Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) Call of Duty: Black Ops II added another feather in its cap by crossing the coveted $1 billion sales mark in just 15 days of its release. Call of Duty: Black Ops II beat Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s record by a day, according to Chart-Track and retail customer sell-through information.
According to company sources, life-to-date revenue generated from the Call of Duty (“COD”) franchise has outperformed gross receipts from the ‘Harry Potter' and 'Star Wars’ franchises, making it the most valued entertainment property. Moreover, the game has clocked in excess of 150 million hours of game play on Microsoft’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Xbox LIVE and Sony’s (SNE - Analyst Report) PlayStation Network.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s robust performance will be instrumental in helping Activision achieve its fourth quarter and final year sales estimates. Activision expects sales in the quarter to be $2.41 billion and fiscal year sales to be $4.81 billion. Other than Call of Duty: Black Ops II, strong performance of Diablo III and Skylanders is expected to benefit Activision.
Moreover, the release of several other Activision games such as 007 Legends, Skylanders Giants, Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013, Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions and Transformers Prime will be incrementally beneficial for the company’s holiday season.
As for the overall video game industry, Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Electronic Arts’ (EA) Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Microsoft’s Halo 4 and Ubisoft’s Assassin's Creed III are expected to lend support to the dwindling sales of the video game industry.
Activision Blizzard is expected to benefit from its strong product pipeline. However, continued softness in the video game industry, sluggish macroeconomic conditions and Activision’s limited presence in the mobile and social gaming segment remain headwinds going forward.
Currently, Activision has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).