watching over the coming weeks. Thanks for stopping by!

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Jan & Feb 2024: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Microsoft Corp (MSFT): Tuesday, January 30th

It made the list last quarter, and it’s here this time around because when Microsoft reports its third quarter fiscal 2023 results later today, it will be the first operating period where numbers will account for Activision Blizzard. After laying off tens of thousands last year and starting 2024 with almost 2K jobs lost in the Xbox department, Microsoft has also hit a $3 trillion market capitalization and expects massive double-digit growth for gaming due to the integration. There’s a clear dichotomy between its job situation and ongoing hardware issues, losing in key markets to competitors, compared to expected revenue growth and consumer sentiment on its future slate of titles. I believe its results will fall within forecasts, and that gap between labor and performance will continue, albeit without visibility into profit dynamics or Activision Blizzard’s underlying financials, which is a pity.

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (WBD): Mid February

It was a banner year for Warner Bros’ gaming division, now boasting four billion dollar franchises including Harry Potter, on the strength of last year’s best-selling Hogwarts Legacy, and Mortal Kombat in addition to Game of Thrones and the DC universe. I’m expecting a potential record result when it reports fiscal year 2023 results in mid February, as its gaming success will supplement its various media and content businesses. I also remain incredibly curious about how Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League will start on the commercial side and if we’ll hear anything from executives after a gloomy marketing period and a shaky early access start this week.

Embracer Group (EMBRAC B): Thursday, February 15th

One of the biggest and most disappointing stories in the games industry has been Embracer Group’s over-expansion and restructuring, now resulting in job loss for thousands of employees. The Swedish firm, which reports third quarter 2023 results soon, has shuttered games and laid off people as recently as yesterday with news of a killed Deus Ex project and layoffs at Eidos Montreal. CEO Lars and the executive team is in the midst of a restructuring program that began when it lost a deal where Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games was going to invest $2 billion, resulting in massive debt and a bloated list of operating groups. I expect we might hear about a divestiture or intellectual property sale around the time of its earnings report, and almost certainly more closures and cancellations unfortunately.

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites.

-Dom

2023 Year-in-Review: Biggest Trends in Gaming, Tech & Media

As I mentioned in my recent Year-in-Review megapost, it’s time to run down and wrap up the year that was 2023.

First up is a recap of the biggest trends across gaming, technology and media that guided the story during the last 12 months, and will have a major impact on the future of these sectors. Better or worse, it was a busy time for those within and following these industries.

Below I’ll go through six of the biggest trends then a bonus for fellow games industry enthusiasts out there. It wasn’t all pretty. In fact, I’d argue it was overall a tough year especially for folks whose livelihoods depend on working in and around technology.

Without further delay, I’ll move right into it. There’s a whole lot of ground to cover after all!

Labor Market, Layoffs, Strikes & Return to Office

One of the main, and disheartening, things that people will remember about 2023 was a broadly decaying labor market. After the pandemic period of easy money and hiring bursts, a correct came this past year as a laundry list of industry-driving companies suffered layoffs or business unit closures. Microsoft, Google, Zoom, Twitter, Yahoo, Vimeo, Hasbro and Tik Tok owner ByteDance cut their respective workforces, some by double-digits. Meta Platforms, Amazon, Spotify and LinkedIn all had two rounds of job cuts. Walt Disney had three.

It’s estimated the tech industry lost a staggering 240K jobs, or 50% more than 2022. The games industry cut almost 10 thousand. It was a painful indication of what can happen when companies over-expand, mismanage or aren’t able to adjust, with lower tier employees suffering more than their C-suite overlords. Plus, those that did remain were forced back to the office, as only 26% of American households have someone working remotely, down from almost 40% in 2021. Roughly 66% of U.S. workers are back to the office full time, up from 41% a year ago. Upside being that unionizing and collective action can work, with the major examples being Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA pressing film and TV execs, a bright spot amidst a difficult year for workers.

Consolidation Continues as Activision Blizzard Joins Microsoft

Merger and acquisition activity heated up this past year, with the global volume of deals jumping 27% to almost $2 trillion in value through just the first three quarters. This came even amidst rising interest rates and volatility in global markets. Within my covered sectors here, there was Broadcom and VMWare, Savvy Games and Scopely, Sega Sammy and Rovio, Oracle and Cerner, Opentext and Micro Focus plus ServiceNow and Era Software.

Then, the corporate saga I’ve been tracking the most closely ended as Microsoft finally closed its purchase of Activision Blizzard in October. It was the finale of a two year-long fiasco of regulatory hurdles, market pressures and data leaks. The nearly $70 billion deal was the largest ever for the games industry, whereby a massive third party software publisher became part of a platform holder, bringing the likes of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and, quite importantly, mobile titles like Candy Crush into Microsoft’s possession to bolster its Game Pass and cloud services. Best of all, the closure means scummy industry villain Bobby Kotick will no longer run Activision Blizzard, a total win for its employees and culture.

Coming Out Party for So-Called Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, shortened to AI, is a phrase used so commonly to describe many things that aren’t actually it, and 2023 was the year where usage of adjacent services or products truly ramped up in the mainstream, moving beyond the dreams of start-up nerds and angel investors. Wikipedia said it was one of the most viewed topics of its online database. Investment flooded into companies specializing in the space, futurists talked of its melding with humanity and governments scrambled to catch up to the pace of progression.

While this partially happened to due to deep fake videos, robo-news stories and computerized music, the real reason was large language models (LLMs). Namely, the chatbot called ChatGPT. Made by OpenAI, a firm mired in controversy that only helped to popularize it, the service accumulated a staggering 100 million users per week this past year. It became a popular tool for students and email writers alike, blasting Open AI’s annual revenue past $1 billion compared to under $30 million in 2022. Everyone is trying to get in on the action, with competitors including Google’s Bard, Meta’s Llama 2 and Bing AI via Microsoft. It’s the easiest entry point for the public to see what certain types of “intelligence” are capable of while projecting a variety of potential futures, some of them dark for the course of humanity.

Rising Streaming Costs & Media Subscription Changes

This could be a recurring category as companies adapt content delivery methods to squeeze consumers for dollars. While moderate inflation, or when prices are generally increasing over time, isn’t necessarily news, 2023 saw outsized “streamflation” in that plenty of major services jacked up rates, some of them multiple times. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ Spotify and Xbox Game Pass all became more expensive. Apple raised the cost of AppleTV, twice. Amazon reiterated that starting in the new year, Prime Video will have ads and charge a fee for ad-free viewing. Cost savings from cord-cutting just ain’t what it used to be.

Then there’s companies moving to rename, restructure or reorganize their services, adding or consolidating levels such that no one can ever truly keep up. Warner Bros Discovery combined HBO Max and others into Max starting mid-year. Sony wholly rebranded its PlayStation Plus membership system around that time as well. Paramount Global recently announced Paramount+ With Showtime. It’s enough to make your head spin, and your bank account hurt.

Companies & Governments Battle in Court

While I’m not a legal expert, I tend to track certain courtroom tussles that impact major companies because it can dictate the direction of vast industries, the people who work in them and those that spend money on them. Global regulators, especially the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the United Kingdom’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) heated up scrutiny, namely around antitrust and merger activity. There was the aforementioned Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal, plus Meta buying up virtual reality firm Within Unlimited, both of which moved forward despite governmental pressures. Meta also settled anti-privacy lawsuits in 2023, agreeing to pay $725 million yet maintaining claims of no wrongdoing.

Then there’s the historic U.S. antitrust suit against Google alleging a monopoly in online search, which closed arguments in November and has a verdict due likely in the first quarter of 2024. As for companies fighting each other, Epic Games won its recent case against Google where the jury ruled that Google’s app policy is monopolistic in certain aspects. Which is intriguing, considering a couple years back, the Fortnite maker mostly lost to Apple in a very similar suit. That’s law for ya.

Best Year (Maybe) Ever for Game Releases

In a bout of more positive news, the last 12 months was pound-for-pound one of the top times for game releases. Fans of various genres were not just eating well, but chowing down a lot. Even if, woefully, many people that made them aren’t properly recognized or no longer have jobs. As I’ll cover in later Year-in-Review posts, the quality was consistent and outstanding. Baldur’s Gate 3. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Super Mario Bros Wonder. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Final Fantasy XVI. Alan Wake 2. Diablo IV. Star Wars: Jedi Survivor. Hogwarts Legacy. Lies of P. Dave the Diver. Hi-Fi Rush. Starfield (love or hate it). Street Fighter 6. Mortal Kombat 1.

Not to mention, 2023 saw multiple indie contenders like Chants of Sennaar, Cocoon, Dredge, Pizza Tower, Tchia and Sea of Stars alongside mobile joints like Monster Hunter Now and Honkai Star Rail. This was supplemented by remakes or reissues of legacy titles like Dead Space, Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime. Even one of the highest rated virtual reality experiences ever in Asgard’s Wrath 2. Sure, it also produced stinkers like Redfall, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Skull Island: Rise of Kong and the campaign in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. No year is perfect. In aggregate, it’s been mostly a legendary run that stands with the best of them.

Bonus: Embarrassing & Epic Embracer Group Fail

On the flip side, the biggest games industry fail of 2023 goes to Embracer Group and its management, led by Founder and Chief Executive Officer Lars Wingefors. Executives have misguided the bloated Swedish conglomerate, which owns a bunch of operating groups and employed nearly 17 thousand people at its height, making poor decision after poor decision in a frankly shameful display of ineptitude that ultimately affected the lives of thousands of employees.

This started during the pandemic, when Wingefors and crew decided to spend easy cash on scooping up dozens upon dozens of studios and intellectual property rights, expand into tabletop via Asmodee and pursue comics via Dark Horse, attempting to capitalize on volume rather than quality. Once interest rates rose and debt piled up, management tried to secure a deal worth $2 billion with an unknown partner, now reported to be Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Games, which ultimately didn’t happen. This led to a disastrous 2023 of layoffs, project cancellations and business unit closures, with teams like Volition Games closing its doors and Gearbox Entertainment supposedly being shopped around for sale. The pain isn’t over as Embracer’s restructuring will continue into next year and beyond, all as a result of repeatedly bad calls by those at the top.

Sources: CNBC, Company Media & Investor Websites, LinkedIn (Image Credit), Marvin Meyer (Image Credit), NPR (Image Credit), Skadden, TechCrunch.

-Dom

2023 Year-in-Review Megapost is Here

That’s all she, and I, wrote. Well, almost. Because 2023 is nearly done.

Which can only mean one thing: It’s time for my prestigious, anticipated, incredible Year-in-Review!

This marks the seventh (!) installment of my annual wrap-up series, where I recap the biggest, best and often bittersweet topics across gaming, technology and media from the last 12 months.

Broadly, across four different categories, I’ll be highlighting a number of topics impacting these industries. From layoffs to labor. Consolidation to unionization. Return to office to hybrid workflows. Artificial intelligence to large language models. Information breaches to antitrust suits. Megalomaniac leaders and Twitter to China and Tik-Tok. Barbenheimer to Mario Bros. Fantastic games to hardware supply.

Scroll below for a rundown of the specific articles you’ll have to look forward to during this year-end time, which runs the gamut from celebration to lamentation. I’ll add links as the posts go up.

Biggest Trends in Gaming, Tech & Media

Five Most Impressive Gaming Companies & The People Who Defined Them

Independent Game Studios of the Year

Dom’s Top 10 Games of the Year

I know I’m partial; I highly recommend bookmarking this post. That makes it super easy to check back often for full coverage of my 2023 Year-in-Review wrap-up!

Thanks so much for visiting and making it a great year here at the site and on social media. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Be safe and well!

-Dom

Earnings Calendar Oct & Nov 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Here it is, the final earnings season of 2023!

Which means it’s time for my usual quarterly post outlining earnings dates for companies all across gaming, media and technology.

It’s been a tricky year to cover these sectors. There’s a divergence between labor and product output. Companies are laying people off, dealing with a contraction since the pandemic when money was more free-flowing. On the flip side, many product releases have been massive and of high quality, especially in the AAA games space.

I recommend using this calendar to track everything as the numbers come out and pundits react. I’ve highlighted three companies below, from the list of over a hundred I might add, that are worth keeping an eye on when they next report.

There’s also the usual Google Sheets link containing a spreadsheet for easy usage and quick access to respective investor sites.

Check the site again soon and follow me on social media to see more coverage of earnings season. Be well everyone.

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Oct & Nov 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Microsoft Corp (MSFT): Tuesday, October 24th

It’s done! As of earlier this month, Microsoft officially owns Activision Blizzard. The consumer software conglomerate reported September quarter earnings moments ago, so I’m still digesting the news and will have a more thorough deep dive at the site this week. Suffice to say it was an outstanding quarter at the top-line for the Xbox division, achieving its highest first fiscal quarter revenue ever on sales growth that came in above guidance on the strength of Starfield and Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service. Even as console sales declined, which signals a clear shift this generation away from reliance on that portion of the business. Check out my article for more, including a full reaction and detailed forecasts.

Sega Sammy (6460): Wednesday, November 8th

The big news out of Sega recently was its restructuring of European consumer operations, which resulted in the cancellation of Creative Assembly’s multiplayer title Hyenas even after its beta phase, a somewhat rare occurrence in an industry where projects are becoming much more expensive and companies want to see a return on their big investments. The Japanese publisher also killed multiple unnamed projects and has laid off people at Creative Assembly. It’s still unclear if Hyenas was part of the firm’s “super game” initiative, as there’s been conflicting reports. Either way, I can’t say I’m upbeat on this latest quarter or its general outlook. I’ll be looking for any sort of update on that growth plan, the Like a Dragon franchise, early indicators on this month’s Sonic Superstars, expectations for Football Manager and anything around its ongoing platform partnerships.

Starbreeze Studios AB (STAR): Thursday, November 16th

It’s been a while since I highlighted Starbreeze in this context, if ever. The Swedish developer and publisher was on shaky ground for a while, propped up by external deals and a dedicated yet impatient Payday franchise audience. Finally, just last month, it launched Payday 3 as its first major title in a while. Throughout the heist game’s first weekend, it stole the attention of over a million players despite having technical issues and an iffy online infrastructure. I expect really big upside when the company reports next month. It’s also publishing first-person shooter RyseUp Studio’s Roboquest next month, and while I don’t see it having a lot of commercial upside or impact on its financials, it’s good that the company is diversifying rather than continuing its reliance on a singular brand.

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites.

-Dom

Earnings Calendar Jul & Aug 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Seasonal update incoming!

Nope, I’m not referring to Diablo’s new Season of the Malignant. Or whatever season Fortnite happens to be promoting this time of year. And, while I’m enjoying Season 3 of Netflix’s The Witcher, that’s not it either.

I’m here for earnings season, of course!

Here I have the latest quarterly installment at the site, where I’m tracking earnings dates for over 100 public companies. It’s what I like to call one of the most comprehensive calendars covering gaming, media and technology sectors across the ‘net.

In the massive image above and the handy Google Sheets document below, feast your eyes on not just the date and fiscal quarter, there’s also investors relations links for easy access. Highly recommended for the dog days of earnings season.

Since gaming is indeed the most global of industries, note that all dates are listed in local time zones based on what the individual company announced.

Check below for a preview of three companies worth your special attention over the coming weeks, and hit that bookmark button before you go! Be safe, business nerds. (For the record, I’m one too.)

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Jul & Aug 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Capcom (9697): Wednesday, July 26th

This might be cheating because at least I was anticipating Capcom’s first quarter fiscal 2023 results ahead of today today, to see how flagship franchise launches have fared. It’s been an exceptional run for the premier Japanese publisher, which refocused a few years back towards remaking and bolstering beloved IP, and this past quarter was no different. Revenue jumped 74%, while operating profit nearly doubled. It sold 15% more game copies than this time last year. Street Fighter 6 was a main contributor, at 2 million units sold since June’s launch, as was March’s Resident Evil 4 Remake which hit the 5 million milestone during the quarter. Surprise seller MegaMan Battle Network Legacy Collection is now at 1.32 million. While I’m not very upbeat on the likes of this month’s Exoprimal, I expect Capcom’s robust catalog to drive financial growth plus I have my eye on the launch of mobile title Monster Hunter Now in September.

Nintendo (NTDOY): Thursday, August 3rd

After another fantastic year, “earnings calendar post regular” Nintendo will be announcing its first quarter of fiscal year ending March 2024 next week. It’s always one of the most informative, especially lately given how much supplemental information the company posts. And I’m expecting a monster three months ending June. First, there’s The Super Mario Bros Movie, one of the highest grossing animated films of all time and the year’s big earner at the box office. That alone would catapult these results. Then, there’s the all-time fastest-selling Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which sold a whopping 10 million in three days. It could be upwards of 20 million by now for all we know, and we’ll know soon. Also, having Nintendo on this list is an excuse to use a cover art image of Everybody 1-2 Switch, which launched in June to minimal fanfare, because its absurdity makes me both laugh and cringe every time. Even so, the one-two punch of Mario and Zelda will make this Q1 rival 2020’s height of Animal Crossing fever.

Nexon (3659): Wednesday, August 9th

Admittedly, I don’t track Nexon as closely as I do other companies across the gaming sphere. Founded in South Korea and operating out of Japan, it produces a variety of online multiplayer titles primarily popular in Asia. Lately, it’s aggressively investing across the globe, buying portions of Hasbro and Bandai Namco while signing deals with Microsoft and others. Future projects include ARC Raiders, The First Descendant and The Finals, although executives have been cagey on release timings. The reason I mention it here is, when the firm shares its second quarter 2023 report, I’m hoping we hear yet another milestone for Dave the Diver. The excellent underwater diving and sushi-serving RPG is from Nexon’s indie label Mintrocket, serving up a million copies within ten days of launch. It’s 2023’s industry darling, similar to Inscryption, Disco Elysium and Return to the Obra Dinn from years past. It’s been on Steam’s best-selling charts since debut in late June, and it should find success on Nintendo Switch later this year.

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites.

-Dom

Earnings Calendar Apr & May 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Ready for a brand new season?

Nope, I’m not talking about your favorite show or streaming service offering. (Though how about that epic third episode in the final season of HBO’s Succession, huh?) It’s earnings time!

In what’s become a quarterly tradition dating back as long as the site has existed, here’s a massive calendar of earnings dates for key public companies across the games industry, media sector and technology space.

I like to say this list of 100-plus companies is the biggest and best place to keep organized during a busy time for business. Over the coming weeks, I hope it’s helpful as various companies report numbers behind their recent performance. I use it myself to stay up-to-date.

Check the above image for a rundown of the full list. There’s also a handy Google Sheets link below, meant to be an easy way to visit investor sites.

As an added bonus, read on for a preview of three major earnings results incoming this quarter. As always, I’ll be writing articles about some of these soon.

Thanks as always for visiting, and have fun!

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Apr & May 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Sony Corp (SNE): Friday, April 28th

This is an easy one, as Sony’s PlayStation division is one of the hottest stories in all of gaming. Especially as hardware supply lines come back online in a big way. The Japanese consumer conglomerate reports 2022 results later this week, which could be excellent after a record holiday for gaming. Within this annual release, I’ll be closely monitoring hardware and engagement. Will it achieve the lofty 19 million annual PlayStation 5 unit sales figure? This is a big expectation, considering it totaled 12.8 million through the first 3 quarters. I’ve been a vocal skeptic. However, the more I’ve seen recent regional data, I’m thinking it might actually hit the estimate. Upwards of 6.2 million consoles in a three month span would be one of the best non-holiday quarters for a PlayStation. In addition to the usual PlayStation Plus and monthly active user figures, I’d like to hear anything on PlayStation VR2. If Sony is silent there on its latest virtual reality launch, that would be deafening. Overall, I’m way upbeat on PlayStation’s 2022.

Nintendo (NTDOY): Tuesday, May 9th

While we won’t quite hear about the commercial success of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom when Nintendo reports its latest yearly result in May, we will hear plenty about the Switch and The Super Mario Bros. Movie breaking all sorts of records. Even if the film won’t contribute to what I expect will be a solid fiscal 2023 result. By then, the Mario Bros will have etched their name into the annals of box office history by generating over $1 billion in ticket sales. (At present, it’s approaching $900 million.) On the gaming side, I want to see if Nintendo achieved its lowered 18 million annual Switch hardware unit target and where it guides for the current fiscal year, which is the hybrid console’s seventh on market. Plus, the evergreen Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will probably sell another few million units, as it often does.

Capcom (9697): Wednesday, May 10th

When Capcom REports its REsults for fiscal 2022 next month, I expect it to be REally good. Maybe even REmarkable. Why am I typing like that? Because its bread-and-butter approach of remaking mainline Resident Evil games continued through this latest year with a modern version of Resident Evil 4 launching in late March. It was the 2nd fastest-selling title in franchise history, moving 3 million units in 2 days then another million in the week or so after. Last quarter, the Japanese third party publisher said it’s on target to achieve its full-year guidance driven by digital performance, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak and the aforementioned Resident Evil boost. Beyond that, I’m looking forward to forward-looking targets considering it has a busy year incoming. Street Fighter 6 hits in June and what I think can be a surprise IP in Exoprimal launches in July. The firm also has the Monster Hunter Now mobile game in September, then a live-action Street Fighter movie is in the works as well.

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites.

-Dom

Earnings Calendar Jan & Feb 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

New year, same old calendar. It’s the first earnings season of 2023!

Long-time fans of the site know this is the place for the most comprehensive calendar of earnings dates covering companies across gaming, media and technology. The perfect post for any bookmarks bar.

My calendar’s grown over the years, now boasting over a hundred companies including content publishers, consumer electronic manufactures, software developers, cloud giants, media providers, independent game makers and internet conglomerates. I guarantee there’s something here for everyone.

The latest quarter of results will include sales from the highly-coveted holiday season for those involved in pushing products or attracting eyeballs. In general, it was a challenging quarter across these industries coming off highs of 2021, including a number of record-setting reports. Cost inflation, geopolitical issues and supply disruptions are all still present in the market, among other macroeconomic pressures. This year is off to a tough start for many folks in the tech industry in particular, as layoffs at major firms like Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon impact talented people whom I hope land on their feet.

In order to track everything, I’ve organized the above image and the below Google Sheets document for easy usage. I’ve also listed out three key companies to watch in the coming weeks within these industries. Thanks for visiting!

Working Casual Earnings Calendar Jan & Feb 2023: Gaming, Media & Tech Companies

Activision Blizzard (ATVI): Monday, February 6th

When Activision Blizzard reports its fiscal fourth quarter report in February, the big story remains the pending acquisition by Microsoft which has potentially hit snags in key regulatory markets. There’s also the tenuous relationship between management and workers during ongoing unionization efforts, plus workplace condition improvements that executives claim are happening. I don’t expect much in this department, though it would be ideal to hear more about how executives plan to make it a better place to work.

In terms of results, all signs point to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 having a massive holiday, so I expect Activision’s contribution to be sizeable which will boost the overall company on a growth trajectory. On the other hand, I’m bearish on Overwatch 2 and Blizzard’s recent output. Looking ahead, forecasts should be strong as Diablo IV launches in June and there’s still the mysterious language around this year’s “premium” Call of Duty release. Could this be an opportunity to say if it’s a new annualized title or an expansion for the latest game? While I’d welcome it, color me a skeptic.

Embracer Group (EMBRAC B): Thursday, February 16th

During mid-February, when Embracer Group reports its third fiscal financials of 2022, the big question will loom: Are there any companies soon to be embraced by its acquisition touch? All has been quiet lately on the purchasing front for Embracer since snatching up Square Enix assets last year, curious for a company known to gobble up studios big and small to expand its robust portfolio and add to the “quantity over quality” strategy. As of its recent Q2 update, the broader group has 12 operating groups, almost 16 thousand employees, 132 internal studios and a whopping 234 projects in the pipeline. Twenty five of which are supposedly AAA level launches due by March 2026.

Still, partially on lackluster reception of key titles like Saints Row and the recent delay of Dead Island 2 yet again, the company reduced its full-year forecast. Combine that with a major structural change in Volition, the team behind Saints Row, becoming a part of Gearbox Publishing, and I’m curious about the viability of big budget releases for Embracer as opposed to targeting that mid-cost tier like SpongeBob SquarePants and Goat Simulator alongside select re-releases of legacy game properties. Its business is now diversified enough to weather storms, yet I’m still waiting for the sort of organic growth that comes from buying companies over a number of years.

Ubisoft (UBI): Thursday, February 16th

Out of all the big third-party gaming publishers, Ubisoft had a tough go in 2022. Even before its upcoming third quarter earnings announcement, it preemptively shared a gloomy financial update and outlook change just a couple weeks back. In addition to blaming macroeconomic conditions, the same ones its peers are operating under, management pointed to costs associated with cancelling three more unannounced projects on top of four it already killed back in July. Part of the rough patch is under-performance from Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023, the former being the most baffling considering how well Nintendo Switch titles tend to sell.

In what’s turned into a meme, Ubisoft also yet again delayed pirate game Skull & Bones to an undetermined time in “early fiscal 2023 – 2024.” Reports recently point to the company experimented with upwards of a dozen battle royale projects, following its theme of chasing trends instead of setting them. CEO Yves Guillemot and team claim that upcoming releases like Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will bolster the business and help its return to growth, yet I’m skeptical this can actually be a bounce-back year for Ubisoft. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been quietly shopping itself around to potential buyers, perhaps garnering interest from Tencent or Amazon, because its model hasn’t been working lately. 2023 is as important a year as ever in the company’s history, and its future as a going concern.

Sources: Company Investor Relations Websites.

-Dom

2022 Year-in-Review: Biggest Trends in Gaming, Tech & Media

In the first article of my year-end series, I’ll run through the biggest trends impacting gaming, media and technology during 2022.

It was a curious time of both disruption and normalization. For the former, there was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries grappled with lingering effects of coronavirus. Inflationary pressure combined with economic slowdowns across various regions. Billionaires and executives alike threw around money to scoop up companies. Gaming publishers delayed titles and shifted their release calendars.

As for the latter, companies everywhere settled into a “new normal” of hybrid working. Inflation started to cool in recent months. Consumer electronic manufacturers shored up supply chains, and began producing more inventories. Notably within gaming hardware. Consumers shifted back towards forms of entertainment outside their homes.

Way back in January, I predicted some of these would happen. Though certainly not all of them! That said, now that we’ve experienced it, here’s a list of major stories that fundamentally changed these sectors during 2022. Here’s hoping this article trends towards keeping your interest!

Games Industry Workers Increased Unionization Efforts

This is one of my predictions that I’m happy came true. Employees fighting for their rights, notably those that work in gaming, ramped up substantially in the last 12 months. In January, Quality Assurance (QA) workers at Activision Blizzard’s Raven Software started up the Game Workers Alliance (GWA). Then in May, that team became the first union ever to form at a gaming publisher in the United States. Later, Vodeo Games was the first entire gaming studio in North America to unionize when it voted in September.

More recently, earlier this month Microsoft executives said they would recognize a union being formed by roughly 300 employees of ZeniMax Studios. This in particular is a significant move towards worker rights, as the Communication Workers of America (CWA) celebrated Microsoft’s willingness to recognize and not force a protracted legal battle. Seeing a company as massive and influential as Microsoft to make this decision showed how 2022 was a significant year for unions and workers’ rights in the games industry, and I fully expect this trend to accelerate into 2023.

Social Media, Elon Musk’s Twitter & TikTok’s Expansion

I’m lumping in a couple topics here that dominated the social media landscape this past year. It’s hard to avoid hearing from billionaire weirdo and apartheid apologist Elon Musk, especially when he single-handedly upended the space with his October purchase of Twitter for $44 billion. What followed in the coming weeks was a simultaneous mass exodus from the firm and Musk touting how the platform saw record engagement. Thankfully he claims he’ll be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer soon, because a poll of Twitter uses told him to do so, though the damage has been done for many that moved towards the likes of alternatives in Hive Social or Mastodon.

Elsewhere, in the video streaming world, TikTok’s popularity skyrocketed in 2022 after gaining traction during quarantine times. It began the year with over 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs). Statista estimates it will end the year at upwards of 1.7 billion MAUs, and will likely pass 2 billion in 2023. It’s been downloaded over 3.5 billion times, only the 5th platform ever to accomplish this figure and the first on that list to not be owned by Facebook parent Meta Platforms. The short-form video content platformer has become a premier destination, both for creators and fans, and often dictates trends or news stories especially among its younger users.

Evolution of Working: Remote, Hybrid & Four-Day Work Weeks

Even if certain leaders (see the aforementioned Musk) insist on forcing people back into the office, plenty of big companies settled into a hybrid working compromise in 2022. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta have all embraced some form of a hybrid working model. Almost 90% of European companies surveyed by Owl Labs planned to offer hybrid solutions post-pandemic. On the upside, it’s a much more flexible environment for workers and often acts as a welcoming culture for talent. Downside is there are still disruptions in workflow and tech availability, which can push software or products back. As exhibited by how many big title delays happened in the games industry especially.

Additionally, various gaming companies experimented with instituting four-day work weeks, meant to alleviate crunch and provide a more balanced work-life dynamic. Eidos Montreal, Eidos Sherbrooke, Kitfox Games, Armor Games, ManaVoid Entertainment, Young Horses Games and Crows Crows Crows are examples of studios that have shifted towards this type of schedule while maintaining pay levels for their employees. Not only is it promoting work-life harmony, it’s an excellent bargaining chip for companies when attracting talent.

Microsoft & Activision Blizzard Facing Regulatory Scrutiny & Sony’s Ire

It’s hard to believe that Microsoft announced its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard this past January. It feels like the biggest story in gaming, perhaps ever, and the resulting talk about further consolidation in the games industry has been in the news cycle for an eternity. The company’s representations argue that it will actually increase competition and aid development resources because of access to Xbox Game Pass and more direct financial support, and has offered good faith deals to Sony, Nintendo and Valve to have Activision’s bellwether franchise Call of Duty remain on other platforms for at lease a decade. So far, only Nintendo and Valve have accepted.

While certain jurisdictions like Brazil and Saudi Arabia have already approved the deal, other regions and countries are scrutinizing it closely. Namely the United Kingdom’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) and now Lina Khan’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) here in the United States, the latter of which is seeking to potentially block the purchase by pushing the Seattle-based tech giant towards a major legal battle. Then of course there’s Sony, Microsoft’s main competitor in the premium console space, that’s naturally opposed to it. Personally I still think the acquisition will happen, perhaps with some conditions, just not before Microsoft’s target of June 2023.

Supply Chain & New Gaming Hardware Inventory Rebound

Can you believe it’s been two years since the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X|S family? And almost a year since Valve’s Steam Deck handheld (a device from that I think has revolutionized PC and portable gaming)? To say it’s been a tumultuous beginning to the new console cycle is an understatement, as supply disruptions plus chip shortages have made it difficult for consumers to find these boxes at retail. Though after a rough stretch in the front half of the year, indicators are finally signaling better availability.

Supply chains are improving, part prices are topping out and suppliers are pushing more inventory to market. This is illustrated by better hardware results lately for key markets like the United States, where both new families have been growing, sometimes in the double-digits. Data from a Top 5 global games market in the United Kingdom show that November was the biggest month of 2022 for console sales. Valve’s Steam Deck shipments have risen drastically since the February launch, when the company was dealing with slowdowns amidst long waiting lists. There’s also Sony’s upbeat target for hardware shipments during its current fiscal year. It’s safe to say these stats are pointing to a positive trend, and certainly bodes well for the new year, during which I expect upward growth for all three devices.

Weakness in Mobile Drives Lower Spending on Games Industry

Admittedly this is a miss for me when it comes to my prediction, as I expected global games industry value to be flat or up slightly in 2022. The reason? Mainly because I was more optimistic than I should have been on mobile. Even with the late year output push by hardware manufacturers, spending across games is trending downward for this past year. Both globally and within the United States, as Newzoo expects the former to decline 4% to $184 billion and The NPD Group currently shows domestic spending down 6% to $48.97 billion through November.

At a global scale, mobile’s value is trending 6% lower to $92 billion. Within the United States, this sub-category is likely to show between a 1% to 2% dip. To illustrate how significant this is, that would be the first time in Sensor Tower’s tracked history in which mobile experiences an annual decline. And it usually makes up half or more of the Video Game Content category, which is the largest contributor to U.S. spending. Combine mobile weakness with the impact of a sparser release calendar for premium games and global hardware sales looking to move down 4% to $52 billion, and 2022 is trending closer and closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Continued Expansion of Subscriptions, Streaming & Cloud Services

As expected by nearly every talking head that covers consumer sectors and technology, including yours truly, 2022 showed further movement towards subscriptions, streaming and cloud across various media types. These sorts of ongoing digital content distribution strategies are all the rage at companies, from Walt Disney Co’s Disney Plus and Warner Bros’ HBO Max to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass alongside Sony’s PlayStation Plus. This past year featured many avenues to watch television shows, check out new films and enjoy game libraries, whether locally or on streaming devices. Disney Plus recently passed 164 million subscribers, up 12 million year-on-year. The combined audience of Walt Disney’s streaming platforms rose almost 4 million in the quarter ending September. While Netflix’s user base initially declined in the early parts of its latest fiscal year, it’s since rebounded to 223 million after adding 2.4 million in the latest quarter, above estimates.

In gaming, Sony rebranded its PlayStation Plus service back in June to offer certain new titles as part of the Premium tier. Microsoft said Xbox Game Pass is showing growth on console and PC, though the former is slowing as the market saturates, and shared that 20 million people have used its cloud streaming tech which is twice as many as in 2021. Finally, Microsoft signed a deal to offer Xbox Game Pass on new Samsung televisions, a move that further exhibits how distribution will be in the future without even a need for gaming hardware. Digital is now dominant in these sectors with its allure of ongoing revenue and audience retention, and I expect even more segmentation across 2023 and beyond.

There you have my coverage of the biggest trends of 2022. Thanks for reading this far! Head back to the 2022 Year-in-Review Megapost for all year-end content here at Working Casual, and be well everyone.

Sources: Chris Chang (Image Credit), Company Investor Websites, GamesIndustry.Biz, Getty Images, Newzoo, The NPD Group, Owl Labs, PlayStation Blog, Sensor Tower, Social Shephard, Statista, ThisisEngineering (Image Credit).

-Dom

2022 Year-in-Review Megapost is Here

It’s the last week of 2022. Which means one thing, of course.

We’ll see the ball drop soon on the new year? Well, maybe. But actually: It’s time for Working Casual’s annual Year-in-Review series!

This will be the sixth installment of the perennial article set celebrating gaming, media, technology and the trends, companies and smaller teams making big impacts across these sectors.

In a broad sense, major stories within these included the evolution of hybrid working, supply chain and logistics recoveries, better widespread unionization efforts, subscription services rebranding towards growth, cloud gaming expansion, major delays for AAA titles, general consumer spending declines, ongoing games tapping the Metaverse, the volatility of cryptocurrency, and, a personal favorite, the innovation of Valve’s Steam Deck on the gaming hardware front.

Throughout the next week, I’ll have multiple articles covering everything that was the past year. Trends, companies, indie studios and my favorite games will engulf the site like fireworks in the night sky. See below for the article titles. I recommend bookmarking and checking back often as I post them leading up to New Year’s Day.

Biggest Trends in Gaming, Tech & Media

Five Most Impressive Gaming Companies

Independent Studios of the Year

Dom’s Top 10 Games of the Year

Thanks everyone for hanging out here and on social media. Sending all the best to you and yours as we wrap up another year, and move into a new one!

-Dom