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Activision Blizzard (ATVI) Brings BR-Mode to COD: Black Ops 4

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Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Free Report) is leaving no stone unturned to make Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 a hit. The company is including a battle royale (BR) game mode called “Blackout” in the highly anticipated game that is set to release on Oct 12.

Activision is targeting the holiday season sales that will also see the release of Take Two Interactive’s (TTWO - Free Report) Red Dead Redemption 2 (Oct 26). Electronic Arts (EA - Free Report) is also expected to release Battlefield 5 around the same time.

The BR game mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is not only expected to boost Activision’s competitiveness against its traditional rivals but also Fortnite, a free game that has been played by more than 45 million people worldwide. In September 2017, Epic Games introduced a BR mode for Fortnite on computers and gaming consoles.

Call of Duty: Activision’s Cash Cow

Call of Duty is one of the biggest growth drivers for Activision. Notably, Call of Duty: World War II was the top-selling console video game in 2017 globally.

In the last reported quarter, Activision garnered 51 million monthly active users (MAUs) up 12% sequentially. This increase can primarily be attributed to Call of Duty: WWII, Destiny 2 and Crash Bandicot.

Revenues (including deferrals) of $1.38 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.32 billion. Excluding deferral revenues, Activision delivered sales of $1.97 billion, up 13.9% year over year.


Activision is primarily riding on Call of Duty and Overwatch, which fueled top-line growth in the quarter. King Digital’s Candy Crush continues to contribute significantly to the company’s revenues.

Shares of Activision have returned 13.2% on a year-to-date basis as compared with industry’s rally of 12.3%.

Expanding Franchises

Activision has eight $1 billion franchises including Call of Duty. Destiny 2 was the second-highest selling console game in North America in 2017.

Moreover, expanding franchise portfolio that includes offerings like StarCraft, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm will drive growth in the long haul.

Additionally, the company’s presence is also being strengthened in the lucrative e-sports market with Overwatch League driving viewership and engagement.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Currently, Activision carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Discovery (DISCA - Free Report) is a stock worth considering in the broader consumer discretionary sector. The stock sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Discovery is currently pegged at 14.69%.

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