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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, GameStop and

CHICAGO, Dec. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:EA), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), Sony (NYSE:SNE), GameStop (NYSE:GME) and (Nasdaq:AMZN).


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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

EA Set To Launch Dead Space 3 Demo

Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:EA) is aggressively marketing its upcoming new game Dead Space 3. Visceral, an EA studio and developer of the new game recently announced the availability of a downloadable demo version of the game for origin account subscribers from January 22, 2013. However, the offer starts one week early (January 15, 2013) for Microsoft's (Nasdaq:MSFT) Xbox 360 users.

Dead Space 3 is set to release on February 5, 2013 in North America and on February 8, 2013 in Europe. Apart from Xbox 360, the game will also be available on Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation3 and personal computers.

Dead Space 3 follows the adventures of Isaac Clarke and Ellie Langford, who get separated after their spaceship crash lands on the icy planet of Tau Volantis. The new game brings another character John Carver, who partners Isaac during co-operative missions.

EA is adding a new drop-in/drop-out co-operative feature that gives players the option to play individually or with a partner. Players who choose to play the co-operative mode (the second player controls John Carver) get to participate in additional missions and enjoy benefits such as sharing of health and ammunition packs.

Dead Space 3 is one of the most anticipated games of 2013. EA is putting all efforts to make the new game a hit with fans. Besides offering bonus weapons for gamers who pre-order the game from GameStop (NYSE:GME) and (Nasdaq:AMZN), players will also receive a special Dead Space 3 Limited Edition pack on pre-order.

Moreover, players using Kinect with Xbox 360 will be able to interact verbally with their partners by using simple commands. Kinect is Microsoft's motion sensor add-on for the Xbox 360 gaming console, which identifies individual players through face and voice recognition. We believe that the addition of this new feature and bonus items will help the game to capture significant attention post its release.

We believe that the marketing strategy to attract gamers with bonus weapons and other game packages prior to the game's release should definitely work in favor of EA. The company will get a better idea about the title's popularity and its future performance. Further, EA will be generating revenue from the game even before it is released.

However, we remain cautious on EA due to sluggish consumer spending, dismal video game sales and increasing competition from free-to-play games. Considering these factors, we have a Neutral recommendation on EA over the long term.

Currently, EA has a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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