500 million tickets to the gun show
The publisher of popular video games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft—two games in which players mow down thousands of virtual enemies using ever-more elaborate weapons—released a new game, Destiny, in which players mow down thousands of enemies using ever-more elaborate weapons. That kind of bold artistic vision pays off: Activision Blizzard announced this week that it shipped $500 million worth of games to retailers, good enough to make Destiny “the biggest new video game franchise launch in history.” The “franchise” is the key word there, since individual blockbuster games have boasted larger sales figures in the past. Destiny, however, is the first in what is predicted to be a long-running series, meaning it had no ready-made fan-base. Just how many of those shipped games were actually sold to customers will remain unknown until Activision releases the launch sales figures, but zero to half a billion in one day? As the gamers say: woot! Woot indeed.
Love-Hate Shack, Baby
The U.S. electronics retailer warned this week that it’s facing bankruptcy, as cratering sales and mounting losses have shrunk its cash-on-hand to just $30 million. Hammered by online retailers and abandoned by the geeky clientele who once found it indispensable (they’re all at home now playing Destiny), Radio Shack’s same-store sales have been dropping by 20% per quarter. (RadioShack’s Canadian cousin-several-times-removed is actually doing much better by comparison, opening new stores and gradually increasing sales.) The company believes it needs to close at least 1,100 stores to even have a chance at turning things around. One analyst cut his price target for the stock, which currently hovers around the $1 range, to zero, so in at least some quarters bankruptcy is a foregone conclusion. For those looking for a silver lining: Filing for Chapter 11 would actually allow RadioShack to break lots of its expensive retail leases; then it can close all the stores it wants.