A research note from analyst Mike Hickey of Janco Partners suggests that Maxis' upcoming Spore
could be a "major hit" for publisher Electronic Arts, and the company's current stock price may be lower than appropriate as a result.
Hickey bases his expectations in part on the strong performance of the standalone Spore Creature Creator
, which he notes has already surpassed 400,000 users after only days on sale, with online retailer Amazon having sold out of copies.
Still, the analyst tempered that observation with caution.
"It appears there is sufficient curiosity for Spore
to drive considerable unit sales, although it’s unclear if the game will be appreciated by the mass market," Hickey pointed out.
Overall, he remains bullish on the full title's prospects this fall: "We believe Spore
offers EA their best new IP opportunity in fiscal ’09 and the potential of a major hit is not currently reflected in the Company’s share price, in our view," wrote Hickey.
Hickey also added a comment about EA Mythic's upcoming MMO Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
, noting that anticipation for the title seems high even in the wake of the release of another hotly-anticipated "Age of" MMO, Age of Conan
"The game’s beta ticker currently reads 736,315 applicants thus far, which seems sufficient to promote a moderate level of enthusiasm for the game’s potential success in the market despite the recent success of Funcom’s Age of Conan
competitive release," wrote Hickey. "A successful release of Warhammer Online
could provide a meaningful margin boost."
Post-release subscription numbers inline with the current beta applicant count would indeed make the game a quick success in the world of core MMOs.
Again turning to Amazon, Hickey noted Warhammer
is already seeing strong performance on the PC charts, despite being months away from release.