Activision Blizzard beat analysts expectations in its third quarter earnings, showing the continued strength of its game portfolio and the impact of staying home that the pandemic has had on the video game industry.
The California-based publisher of games like “Call of Duty” beat analyst expectations by reporting third quarter revenues of $1.77 billion as compared to $1.67 billion expected. The company also beat its earnings per share expectations by reporting $0.78 as compared to $0.64 expected.
As more people stayed indoors during the summer months, gaming saw a boom as money and time typically spent on travel and outdoor activities shifted to at-home entertainment.
The company launched “Call of Duty: Warzone” on March 10, 2020, which helped it drive more players to the franchise. The game which is a free-to-play, Fortnite-esque battle royale game has been popular amongst gamers, amassing more than 75 million players since its launch. The franchise’s next major title, “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” is set to launch on Nov. 13.
The company said that “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” had its highest first-year premium sales in franchise history and two-thirds of units were shipped globally.
“Our teams continue to execute our growth plans with excellence during incredibly challenging circumstances,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “We are on a path to deliver sustained long term growth across our fully-owned franchises. With confidence in our ability to continue to execute, we are raising our outlook for the year and remain enthusiastic for our growth prospects next year.”
Activision’s business saw the most growth out of the company’s subsidiaries, bringing in $773 million in revenue due to the growth of its “Call of Duty” titles. The number of hours played have increased by seven times since last year on both PC and consoles indicating just how much the Modern Warfare and Warzone titles have taken off.
Blizzard saw a revenue of $411 million with “Hearthstone” monthly active users growing since last year and “World of Warcraft” monthly users holding steady before the launch of the new expansion for the game called “Shadowlands”.
The King Mobile business raked in $536 million in revenue with “Candy Crush” being the most popular title in the franchise. Its monthly active users have grown as well since last year.
The company’s shares have soared 47% in the last 12 months as the pandemic has encouraged more people to buy games and spend time gaming. The company is forecasting further growth in its titles, especially the “Call of Duty” line, as new Sony and Xbox consoles will be released in the coming weeks of November.