Battlefield 3 recognized as “risk factor” for Call of Duty

In a note to investors, Activision’s Modern Warfare 3 is getting high praise from Stern Agee’s Arvind Bhatia. The “very impressive” closing chapter of the Modern Warfare storyline will “probably” out-do its 2010 predecessor Black Ops, the analyst believes. Regardless, EA and DICE’s challenger Battlefield 3 is deemed a risk factor for the Call of Duty franchise in general.

“Battlefield 3; game looks good,” writes the analyst, expecting it “could take some market share from the Call of Duty franchise”.

Joining Battlefield 3 under a “Risk factors” heading in the note is EA-owned BioWare’s upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is still foggy on release dates: “Star Wars MMO could bite into the World of Warcraft subscribers.” Bhatia expects Blizzard to be “very aggressive in defending its subscriber base” though.

All in all, Activision’s shares are still poised to outperform the competition for the remainder of the year. And “meaningfully” at that; with digital revenues “ramping quickly” thanks to expansion packs, average revenue per user and margins are expected to grow even more once the company launches its monetized Call of Duty Elite service alongside MW3 this fall.