Activision raises sales forecast on lockdown demand, new COD release hopes

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc raised its annual adjusted sales forecast on Thursday, betting on strong sales for its upcoming videogame in the blockbuster “Call of Duty” franchise as demand from stay-at-home gamers continues to rise.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” is set to release on Nov. 13, following the launch of Sony Corp’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The launch of new consoles has traditionally boosted videogame sales.

Demand from stay-at-home players continues to boost videogame sales, as a surge in COVID-19 cases in several parts of the country has forced people to remain indoors.

Data from research firm NPD showed nearly $34 billion in videogame sales between January and September this year, up 21% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Activision raised its full-year adjusted revenue forecast to $8.10 billion from $7.63 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $7.94 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company also topped third-quarter adjusted sales estimates on strong sales of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and forecast holiday-quarter adjusted revenue of $2.73 billion, above Wall Street estimates of $2.63 billion.

"Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" has been the top-selling game so far this year across platforms, according to NPD. Average viewers for the game on videogame live-streaming platform Twitch jumped 119% in the third quarter, compared to the second quarter, according to

The company said its mobile version “Call of Duty: Mobile” is now in its final large-scale testing in China, with over 50 million players already pre-registered for the test. (Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)