Activision Blizzard (ATVI) has every reason to cheer as its wholly-owned subsidiary Activision Publishing gears up for “SWAPtober” celebrations, ahead of the Skylanders SWAP Force launch on Sunday, Oct 13.
To launch SWAPtober in a big way, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack per day from October 1 till October 31 through the official channel “Skylanders Twitter” (@SkylandersGames). Moreover, website administrators can visit “Skylanders.com” to make the optimum combination of SWAP Force.
A series of events precede the actual launch of the game. To begin with, on Oct 10, Skylanders, in partnership with Toys“R”Us will organize a celebration in Times Square, giving fans a chance to play the game for the first time.
Going forward, on Oct 12 and 13, the Toys“R”Us international flagship store in New York City is expected to celebrate the launch of Skylanders SWAP Force with a one-of-a-kind in-store experience, which would include game demos as well as giveaways.
Apart from winning a number of awards, the game also featured in the “Holiday Hot Toy List” published by Toys“R”Us. We believe the popularity of the Skylanders franchise has led to the creation of toys and other merchandise modeled on the game.
Moreover, Activision’s timely initiative of rolling out a mobile version of Skylanders Cloud Patrolfor Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes App store and Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle Fire also enhanced the popularity of the franchise in our view.
The company had earlier tasted success with its blockbuster first person shooter (“FPS”) game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which topped the NPD’s top 2012 games list.
However, shooting games are losing out on popularityfollowing the Connecticut school shooting incident that left 28 people (including 20 children) dead on Dec15, 2012. The tragic incident has brought shooting franchises such as Call of Duty and Electronic Arts’ (EA) Medal of Honor under strict scrutiny for using weapons and promoting violence through games.
Considering the aforementioned facts, we believe that franchises such as Skylanders, which is mainly targeted at kids, has significant opportunity to grab market share going forward. Skylanders not only diversifies Activision’s gaming portfolio but also expands its revenue stream. On the other hand, the company can face competition from other players, who are planning to come out with similar games in the near future.
Currently, Activision has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).