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Activision (ATVI) Launches New Expansion Pack for Hearthstone

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Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Free Report) recently announced that the latest Forged in the Barrens expansion pack for its popular digital card game Hearthstone is now live to kick-start the new Year of the Gryphon era.

Forged in the Barrens introduces 135 all-new cards inspired by one of World of Warcraft’s most iconic and beloved locales besides new keywords like Frenzy, which grants minions a powerful effect the first time they survive damage and Ranked Spells, which increase in power at five mana crystals.

In addition to new keywords and game mechanics, Forged in the Barrens will introduce 10 Legendary Mercenary minions, each representing a different Hearthstone class, whose stories will play out across the Year of the Gryphon.

Coinciding with the start of the Year of the Gryphon is the launch of the new Hearthstone Core Set, which replaces the existing Basic and Classic sets with a curated selection of 235 cards (including new and previously released cards)

Launching alongside the Core set is the new Classic format, which will allow players to craft decks and compete using Hearthstone’s original sets of cards, as they were in 2014.

Players can purchase the Forged in the Barrens Mega Bundle for $79.99, which comes with 85 card packs from the expansion.

Portfolio Strength to Aid Top-Line Growth

Activision’s popular franchises, including Call of Duty (COD), Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Friends Saga are expected to attract gamers in the near term.

Activision’s top line is expected to benefit from an expanding user base of COD, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and King’s franchises. This is expected to boost in-games spending, thereby driving net bookings and the top line of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The company is set to release Hearthstone Mercenaries, an all-new single-player and competitive game mode in which players collect mighty characters from across the Warcraft universe and level them up in tactical battles.

In December 2020, Activision revealed that the COD franchise’s net bookings surpassed $3 billion over the past year. Call of Duty: Mobile, developed in collaboration with Tencent (TCEHY - Free Report) , has played an important part in driving user base.

Markedly, Call of Duty: Mobile has become the fourth highest revenue generating game in China, trailing Tencent’s Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile as well as Fantasy Westward Journey from NetEase (NTES - Free Report) .

Moreover, continued strength in video game spending bodes well for Activision. Per Venturebeat, which cited NPD data, U.S. video game sales in February rose 35% year over year to $4.6 billion. Moreover, Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare have emerged as the top two best-selling games over the past 12 months period.

Activision is stepping up investments in other popular franchises as well. The company expects to deploy more resources in its franchises including Overwatch, King’s Candy Crush, Diablo and Hearthstone. This is expected to help Activision improve competitive prowess against the likes of Take Two Interactive Software, Nintendo and Electronic Arts (EA - Free Report) .

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