Activision Blizzard ATVI recently made the multiplayer beta version of its highly-anticipated upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game available exclusively for PlayStation 4 users.
Notably, Infinity Ward studio, which is developing the game, will record user feedback and information related to the gameplay throughout the weekend.
Moreover, Activision will expand the beta testing next weekend to include all platforms. Notably, for the first time in the franchise’s history, the upcoming beta version will feature cross play among fans across the console and PC.
The beta version will feature a suite of new multiplayer modes. This includes “close-quarter frenetic 2v2 Gunfight,” and “the epic large-scale Ground War mode supporting up to 64 players, night gameplay maps, and the fully immersive Realism mode.”
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is scheduled to be launched on Oct 25 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Call of Duty: A Major Growth Driver
The Call of Duty franchise is one of the biggest growth drivers for Activision. Notably, the game has been the top-selling console franchise for the company in nine of the last ten years.
Notably, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was an instant hit and sold more units than Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Additionally, full-game downloads of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 were 40% more than the console platform.
Activision Blizzard, Inc Price and Consensus
Activision Blizzard, Inc price-consensus-chart | Activision Blizzard, Inc Quote
To further monetize the franchise, Activision is frequently updating content and expanding the franchise’s presence across platforms and geographies.
Moreover, Activision is stepping up investments in other popular franchises. The company expects to deploy more resources in its franchises, including Overwatch, King’s Candy Crush, Warcraft, Diablo and Hearthstone.
Further, Activision’s partnership with Tencent TCEHY to bring Call of Duty to the mobile platform is a key catalyst.
Call of Duty Esports League Promises More Thrill
Activision is also set to launch an esports league based on Call of Duty. The company has expanded the number of teams competing in its upcoming city-based Call of Duty league to seven.
Per engadget, the two new teams will represent Los Angeles and Minnesota. Currently, other teams in the league represent Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto.
Immortals Gaming Club, which owns Los Angeles Valiant in the Overwatch League, will operate the Los Angeles team in the upcoming Call of Duty League. The Minnesota team will be operated by Wise Ventures, founded by Minnesota Vikings owners, Mark and Zygi Wilf.
However, Activision doesn’t expect the upcoming Call of Duty League to contribute significantly to revenues in 2019.
Activision Gaining Competitive Edge
Activision’s esports leagues are based on well-established franchises like Overwatch and Call of Duty. Hence, the company had to spend less time and effort in making them popular among hardcore gamers and enthusiasts.
Moreover, the success of the company’s esports initiative has provided it a competitive edge over its closest peers — Electronic Arts EA and Take Two Interactive TTWO.
EA currently has limited presence in the esports space, while Take Two has been cautious in its approach despite its deal with NBA. Notably, Take Two has been conducting an NBA esports tournament for the last two years.
Currently, Activision has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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