Some 60mln gamers have taken to Call of Duty Warzone since its launch immediately prior to lockdown.

Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ:ATVI) was the latest major video game studio to confirm a surge in business amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Shares in the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft owner gained 2.74% late on Tuesday, then advanced further rising 5.36% in premarket to price at US$72.20 in New York.

The group generated some US$1.78bn of revenue during the period, and, bookings increased to US$1.52bn versus US$US$1.26bn for the 2019 comparative, with online purchasing and play key drivers.

Some US$1.36bn of the quarter’s bookings came from digital channels, up from US$1.07bn a year ago, and, of that ‘in-game’ net bookings totalled US$956mln.

Net income for the quarter amounted to US$505mln versus US$447mln a year ago, while on a per share basis earnings were marked at 65 cents beating a year-on-year comparative of 58 cents and analyst expectations for 38 cents.

Some 60mln gamers signed into Call of Duty’s Warzone ‘battle-royale’ spin-off. This free-to-play game mode, which very-much like Fortnite makes money via in-game microtransactions, was launched on 10 March immediately prior to COVID-19 lockdown in most territories.

At the same time, the core Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game achieved “franchise records” for sales.

In the month of March, Activision Blizzard saw some 407mln active users across its portfolio of titles which also includes the World of Warcraft and Overwatch online fantasy franchises, and colourful mobile puzzle hit Candy Crush.

“Our goal to connect the world through epic entertainment is more important to our players than ever before,” said Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard chief executive.

“In the face of so many difficulties, our employees have made certain that the joy, the engagement, and the benefits of gaming remain an effective way to help keep our 400 million players around the world connected and safe.”

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World news – GB – Activision Blizzard shares surge amid lockdown gaming boom

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