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Activision Blizzard earnings beat, company raises guidance

Activision Blizzard reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations Thursday and raised its full-year guidance.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • EPS: 60 cents vs. 49 cents expected according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates
  • Revenue: $1.90 billion vs. $1.74 billion expected according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates

Stock initially fell as much as 4 percent but has since recovered to trade 2 percent higher in the after-hours session.

Analysts had projected a mixed third quarter for Activision Blizzard, as the gamemaker behind "Candy Crush" and "Call of Duty" seeks to stake its claim in the burgeoning esports industry.

Activision Blizzard reported a dip in monthly active users for the quarter at 384 million — down 6 percent from the previous quarter and down 20 percent year over year.

Activision Blizzard's King game segment — which released "Candy Crush Saga" five years ago — saw 100 million fewer monthly active users year over year.

Here's how each segment did compared to revenue estimates for the third quarter:

  • Activision: $759 million vs. $690 million expected according to StreetAccount
  • Blizzard: $531 million vs. $508 million expected according to StreetAccount
  • King: $528 million vs. $483 million expected according to StreetAccount

The company raised its full-year guidance and now expects adjusted earnings per share of $2.08 on $6.68 billion in revenue. Activision Blizzard had previously projected adjusted full-year earnings of $1.94 on $6.40 billion in revenue.

Activision Blizzard's Overwatch esports league, which turns the popular sports title professional, is expected to launch in December. But some analysts are concerned the league may not be an immediate success.

"We're building the League for the long term, and in our view, the opportunity rivals what you see in professional sports from a lot of perspectives but starting with the demographics of the audience," CEO Robert Kotick said on an earnings conference call. "The first season is really about building a solid foundation."

To be sure, Activision Blizzard is still one of the biggest names in the gaming industry and is well-positioned to take on rivals Electronic Arts and Take Two in the esports market.

The company, in line with the rest of the industry, is pushing digital game sales as physical sales continue to fall. Earlier this month, reports said physical sales of the company's second "Destiny" title were approximately 50 percent below those of the original.

The company's stock has rocketed 80 percent year to date, ahead of the report.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.


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