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How Will Activision Blizzard Stock Fare After a Coronavirus Vaccine?

By John Ballard – Updated Aug 10, 2020 at 10:56AM

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Management sees strong engagement levels for top franchises continuing in the short term.

Shares of Activision Blizzard (ATVI -1.04%) have rocketed 39% higher since January. Video game stocks have been good havens for investors during the coronavirus pandemic, with the spike in the time spent playing games. Activision owns some of the most popular titles, including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and World of Warcraft. Altogether, it has 428 million users across its games.

Here is how Activision Blizzard fared during the pandemic, and what to expect once everyone has a normal social life again. 

Video game controllers laying on a floor in front of a TV.

Image source: Getty Images.

Activision saw its player base grow 30% year over year in the second quarter, which added more than 100 million players to its ranks. That sent net bookings, an adjusted measure of revenue, up 72% over the year-ago quarter, while adjusted earnings jumped 53%.  

Activision Blizzard's Candy Crush mobile game saw a moderation in engagement toward the end of the quarter as businesses started to reopen. But shooters like Call of Duty, which tend to draw the most dedicated players, continue to maintain heightened levels of engagement. 

During the second-quarter conference call, CEO Bobby Kotick expressed optimism about the rest of the year: "In the near term, while the economic outlook remains very unclear, the ongoing commitment of our creative and commercial teams should enable us to remain on track to deliver great new content in the second half of the year. We now expect record full-year net bookings and earnings per share." 

What to expect

Activision won't continue to nearly double its net bookings every quarter looking beyond 2020, but it has a lot in the bag regardless. It's currently working on sequels and mobile versions of existing franchises, so this is a growth stock worth holding. 

John Ballard owns shares of Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Activision Blizzard and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $75 calls on Activision Blizzard and short January 2022 $75 puts on Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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