Activision Blizzard blows out Q3 2020 expectations with 'Call of Duty' leading the way

Daniel Howley
·Technology Editor
·2-min read
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: A view of the Activision Blizzard booth during the 2013 E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: A view of the Activision Blizzard booth during the 2013 E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/WireImage)

Activision Blizzard (ATVI), publisher of such high-profile games as the “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” franchises reported its Q3 2020 earnings Thursday, smashing analysts’ expectations on the continued strength of its games portfolio amid the coronavirus pandemic.

These are the top numbers from the company’s report compared to what analysts were expecting in the quarter, as compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue: $1.77 billion versus $1.67 billion expected

Earnings per share: $0.78 versus $0.64 expected.

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Revenue from the firm’s Activision business surpassed both its Blizzard and King arms bringing in $773 million thanks to the continued performance of its “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and “Call of Duty: Warzone” titles. The company said “Modern Warfare” had its highest first-year premium sales in franchise history, and that two-thirds of units were shipped globally.

Across both PC and consoles, hours played were up seven times the same quarter a year ago, a massive increase that shows how much “Warzone” and “Modern Warfare” have taken off. Earlier this month, Piper Sandler released the results of its “Taking Stock with Teens” survey, which showed that “Warzone” had overtaken “Fortnite” as the most popular free-to-play game among 9,800 teen respondents.

'Call of Duty: Warzone' is now more popular among teens than 'Fortnite,' according to a new survey by Piper Sandler. (Image: Activision Blizzard)
'Call of Duty: Warzone' is now more popular among teens than 'Fortnite,' according to a new survey by Piper Sandler. (Image: Activision Blizzard)

Blizzard, meanwhile, saw revenue of $411 million with “Hearthstone” monthly active users growing year-over-year and “World of Warcraft’ MAUs holding steady ahead of the launch of the franchise’s “Shadowlands” expansion. “Overwatch,” for its part, had 10 million MAU.

The King mobile business brought in $536 million with “Candy Crush” continuing to dominate for the company.

Game sales have been strong across the board throughout the pandemic, with Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) reporting double-digit percentage growth in their gaming segments in the last quarter. Both companies are set to launch their next generation consoles next month, which should also bring a boost to game publishers and developers.

And with the holiday shopping season around the corner, the industry could be in for some major gains.

Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com over via encrypted mail at danielphowley@protonmail.com, and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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