Call of Duty is the most successful first-person shooting video game franchise in history! The franchise was originally introduced in 2003. Since then it’s sold over 400 million copies of its games. Since 2003, Call of Duty has managed to take up a large chunk of my youth, as well as climbing to the third highest-selling video game franchise behind only Mario and Tetris. The franchise also has multiple other product lines including action figures, card games, and even a comic book series. Is there Call of Duty stock?
Can I buy Call of Duty Stock?
Multiple revenue streams, global brand awareness, hundreds of millions of dollars in sales each year? Call of Duty sounds like an excellent investment! Its popularity is almost comparable to something like Apple’s iPhone; a new one comes out each year, and yet fans always have to get the latest version. It’s a loyalty that few brands can experience, so Call of Duty is truly a money-making machine. So you can buy Call of Duty stock?
The answer to this is yes and no! While you won’t find Call of Duty trading under the ticker symbol COD, you can buy shares of its creator! Even investors who know nothing about gaming have heard about Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI). It is one of the leading game developers in the world and has owned the Call of Duty franchise since 2003. What are some other well-known games that Activision Blizzard makes?
- Crash Bandicoot
- Candy Crush Saga
If you know a thing or two about gaming, you’ll know that Starcraft and Overwatch are two of the most popular games in the eSports world. Activision Blizzard has an excellent portfolio of game franchises, but does that make it a great investment?
Like most companies, Activision Blizzard has had its share of ups and downs throughout the years. The company has been on the brink of bankruptcy several times including in 1997 when CEO Bobby Kotick renamed the entity Activision. The company merged with Blizzard Entertainment in 2007, which gave Activision direct ownership over the popular World of Warcraft game.
Activision Blizzard in a Nutshell
Activision Blizzard is a tech company based in the United States and is traded on the NASDAQ – an American multinational financial services corporation – under the ATVI ticker.
It’s most known for being an American video game and film holding company. If you’re looking to purchase shares in the company, you’ll need a broker that provides you with access to the NASDAQ.
If you stayed invested in Activision since its IPO back in 1993, the stock has now returned over 10,000%. Over the past five years, ATVI has returned a respectable 109%, which barely outpaces the S&P 500 index.
Over the past year, it has lagged the S&P 500, and year to date, the stock has lost 6.5%. This is because NASDAQ is the main exchange that Activision Blizzard is traded on.
Activision Blizzard is one of the global leaders in video games but the stock hasn’t had much recent success. I was surprised when I saw this considering how well all of its franchises sell.
In fact, from 2010 to 2020, Call of Duty had 7 of the 10 best-selling games in the world. This shows the brand’s continued dominance.
And yet, it doesn’t seem to translate to a higher stock price. So how do other video game stocks compare? Here’s a list of some of the best games and the companies that own them! So while you can’t go out and buy Call of Duty stock, you can buy $ATVI.
What Are Some of the Best Video Game Stocks?
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT): Compared to Microsoft, any other company on this list is considered tiny. We all know that Microsoft has the Xbox console, but did you know that it also owns the game that has sold the most copies in the last decade?
That game is Minecraft, a sandbox-style, world-building game that has no real goals for players. Since its debut in 2009, Minecraft has sold over 200 million copies and still has over 126 million monthly active players.
Other cool Microsoft exclusive games include the Halo series, Gears of War, and the Forza MotorSports series.
Sony (NYSE: SONY): You can’t mention Microsoft without mentioning Sony in the console wars. Sony’s Playstation console has regularly beaten out the Xbox in terms of sales, and the latest iteration the Playstation 5 is no different. Sony has a strong lineup of exclusive franchises including Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy, God of War, and Uncharted.
Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY): While Sony and Microsoft compete in the next-gen console war, this iconic brand is as strong as ever. Nintendo may not sell as many consoles, but it quietly owns two of the most lucrative franchises in history: Mario and Pokemon.
Mario is far and away the most valuable franchise. But Pokemon isn’t too far off. Nintendo prides itself on creating games and consoles that are for the whole family, and Mario Kart and Mario Party are just two wonderful examples of this. So keep these stocks in mind for alternatives to Call of Duty stock.
Video Game Stocks to Consider
Roblox (NYSE: RBLX): Roblox is one of the closest competitors to Minecraft, and recently went public on Wall Street. Roblox is another sandbox-type game where players can interact with friends in a digital world. The game creates revenues by selling in-game purchases using the currency called Robux. This popular meta world even allows developers to create minigames inside the Roblox universe; and get paid for their work. In the first quarter of 2021, Roblox managed to bring in over $387 million in revenues.
Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO): One of the leading competitors to Activision Blizzard in the game-development world. Take-Two has its own stable of valuable franchises including Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Bioshock, and the 2K sports series. While Take-Two operates mostly in the console industry, it has increasingly targeted the rapidly growing mobile gaming sector as well. Just last month, the company made its largest purchase ever, acquiring the rights to the popular mobile game Top Eleven for $378 million.
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA): Electronic Arts is the second-largest game developer by market cap after Activision Blizzard. Gamers know EA for its large library of sports games including NFL Madden and Fifa soccer. But the company has expanded its reach in recent years and now has a growing portfolio of non-sports games as well. EA owns two Call of Duty rivals in Battlefield and Medal of Honor, as well as Mass Effect, the Sims, Apex Legends, and the Star Wars game library.
What About Tencent?
Tencent (OTC: TCEHY): This sprawling Chinese tech conglomerate is actually the largest video game company in the world. How big is Tencent? It owns 100% of Riot Games which makes League of Legends and 84% of Supercell which makes the mobile game Clash of Clans. It also owns 40% of Epic Games which makes Gears of War, Fortnite, and owns the Unreal Engine for game development, 25% of Sea Limited (NYSE: SE) which owns Garena and the global smash hit Freefire, as well as a tidy 5% stake in Ubisoft and of course, Activision Blizzard.
The Rising Popularity of Call of Duty
Look, Call of Duty has always been popular, but eSports really took it to the mainstream. Professional gaming leagues like the Call of Duty league and Major League Gaming, offer live events and live streams to fans around the world.
Prizes for teams can reach millions of dollars, and the global eSports market has grown into a billion-dollar industry.
If you think athletes make a lot, the largest eSports prizes have topped $30 million for games like Fortnite and Dota2. WE wish there was Call of Duty stock after that!
As far as console games go, Call of Duty is still the multiplayer game of choice amongst millions of players around the world. The most recent title, Call of Duty Warzone, surpassed 100 million active players shortly after its release.
Granted those numbers came during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. But they’re still impressive. Finally, Call of Duty: Mobile has been one of the fastest-growing mobile games since its release in October 2020.
The game has well over 300 million downloads worldwide, with an estimated 210 million still actively playing.
The Negatives of Call of Duty
For as much popularity that Call of Duty has, it definitely comes with some negatives. The primary negative is that first person shooter games promote aggression and desensitize people to gun violence. Call of Duty has also been known to include controversial themes including one level in Modern Warfare 2, which has the player watch a massacre of civilians at an airport. Activision Blizzard also actively includes parts of the game that knowingly releases dopamine, causing some players to become addicted.
Activision Blizzard has been known to be involved in its own controversies. Most recently, the company experienced a staff walkout after details surfaced about the mistreatment of female employees. This has had an adverse effect on the stock price, and may have tainted the company for the foreseeable future.
Conclusion: Call of Duty Stock
So, in this article you learned you cannot buy Call of Duty stock. You can buy stock in Activision Blizzard, which is kind of like owning a piece of Call of Duty! The video game industry is already massive, with some estimates of $180 billion in revenue in 2021 alone! The market for games is only going to continue to grow. Especially for the mobile segment, as smartphones become more powerful and 5G networks roll out around the world. If you’re looking for a place to invest some money, buying some shares of some of the gaming companies I wrote about is a great start!