Social Media Gaming Takes a Hit Over the Holidays

Social game-makers were unable to capitalize on holiday downtime last week as the number of people playing games on Facebook sank. While almost every game developer was affected, some titles fared better than others. Electronic Arts’ (NASDAQ:EA) “The Sims Social” lost 1.2 million users; Zynga’s (NASDAQ:ZNGA) “Empire & Allies” down 1.2 monthly users, and “CastleVille” down 900,000, were hit hard while classics like Zynga’s “Words with Friends” and “FarmVille” up 1.3 million and 800,000 respectively did well as their faithful audiences returned.

Social media gaming was the exception to the rule in the game industry as PC, console and mobile gaming all peak in the holiday season. Console gaming systems and games are popular gifts, so a new game plus more downtime is the perfect combination. Mobile gaming success is similar as Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android saw record-setting activations. Flurry reports that more than 1 billion apps were downloaded in the last seven days of the year and games were one of the most popular categories.

So why did social media gaming take a hit when all others were hitting highs? AllThingsD points to a report by advertising company Saatchi and Saatchi that revealed that 48% of those polled played social media games at work and 28% played for at least 30 minutes. Less time at the office translates to less time playing games on Facebook.

Social media gaming also misses out on the gift factor other forms of gaming enjoy. AllthingsD reports that while most game developers won’t notice the downturn, Facebook might.  “The bigger impact may be felt at Facebook, which takes a 30% cut of all virtual goods sold inside social games, and would feel the cumulative impact across all of the games.”

In the wake of the gaming behavior trend, here’s how these gaming stocks are reacting to the news:

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS): ERTS shares recently traded at $N/A,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $ to $. Volume today was shares versus a 3-month average volume of shares. The company’s trailing P/E is , while trailing earnings are $ per share.

Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA): ZNGA shares recently traded at $9.45,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $8.75 to $11.50. Volume today was 0 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 15,619,900 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 127.70, while trailing earnings are $0.07 per share.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): AAPL shares recently traded at $411.23,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $199.25 to $364.90. Volume today was 88,534 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 17,237,200 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 14.86, while trailing earnings are $27.68 per share.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG): GOOG shares recently traded at $665.41,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $473.02 to $668.15. Volume today was 3,728 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,043,900 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 22.68, while trailing earnings are $29.34 per share.

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI): ATVI shares recently traded at $12.20,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $10.40 to $14.40. Volume today was 1,300 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 10,739,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 19.46, while trailing earnings are $0.63 per share.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT): MSFT shares recently traded at $26.76,. They have traded in a 52-week range of $23.65 to $29.46. Volume today was 13,555 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 51,931,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 9.73, while trailing earnings are $2.75 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ashley Cloninger at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com