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Video game titans earnings climb as people play at home

Video game titans earnings climb as people play at home

A person plays game at home. (File photo: AFP/Anthony WALLACE)

SAN FRANCISCO: US video game titans Activision and Electronic Arts on Tuesday (May 5) reported strong earnings as people staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic turn to games such as Call of Duty.

Activision said an average of 102 million people played its games online per month in the first quarter of this year, with Call of Duty: Warzone racking up more than 60 million players since its launch in March.

"Our goal to connect the world through epic entertainment is more important to our players than ever before," Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick said in an earnings release.

"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."

Play of Overwatch and World of Warcraft continued to climb, and the popular color-matching smartphone game Candy Crush held firm as the top-grossing franchise in US mobile app stores, according to Activision.

Activision reported profit of US$505 million on revenue of US$1.8 billion in the quarter.

Electronic Arts reported that its net income doubled to US$418 million on revenue that grew to US$1.4 billion in the first three months of this year.

The latest installment in the popular FIFA soccer video game franchise boasted more than 25 million players, and the Madden NFL 20 title - devoted to US pro football - saw the highest online engagement numbers in franchise history.

A freshly released Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order title boasted more than 10 million users.

"We're humbled to see people around the world connecting through our games during this unprecedented period," EA chief executive Andrew Wilson said in an earnings release.

"Our focus continues to be on everything we can do for our people, our players, and our communities."

EA said that it continues to see rising engagement with its online services as people remain hunkered down at home due to the pandemic.

The California-based company warned, however, that the full effect of the crisis on its business remained tough to predict.

People without jobs might have time for play, but might be more interested in finding work or saving money. Working remotely could take a toll on game company productivity.

Activision Blizzard shares climbed some 4 per cent in after-market trades, while EA shares slid by about 4 per cent.

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Source: AFP/de

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