Activision Blizzard Lowers Expectations for Holiday Season Gaming Revenue

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

The company brought in $1.21 billion in revenue during the third quarter.

Activision Blizzard brought in $1.21 billion in revenue during the third quarter, but forecast lower-than-expected revenue for the important holiday season. 

The publisher of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare said that the fourth quarter started "with successful launches for Call of Duty Mobile and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," but still forecast revenue of $2.65 billion for the period, short of what analysts had been anticipating.

"Recent launches have enabled significant growth in the size of our audiences for our Call of Duty and World of Warcraft franchises," CEO Bobby Kotick said Thursday in a statement. "As we introduce mobile and free-to-play games based on our franchises, we believe we can increase audience size, engagement and monetization across our wholly owned franchises. With a strong content pipeline and momentum in mobile, esports and advertising, we are confident we will remain a leader in connecting and engaging the world through epic entertainment."

The company ended the quarter with 36 million monthly active users in its Activision division, which includes Call of Duty Mobile. Blizzard, meanwhile, had 33 million MAUs, and King had 247 million MAUs for its mobile-first games like Candy Crush.

Activision Blizzard has seen recent success for its Call of Duty brands, both on consoles and mobile. In October, Modern Warfare opened to $600 million over its first three days of launch, while Call of Duty Mobile racked up more than 100 million installs in its first week, the most of any mobile game. 

Activision Blizzard's earnings come amid pushback from advocacy groups over the decision by its Blizzard division to suspend professional Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during an official live stream last month. The company later reserved course on the band and reinstated Chung's prize earnings. 

Activision Blizzard's stock closed the day down more than 3 percent to $54.55. Shares were down less than 2 percent after-hours on the Nasdaq.