What’s on Gaming News: Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)’s Lobbying Firm & Zynga Inc (ZNGA), Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)’s Endorsement Deal

Editor’s Note: Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA)

Not only did returning to Major League Soccer make Clint Dempsey one of the highest paid players in the league, but his stature with the U.S. Men’s National Team has earned him a big-money endorsement deal with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA). EA announced on Monday that they had signed Dempsey to a multi-year endorsement contract, making the Seattle Sounders forward an EA Sports Football Ambassador. Dempsey, who earned his 100th cap in the USMNT’s defeat in Costa Rica last Friday, is making his EA commercial debut in a new GameStop ad for FIFA 14 that begins airing on Monday.

Mark Pincus

Ex-Zynga Executive Gains Nexon Investment in Game Company (Bloomberg)
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s former chief operating officer received an investment for his video-game startup from free-to-play pioneer Nexon Co., going into competition with his ex-employer. Nexon, based in Tokyo, gains exclusive global publishing rights to new PC and mobile titles being developed by Miami-based Shiver Entertainment Inc., according to a statement today. Terms of the cash investment weren’t disclosed. Shiver was formed by John Schappert, a video-game industry pioneer who resigned from Zynga, the maker of “Farmville,” in August 2012 after being stripped of some responsibilities overseeing game development.

Activision Blizzard hires lobbying firm as violent game bill brews (GameSpot)
Megapublisher Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI), behind billion-dollar franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, has hired a lobbying firm to represent its interests on a Senate bill that seeks to order research into the links between violent video games and violent behavior. As reported by the Washington Post, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) has brought on Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to advocate for the company’s interests, according to recently filed lobbying records.

EA appoints Matthew Bromberg head of BioWare label (Polygon)
Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) has appointed general manager of BioWare Austin, Matthew Bromberg, as group general manager of its BioWare label, Venture Beat reports. BioWare was founded in February 1995 by doctors Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk and Augustine Yip. Covering major EA franchises, including Mass Effect and Dragon Age, the BioWare label also includes licensed free-to-play role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic. Co-founders Muzyka and Zeschuk announced their retirement from the studio and the games industry in September of last year, leaving leadership of the BioWare label open until Bromberg’s recent appointment.

Zynga Sees Unusually High Options Volume (ZNGA) (Zolmax)
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) was the target of unusually large options trading on Monday. Investors purchased 16,382 call options on the stock, Analyst Ratings Network reports. This is an increase of 123% compared to the typical volume of 7,336 call options. Several analysts have recently commented on the stock. Analysts at Barclays Capital initiated coverage on shares of Zynga in a research note to investors on Friday. They set an “equal weight” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Benchmark Co. initiated coverage on shares of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) in a research note to investors on Thursday, August 22nd. They set a “hold” rating and a $2.98 price target on the stock.

Official Call of Duty®: Ghosts Single Player Campaign Trailer (Youtube, Activision Blizzard)