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Activision Blizzard's annual sales forecast tops estimates on 'Call of Duty' boost

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc on Thursday forecast full-year adjusted revenue above analysts’ estimates, driven by strong demand for the latest installment of its blockbuster “Call of Duty” franchise from gamers staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company expects full-year adjusted sales to be $8.45 billion, above Wall Street’s average estimate of $8.31 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Videogame makers across the world continue to benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced people to remain indoors, leading to a surge in demand from stay-at-home gamers.

In the United States alone, videogame sales jumped 25% year-over-year to $7.7 billion in December and Activision’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” was the bestseller across all platforms in 2020, according to data from research firm NPD.

Activision said 2020 marked a record year for its “Call of Duty” franchise, which drew more than 100 million monthly active players across all gaming platforms.

The company’s adjusted revenue for the holiday-quarter, ended Dec. 31, was $3.05 billion, above estimates of $2.83 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Fourth-quarter net income fell to $508 million, or 65 cents per share, from $525 million, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier. (Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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