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Activision Blizzard annual sales forecast disappoints

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Aug 3 (Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc's full-year forecast for adjusted sales came below analysts' estimates on Tuesday, as the easing of curbs weaken the pandemic-driven frenzy for its popular franchises "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush". 

  As the COVID-19 pandemic made social distancing a norm last year, preventing casual gatherings with friends and family, video game publishers saw a jump in consumer spending. 

  However, with the easing of restrictions, gamers are cutting their console time for outdoor activities, causing a dip in video games sales. Last week, Microsoft also said its fourth-quarter revenue for Xbox content and services fell. 

  Activision Blizzard, the maker of popular video games including "World of Warcraft", is in the middle of a lawsuit by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing over equal pay violations, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment. 

  "We remain intensely focused on the well-being of our employees and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that our company has a welcoming, supportive and safe environment where all of our team members can thrive," Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said on Tuesday. 

  The company raised its full-year adjusted revenue forecast to $8.65 billion from $8.60 billion, while analysts were expecting $8.77 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)