Activision Scores Some Downside Protection

‘Call of Duty’ makes a strong comeback and improves game maker’s prospects if Microsoft deal falls through

A billboard for the Activision videogame ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.’Photo: Richard B. Levine/Levine-Roberts/Sipa USA/Reuters

Fantasy videogames can still inflict real-world wounds, but a 19-year-old franchise is also proving very hard to kill. 

Activision Blizzard’s latest “Call of Duty” iteration is selling strong, which marks a notable comeback after last year’s flop. The game publisher said Monday that “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II” surpassed $1 billion in global sell-through in 10 days from its Oct. 28 release, which is faster than any previous version of the game has crossed that threshold. Later in the day, the company reported stronger-than-expected net bookings for the third quarter and projected growth of at least 20% year over year for the fourth quarter. It also confirmed that it will make a new “Call of Duty” sequel in 2023, countering previous reports that it was planning to skip a year in what has historically been a steady annual release cadence. 

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