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Activision earnings a winner as Call of Duty rockets

·1-min read
Candy Crush projected onto a New York building in 2018. Activision shares were up more than 8 percent in after-market trades

Video game titan Activision Blizzard said Thursday its quarterly earnings soared beyond expectations as players flocked to Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.

Activision Blizzard reported revenue of $2.41 billion in the final three quarters of last year and net income of 65 cents per share, higher than analyst forecasts.

The US-based company had revenue of $1.99 billion in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic had people hunkered down at home turning more than ever to video games and streaming television for entertainment.

"In a year filled with adversity our extraordinary employees were determined to provide connection and joy to our 400 million players around the world," chief executive Bobby Kotick said in an earnings release.

"They accomplished this as well as generating record financial results for our shareholders."

Activision shares were up more than 8 percent in after-market trades.

The Call of Duty franchise racked up a record year in 2020, with 128 million people playing the video game monthly in the fourth quarter, according to the company.

A version of the combat-action game tailored for smartphones and tablets had its best quarter ever, quickly becoming a top download after its launch in China in December, Activision Blizzard reported.

Strong player engagement was also seen at World of Warcraft and its King mobile game focused unit, according to the company.

Some 240 million people monthly played King mobile games, with its most popular title being color-matching challenge Candy Crush, Activision Blizzard reported.

The company boasted that Candy Crush was the top money making franchise in US app stores.

Video games have been seeing exceptional growth during the pandemic which has shut down real-world activity and kept billions indoors.

gc/wat