Lockdown and loaded: virus triggers video game boost

A scene from the Call of Duty video game.

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Activision Blizzard

Two of the biggest names in video games have seen the question jump as virus freezes force people to stay home.

The creators of the famous Call of Duty (COD) and FIFA games say that the number of players has increased dramatically during the pandemic.

This increased the financial performance of Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts for the first three months of this year.

The gaming industry has recorded sales records in recent weeks as more and more people are turning to their entertainment services.

Activision Blizzard, the company behind the COD series, said that an average of 407 million people played online each month in the first quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, the latest COD “Warzone” game has garnered over 60 million players since its launch in March.

The company also said that the use of its Overwatch and World of Warcraft games has continued to grow, and the Candy Crush smartphone game has established itself as the most profitable franchise in the American app stores.

This helped push Activision Blizzard’s net revenues from digital channels to $ 1.44 billion (£ 1.16 billion).

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said: “In the face of so many difficulties, our employees have made sure that the joy, commitment and benefits of the game remain an effective way to help keep people connected. our 400 million players worldwide and safe. “

The rival game giant Electronic Arts has claimed that the latest edition of its FIFA football series has attracted over 25 million players.

At the same time, the “Madden NFL 20” football game marked the most online engagements in the franchise’s history.

The company also saw the number of users for its new “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” which registered 10 million users.

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Getty Images

Electronic Arts said its net income doubled to $ 418 million in revenue which rose to $ 1.4 billion in the first three months of the year.

“We are humble to see people around the world connect through our games during this unprecedented period,” said CEO Andrew Wilson in the company’s earnings release.

The game has seen a huge boost this year as hundreds of millions of people have been forced to stay home because of measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Industry giants ranging from Microsoft to Steam have all reported major increases in the number of users, with video game sales in the U.S. reaching the highest level in over a decade in March.

Analysts forecast that demand will remain strong while home orders will remain in effect.

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