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Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Tops $550M

Activision Blizzard, Inc. 's ATVI Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 has garnered $550 million, globally, in its opening weekend, which makes it the biggest entertainment debut across movies, books, and music albums launched so far in 2015. The phenomenal success was driven by a 100% rise in digital downloads. Till now, Universal Studio's Jurassic World held the top spot with a collection of $524.1 million at the box office worldwide.

It has broken a few other records as well. Activision stated that fans played more than 75 million hours in the first 72 hours, setting a new record for the franchise. It even set the record of being the most streamed and most viewed game of 2015 as per Twitch TV. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was the best selling game (by units sold) in its first day of availability in PlayStation 4's history.

Activision's CEO Eric Hirshberg stated that "The Call of Duty: Black Ops III launch is bigger than any game, any movie, or any entertainment launch this year. But more importantly, our fans are engaging more deeply with the franchise than ever before. In fact, so far, people are playing Black Ops III for more hours per player than any Call of Duty game on record. "Call of Duty is more than a game, it's a year round passion for a growing base of millions of fans and it's only gaining momentum."

With mostly positive reviews, analysts expect the edition to sell as many as 22 million copies in a year, making it the sixth title in the franchise to cross the billion mark. They also add that developer Treyarch's success in the smooth launch of the multiplayer Black Ops 3 is an added advantage as most of the multiplayer titles recently have struggled with execution. Moreover, rising digital sales and an expanding fan base are the other driving factors.

However, analysts point out that stiff competition from overcrowded release schedule in the holiday period is a major concern. With Fallout 4 already released and Star Wars Battlefront release on Nov 17, it remains to be seen how Black Ops 3 performs. Star Wars Battlefront is also a multiplayer game and given the hype surrounding Star Wars with the mega release of The Force Awakens in December; the game is expected to generate a robust response.

The last few days have seen a flurry of activities at Activision. The company's biggest announcement was the acquisition of Candy Crush maker King Digital Entertainment plc KING for $5.9 billion. Simultaneously, it announced better-than-expected third quarter 2015 results.

Moreover, with the acquisition of King Digital, Activision Blizzard, which has a strong male gamer dominated base, will now have a sizeable female user base. King Digital's iconic games Candy Crush and Candy Crush Soda saga are hugely popular with women. With over 500 million users in 196 countries, Activision Blizzard is now ahead of Twitter, Inc. TWTR as well as Instagram.

Following the acquisition news, the company last week announced it was launching a film and television unit, Activision Blizzard Studios. As per Activision, "Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company; it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with and passion for our franchises."

In October, the company launched an e-sports unit to gain a stronghold in the lucrative e-sports business. These developments form a part of Activision's broader strategy of metamorphosing itself into an entertainment giant on the lines of The Walt Disney Company DIS .

Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock have increased 75.7% so far in the year.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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