Jefferies sees Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty becoming a major esports business
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Jefferies sees Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty becoming a major esports business

Industry-leading game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard has been one of the major wave-makers in the nascent esports business with its Overwatch League. This business has swiftly grown to become enormous: according to Timothy O’Shea, a Jefferies analyst, the company’s sale of 20 team franchises will generate a “cumulative $400 million to $500 million in sales over the next six to seven years.” He also said that the league could deliver $300 million in revenue for Activision Blizzard next year from broadcast rights, sponsorship, ticket sales, and merchandise. Call of Duty, another title that Activision plans to push into the eSports arena, could be a similar success.

Activision Blizzard’s share price has risen by 26% so far this year

graph 1909 activision

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

O’Shea believes that Call of Duty, one of the company’s flagship franchises, could become an esports phenomenon in the same vein as Overwatch. The upcoming release, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, is slated to be released on October 12. And one fact about it has O’Shea – and plenty of gamers – seriously excited: the ‘Blackout’ battle royale mode.

Battle royale refers to a free-for-all shoot-em-up game, where multiple competitors battle it out across an open space (such as an arena, or virtually rendered landscape) until only one player is left standing. It’s not a new concept in video games – but it’s achieved widespread engagement over the last 12 months thanks, in part, to Epic Games surprise hit of the summer, Fortnite.

Referring to the addition of this mode of play to Activision’s flagship franchise, and its potential to transition into esports, O’Shea said: “Early results look encouraging. Blackout mode looks like it could drive user engagement and Twitch viewership. If so, this would be a key foundation upon which ATVI could build a true eSports business akin to what it has already done with Overwatch League. The Call of Duty franchise could follow a similar blueprint."

Disclosure

Dominion holds Activision Blizzard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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