Dark pool activity was detected in EA stock on January 16, 2020.

Piper Sandler analyst Michael Olson maintained Overweight ratings on Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Electronic Arts (EA), and Take-Two (TTWO) following NPD’s video game sales data for the full December quarter. According to NPD’s data, video games sales fell 21% year-over-year for the full quarter, with “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” as the top selling game. EA’s “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” was in second place, followed by Nintendo’s (NTDOY) “Pokemon Sword” and “Luigi’s Mansion 3,” with EA’s latest “Madden” rounding out the top five. Olson said he believes December quarter NPD results are “most positive” for EA, given the “strong” sales for “Star Wars” and “Madden.”

Back on December 17, 2019, Electronic Arts Inc., (NASDAQ: EA) and Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Global Series. The series is comprised of online and live events for PC players who will compete for a prize purse of more than $3 million. The Apex Legends Global Series will initially feature 12 global live events, either operated by EA and Respawn or produced by notable esports tournament organizers PGL and GLL. Online competition will be powered by Battlefy with registration for the first event opening in early January.

“Competition is at the heart of Apex Legends,” said Vince Zampella, Head of Respawn Entertainment. “We expect that esports will play a big role in the future of Apex Legends and it all starts here, with the Apex Legends Global Series. We look forward to seeing who, out of our millions of players, will become true legends of the arena.”

The Apex Legends Global Series is an inclusive, open ecosystem created to make stars of all players. Residents of one of the more than 60 eligible countries who meet minimum age, PC system requirements, and other eligibility requirements can compete.* The competitive journey for many will start with online competition, with competitors potentially advancing to live, regional Challenger Events and global Premier Events. Players will earn Apex Legends Global Series Points for their performances in online, and certain live events, and those atop the standings will be invited to the four Apex Legends Global Series Majors, the highest competitive live event tier.

“Apex Legends is one of the most impactful launches in videogame history and it possesses immense esports potential,” said John Nelson, Apex Legends Competitive Gaming Commissioner. “Through close communication with our community, we’ve built an accessible Apex Legends ecosystem where any player can become a potential star while the world watches our unique, entertaining take on Battle Royale esports.”

The first three Majors will each feature 100 three-player squads from around the world. The fourth Major, the Apex Legends Global Series Championship, is the grand finale. Only the top 60 Apex Legends Global Series teams in the world will be invited to battle for $1 million in prizes and the title of Apex Legends Global Series World Champion.

All four Majors will feature the Apex Legends exclusive Match Point format, which debuted at the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational in September to positive reception. Match Point requires teams in the Finals to reach a points threshold through a combination of match placement and accumulated kills. Apex Legends is the only Battle Royale esport to feature this uniquely exciting end game mechanic.

The first Apex Legends Global Series competition is an Online Tournament taking place on January 25, 2020. Registration will open for the event in early January. Players can earn Apex Legends Global Series Points and an invitation to the first Major on March 13-15, 2020 held at Esports Stadium Arlington in Arlington, Texas based on their Online Tournament performance. Many of the Apex Legends Global Series Online Tournaments will be produced from the newly built EA Broadcast Center at company headquarters. Subsequent Apex Legends Global Series details will be announced soon.

On December 9, 2019, SunTrust analyst Matthew Thornton raised his price target on Electronic Arts to $113 and kept his Buy rating. The analyst says he has the “highest confidence” in the company’s short-term revision trend among its gaming peers following a”very solid” Q2 and amid a favorable set of fundamentals that includes a shift to digital gaming, console upgrade cycle, improving revenue sharing in content distribution, and its balance sheet position. Thornton further cites potential catalysts for Electronic Arts that include FIFA/Madden e-sports league development, successful launch of Apex Legends on mobile and in China, and further M&A activity or licensing of new IP.

Back on December 2, 2019, Stephens analyst Jeff Cohen said his retail checks around Black Friday pointed to strong demand for Electronic Arts’ (EA) sports games as well as “Jedi Fallen Order,” along with Activision’s (ATVI) “Call of Duty Modern Warfare.” Given strong word of mouth, reviews, and excitement around the Star Wars franchise, Cohen said he expects “Jedi Fallen Order” to continue selling well through the holiday season, adding that he believes EA shares will break out. Cohen has Overweight ratings on both EA and Activision, which he calls his top picks in the console gaming space.

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