US video game giant Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft is in the process of buying, on Monday reported lower sales for the fourth straight quarter, but said the success of its latest Call of Duty installment broke records.
The group saw its revenue decline in the third quarter by 14 percent to $1.78 billion(roughly Rs. 14,500 crore), with console and PC games seeing big drops.
The bright spot was mobile games with apps like Candy Crush and this year’s Diablo Immortal performing well.
Too late to be included in the latest results, the company said Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II hit $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,100 crore) in sales in just 10 days, the fastest release in franchise history.
This was making up for the lukewarm success of the 2021 installment, Call of Duty: Vanguard.
The success of Call of Duty, which has been an industry blockbuster since 2003, is a central concern of competition authorities in the EU and Britain, who fear Microsoft will make the franchise an exclusive offer on its Xbox console.
Microsoft has dismissed the suggestion, saying it would make no business sense to deny Sony’s PlayStation.
US technology giant Microsoft in January announced its $69 billion (nearly Rs. 5,71,400 crore) bid to create the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue, behind China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony.
Last month, Reuters reported that Microsoft had not offered any remedies to EU antitrust regulators reviewing its proposed $69 billion bid for Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard ahead of an expected full-scale EU probe, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The US software company is betting on the acquisition to help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony, with the latter being a critic of the deal.
At the time, the European Commission, which is scheduled to finish its preliminary assessment of the deal by Tuesday, had stated that its website was up to date. The site showed that Microsoft had not provided concessions to the regulators ahead of the expected full-scale EU probe.