Activision Is Bringing Back Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding Games. Will the Popular Series Boost the Stock?

CATEGORIES: SkateSkateboarding
PUBLISHED: August 24, 2020

“The original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is a big factor in the evolution of modern skateboarding tricks and inspiring many of the pro skaters you know and love today,” Tony Hawk, who celebrated his 52nd birthday on Tuesday, said in the news release.

Activision Blizzard has gone to its well of intellectual property to mixed results in recent months. August’s World of Warcraft: Classic helped drive record quarterly subscription growth for Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But Warcraft III: Reforged, which launched in December, prompted fan backlash and received mediocre review scores.

During last week’s earnings call, Activision Blizzard Chief Financial Officer Dennis Durkin said the company had two unnamed franchises from Activision IP planned for the second half of 2020, in addition to its annual main line Call of Duty game. The Tony Hawk release fits the bill.

Jefferies analyst Alex Giaimo told Barron’s he sees it as a positive sign that the game is set for a September release, given recent industry-wide concerns that Covid-19 will lead to production delays.

“The Tony Hawk announcement fits nicely with Activision’s recent strategy of remastering popular titles to keep players engaged,” he said. “It likely doesn’t move the needle on 2020 numbers as it’s included in Activision’s outlook, but a positive sign to see an ongoing cadence of new content set to release this year (despite fears over content delays).”

The release could also help redeem Activison’s Pro Skater brand. Its most recent title was the widely panned Pro Skater 5 in 2015. Gaming publication Polygon called it one of the worst games of the year—adding it was, “so broken, so garish and so grim that reformed Tony Hawk lovers rue the day they first laid eyes on the franchise.” Ouch.

But if Activision can recapture the feel of the original games with modern graphics, without altering too much for the sake of change, the series could have a second lease on life.

Activison shares (ticker: ATVI) lost 4.3% to $72.25 on Tuesday. The stock is still up 22% year-to-date and 61% in the trailing 12-month period.