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iPhone Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Tim Hinds

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Games Fighting Hard for Shrinking Dollars

LONDON, January 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The gaming industry continues to face shifting trends and a fast altering landscape. Digital and mobile gaming options keep gaining in importance driven by the ongoing proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as the internet in general. This turbulence poses considerable challenges to industry players. However, with change comes opportunity and for the companies that adapt successfully, opportunity abounds. Diversification of revenue streams through successful franchises is a tact which can help to buoy revenues, as Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) has shown with Skylanders. Talk to our analysts about Activision Blizzard, sign up now for free at

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New releases are also essential to maintaining a following and many industry players, including Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TTOW) and Shanda Games Limited (NASDAQ:GAME) seem to have exciting pipelines planned for 2013. While demand for social and mobile gaming is booming, companies operating within this realm have their own challenges, so it will be interesting to see how companies such as Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA), which recently announced its earnings release date, have fared in the most recent quarter. See how these gaming companies have performed in the past year and how they are expected to perform in 2013. Our analysts will be happy to answer your questions, sign up now for free at

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2012 did not end on a high note for video game retail sales. According to NPD Group figures, December 2012 marked the thirteenth straight month of declines as sales dropped 22 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. For the full year, video game sales fell to $13.26 billion, 22 percent lower than 2011 sales of $16.99 billion. "Declines have not been uniform, with middle-tier games faring the worst, while the top ten titles generated a whopping 46 percent of December's dollar sales, up 12 percent year-over-year. Activision Blizzard was on top, with Call of Duty: Black Ops II being the top-selling game in 2012, followed by Madden NFL 13 from Electronic Arts," our tech stock expert stated. You can have more details by talking to him directly today. Sign up now at

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Activision Blizzard has also had success with its Skylanders franchise, which recently crossed the all important $500 million milestone in retail sales. Skylanders toys were on the "Holiday Hot Toy List", the movie did well over the holiday season and its release of mobile versions has further boosted its popularity. This success with the child focused franchise may be especially well timed as some fear that the shooter gaming market may be in for a bumpy ride due to negative attention following the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. So far, most members of the gaming industry seem to be trying hard to be helpful by attending the exploratory meeting organized by Joe Biden. Nonetheless, others felt that attendance was akin to admitting that "you were a part of the problem" and thus ill-advised. The issue is particularly pertinent, as shooter games have proven to be resistant to competition from cheap or free-to-play mobile games, thus industry players will not want to see the market disrupted.

There are a number of anticipated new releases slated for this year too. Electronic Arts recently announced that The Sims 3 University Life and The Sims 3 Island Paradise Expansion Packs are being developed and are indented for release throughout the year. Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive Software has announced that an agreement has been reached with Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media to release Major League Baseball® 2K13.

Elsewhere in the industry, mobile and online game developers are also putting forth new products. Chinese online game developer, Shanda Games Limited lately announced that the Korean launch of its iOS version of Diffusion Million Arthur has catapulted it to top grossing app among all categories in Apple's local App Store. As a result of this success, the company is now planning to publish the game in China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, as well as planning a mobile version of Final Fantasy I, II and III in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia in the near future. On the other hand, Zynga, which is scheduled to report its fourth quarter and full year earnings on February 5th, has been trimming back its portfolio to focus on games which are performing well. The company has announced plans to shut down 13 under-performing games and cut 150 jobs. Zynga is also entering a new relationship with long-time partner Facebook, which will allow it to make its games available on other sites, potentially opening up new revenue streams. Get our financial analysis on Zynga soon, sign up now to receive our alert email.

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