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Activision Q2 results beat; stock dips on weak guidance

Earnings of gaming giant Activision Blizzard (ATVI) increased sharply in the second quarter and surpassed analysts’ expectations, aided by record mobile revenues and net bookings.  Meanwhile, the stock dropped about 3% in the extended session Thursday after the company issued below-consensus guidance for the third quarter.

Alternatively, parent of studios that gave us games such as Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K18, rival Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), saw its stock rally over 7% aftermarket on upbeat earnings and bookings for Q1 2019.

Related: Take-Two gaming stock rallies on upbeat results, bookings

Activision Blizzard second quarter 2018 earnings
Activision Blizzard Q2 2018 Earnings Infographic

Adjusted earnings advanced 13% annually to $0.62 per share, far exceeding estimates. Reported profit was $402 million or $0.52 per share, higher than $243 million or $0.32 per share recorded in the same period last year.

Net revenues moved up 1% to $1.64 billion and came in above analysts’ forecast. Mobile and ancillary revenues rose 6% to $521 million. The company posted net bookings of $1.38 billion for the quarter, lower by 3% compared to last year.

California-based Activision had 352 million active monthly users at the end of the second quarter. Call of Duty: World War II had more users than the prior franchise release, and MAUs for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 grew sequentially to hit the highest level so far this year, ahead of the upcoming release of Black Ops 4.

Activision Blizzard’s monthly active users trend

“This past weekend we held the Overwatch League TM Grand Finals. We had a very successful first season as we enhanced our leadership position in esports. And, today we announced two additional Overwatch League franchise sales at record prices, adding Atlanta, Georgia and Guangzhou, China to our league,” said CEO Bobby Kotick.

Looking ahead, the company expects adjusted earnings of $0.37 per share and revenues of $1.49 billion for the third quarter. The earnings and revenue forecast for fiscal 2018 is $2.46 per share and $7.36 billion, respectively.

RELATED: Electronic Arts Q1 profit dips

The Activision division this week joined hands with China-based tech firm Tencent Holdings to bring Call of Duty to smartphone users in China. Earlier, the company entered into a multiyear contract with Walt Disney’s (DIS) ESPN to carry the Overwatch League playoff series on the platform, in an effort to monetize the growing popularity of e-sports.

RELATED: Activision Q2 2018 earnings call transcript

Among competitors, Electronic Arts (EA) reported rather unimpressive results for its first quarter, when both earnings and revenues witnessed a sharp decline.

It has been a rollercoaster ride for Activision shareholders since the beginning of the year, when the shares gained nearly 15% and hit an all-time high in mid-July.

RELATED: Activision Q1 earnings hit record high

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