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Tickers in this Article: SNE, MSFT, ATVI, EA
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) has announced that gamers who pre-order the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts will get a downloadable bonus map named Free Fall. It is slated to be released on Nov 5.

The game will be released simultaneously on Microsoft’s (MSFT) and Sony’s (SNE) currently available consoles such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as the upcoming upgrades, such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The Call of Duty franchise has been a significant contributor to Activision’s revenues over the last couple of years. All the previous games from this franchise have delivered better-than-expected sales and have been rated highly by critics and fans. Thus, it is imperative that the upcoming game is expected to add another feather to the cap for Activision.

Activision’s previous game from this franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, had robust opening sales and crossed the $1 billion sales mark in just 15 days. According to Chart-Track and retail customer sell-through information, it has beaten its predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’s record by a day. Also, it topped the NPD’s top 2012-games list.

Moreover, Activision has a solid pipeline of downloadable content packs (DLC) for the Call of Duty. The DLCs and expansion packs rejuvenate aging gaming franchises, such as Call of Duty, by offering new content.

Moreover, the new content improves the competitive prowess of a game, such as Call of Duty, which faces significant competition from Electronic Arts’ (EA) Battlefield franchise.

While Activision Blizzard will benefit from its attractive products, the continued softness in the video game industry coupled with the sluggish macroeconomic conditions and Activision’s limited presence in the mobile and social gaming segment remain headwinds, going forward. Moreover, continued investments in new products are expected to hurt margins in the near term.

Currently, Activision has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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