What: Shares of gaming giant Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) rose by 11% last month, according to S&P Capital IQ data. The video game company delivered better-than-expected second-quarter results and was added to the S&P 500 Index, both of which helped Activision Blizzard's stock price hit a new all-time high of $30 per share by month's end.
So what: Activision crushed Wall Street's Q2 estimates as revenue leapt 15.3% to $759 million and earnings per share rocketed 116.7% higher to $0.13. Analysts were expecting only $667 million in sales and $0.08 in EPS.
Helping to drive those impressive results was a 35% year-over-year increase in monthly active users and a 25% rise in the time those users spent playing Activision's games. Activision also continues to make progress with its transition to digital delivery of its games, with adjusted revenue from digital channels jumping 27% to $611 million.
Now what: Activision Blizzard is benefiting from a growing gamer community as well as a significant rise in the total amount of time people are spending with its game franchises. Next-generation consoles such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are helping to create demand for Activision's games, and the transition to digital delivery is boosting profitability, with Q2 operating margin rising to 22.8% from 17.2% in the year-ago quarter.
These positive trends are likely to continue in the months ahead, as Activision has a promising slate of titles scheduled for release later this year, including new versions of the popular Skylanders, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero franchises. Activision's management certainly seems to think so: The company recently raised its 2015 full-year outlook and now anticipates $4.6 billion in adjusted revenue and $1.30 a share in adjusted earnings, up from its previous guidance for $4.425 billion and $1.20 a share, respectively.
Activision Blizzard's recent inclusion in the S&P 500 index has also created some increased demand for its stock, mostly from fund managers who are required to align their portfolios with that of the index. However, it's the operational performance of Activision's business that will ultimately determine the long-term value of its stock, and based on those fundamental factors, it looks like there will be more fun times ahead for this gaming titan -- and its shareholders.