Activision Profit Tops Estimates as Overwatch Makes Debut

  • 15 million people are playing new first-person shooter title
  • Zynga, Take-Two Interactive also report quarterly results

Activision Blizzard Inc., the big U.S. video-game publisher, posted second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on the strength of titles such as Call of Duty and the new Overwatch.

Excluding some items, earnings rose to 54 cents a share, ahead of projections of 43 cents, according to a statement Thursday. Sales climbed 50 percent to $1.57 billion, also exceeding estimates. Activision shares climbed 4.1 percent to $42.50 at 9:03 a.m. before the official market open in New York Friday.

Some 15 million people are playing Overwatch, a first-person shooter title released in May. The number includes purchasers of the game as well as customers playing in internet game rooms in markets such as Korea. The franchise has already generated about $500 million revenue, the company said.

Monthly active users at King Digital, which Activision acquired earlier this year for $5.9 billion, declined to 409 million from 463 million the prior quarter due to fewer players in the summer months, the company said. Gross sales of King’s flagship game Candy Crush rose from a year earlier. The company has begun testing advertising in its mobile games and hopes to have ads, a potentially significant new revenue source, in Candy Crush by the end of the year.

Other video game companies also released earnings Thursday.

Zynga Inc., which reported sales and earnings in line with analysts’ estimates, forecast third-quarter revenue of $170 million to $180 million, below expectations of $202 million. Zynga’s average daily users in the second quarter fell 15 percent to 18 million. The shares slid 9.1 percent to $2.70 in extended trading.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. reported first-quarter revenue rose 13 percent to $311.6 million. The company said the loss for the quarter narrowed to 21 cents, excluding items. The company benefited from sales of Grand Theft Auto V and NBA 2K.

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