Microsoft X Console, EA ‘Star Wars’ Game Grab Early E3 Buzz – Investor’s Business Daily

Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft (MSFT) captured early buzz heading into the E3 video game convention, which starts Tuesday, with weekend announcements about new products.

XAutoplay: On | OffElectronic Arts wowed gamers with footage from its upcoming “Star Wars Battlefront 2″ game at a company event Saturday in Hollywood. It also revealed details of a version of its “FIFA 18″ soccer game for Nintendo‘s (NTDOY) Switch game console. Plus, it previewed two new video game properties: two-player co-op adventure game “A Way Out,” due out in early 2018, and science-fiction action game “Anthem,” set for release in fall 2018.

Microsoft detailed its next living-room game console called Xbox One X, previously code-named Project Scorpio, at a media event on Sunday. It said the console will be available on Nov. 7 for $499, a price many analysts found rather steep.

Microsoft described Xbox One X as the world’s most powerful game console, capable of running video in 4K ultra-high-definition quality. It will co-exist with the original Xbox One console and the smaller Xbox One S model.

Microsoft also announced 42 upcoming Xbox One games, including 22 with console exclusivity.

The EA and Microsoft events were “incrementally positive” for EA, Mizuho Securities analyst San Phan said in a report Monday. He reiterated his buy rating and price target of 115 on EA stock.

EA stock was down 1.4% to close at 108.90 on the stock market today. EA shares hit an all-time high of 116.04 in intraday trading on Thursday.


IBD’S TAKE: For the latest news on the E3 conference, check out IBD’s E3 news page. E3, short for Electronic Entertainment Expo, runs Tuesday through Thursday in downtown Los Angeles.


EA’s “Star Wars Battlefront 2″ game is poised to outsell its predecessor thanks to improved game play and a larger installed base of current-generation consoles, Phan said. The new Star Wars game has three times the content of the 2015 game with more characters and settings from across the Star Wars universe, he said. It also features a single-player campaign mode that the original lacked.

“Based on what was shown and our hands-on play time, we believe EA has improved the game in nearly every aspect, including multiplayer, which now includes soldier classes and appears more robust,” Phan said. “We also really like EA’s decision to make downloadable content free for ‘Battlefront 2′ as it keeps the player community together vs. fragmenting it (benefiting engagement). The game will still feature in-game microtransactions where loot boxes can be purchased in addition to being earned.”

EA’s “Anthem” looks “astounding,” Phan said. The new game should give Activision Blizzard‘s (ATVI) similar franchise, “Destiny,” a run for its money, he said.

Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said “Anthem” looks “impressive” and “Star Wars Battlefront 2″ looks “solid.”

He reiterated his overweight rating on EA and price target of 115 in a report Monday.

Xbox One X Console Pricing ‘Steep’

Wall Street analysts were taken aback by the pricing of Microsoft’s Xbox One X console, saying the high price tag could limit its appeal.

“The launch price is a bit steep in our opinion,” Phan said in a report. “The Xbox One X bests the technical specifications for the (Sony (SNE)) PlayStation 4 Pro with native 4K gaming and an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, but at $499, it’ll cost $100 more than the PlayStation 4 Pro, which we expect will have stronger exclusive titles over the next year.”

Baird’s Sebastian agreed.

“It remains unclear whether Xbox One X’s superior horsepower will be noticeable enough to offset the $100 price premium to PS4 Pro or the two-times premium to the Xbox One S ($249),” Sebastian said. “It could appeal to hardcore gamers looking for more PC-level immersion in a ‘lean back’ console environment, particularly as developers better leverage the console specs over time.”

Microsoft stock was down 0.8% to close at 69.78 Monday after finding support at its 50-day line intraday. Microsoft hit a record high of 72.89 on May 5.

RELATED:

E3 Show To Set Expectations For Big Holiday Video Game Launches

Electronic Arts (EA) and Microsoft (MSFT) captured early buzz heading into the E3 video game convention, which starts Tuesday, with weekend announcements about new products.

XAutoplay: On | OffElectronic Arts wowed gamers with footage from its upcoming “Star Wars Battlefront 2″ game at a company event Saturday in Hollywood. It also revealed details of a version of its “FIFA 18″ soccer game for Nintendo‘s (NTDOY) Switch game console. Plus, it previewed two new video game properties: two-player co-op adventure game “A Way Out,” due out in early 2018, and science-fiction action game “Anthem,” set for release in fall 2018.

Microsoft detailed its next living-room game console called Xbox One X, previously code-named Project Scorpio, at a media event on Sunday. It said the console will be available on Nov. 7 for $499, a price many analysts found rather steep.

Microsoft described Xbox One X as the world’s most powerful game console, capable of running video in 4K ultra-high-definition quality. It will co-exist with the original Xbox One console and the smaller Xbox One S model.

Microsoft also announced 42 upcoming Xbox One games, including 22 with console exclusivity.

The EA and Microsoft events were “incrementally positive” for EA, Mizuho Securities analyst San Phan said in a report Monday. He reiterated his buy rating and price target of 115 on EA stock.

EA stock was down 1.4% to close at 108.90 on the stock market today. EA shares hit an all-time high of 116.04 in intraday trading on Thursday.


IBD’S TAKE: For the latest news on the E3 conference, check out IBD’s E3 news page. E3, short for Electronic Entertainment Expo, runs Tuesday through Thursday in downtown Los Angeles.


EA’s “Star Wars Battlefront 2″ game is poised to outsell its predecessor thanks to improved game play and a larger installed base of current-generation consoles, Phan said. The new Star Wars game has three times the content of the 2015 game with more characters and settings from across the Star Wars universe, he said. It also features a single-player campaign mode that the original lacked.

“Based on what was shown and our hands-on play time, we believe EA has improved the game in nearly every aspect, including multiplayer, which now includes soldier classes and appears more robust,” Phan said. “We also really like EA’s decision to make downloadable content free for ‘Battlefront 2′ as it keeps the player community together vs. fragmenting it (benefiting engagement). The game will still feature in-game microtransactions where loot boxes can be purchased in addition to being earned.”

EA’s “Anthem” looks “astounding,” Phan said. The new game should give Activision Blizzard‘s (ATVI) similar franchise, “Destiny,” a run for its money, he said.

Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said “Anthem” looks “impressive” and “Star Wars Battlefront 2″ looks “solid.”

He reiterated his overweight rating on EA and price target of 115 in a report Monday.

Xbox One X Console Pricing ‘Steep’

Wall Street analysts were taken aback by the pricing of Microsoft’s Xbox One X console, saying the high price tag could limit its appeal.

“The launch price is a bit steep in our opinion,” Phan said in a report. “The Xbox One X bests the technical specifications for the (Sony (SNE)) PlayStation 4 Pro with native 4K gaming and an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, but at $499, it’ll cost $100 more than the PlayStation 4 Pro, which we expect will have stronger exclusive titles over the next year.”

Baird’s Sebastian agreed.

“It remains unclear whether Xbox One X’s superior horsepower will be noticeable enough to offset the $100 price premium to PS4 Pro or the two-times premium to the Xbox One S ($249),” Sebastian said. “It could appeal to hardcore gamers looking for more PC-level immersion in a ‘lean back’ console environment, particularly as developers better leverage the console specs over time.”

Microsoft stock was down 0.8% to close at 69.78 Monday after finding support at its 50-day line intraday. Microsoft hit a record high of 72.89 on May 5.

RELATED:

E3 Show To Set Expectations For Big Holiday Video Game Launches

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