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‘Fortnite’ Fears, Incorrect Earnings Leak Cause Activision Stock to Stumble

Activision Blizzard shares had a tumultuous afternoon after Dow Jones inadvertently broke an embargo and posted earnings for the company hours before they were set to be released. The stock initially jumped 3% then fell 5% before trading was halted on Thursday afternoon.

The company is set to release its earnings report after close of business on Thursday. Dow Jones originally reported that Activison posted earnings per share of 65 cents in the first quarter, and a “net” figure of $500 million, CNBC reports.  Dow Jones reported Activision’s revenue at $1.7B, when in fact it was later shown to be $1.97B.

At least one analyst has pointed out that this will be the first third-party game maker to post earnings in the shadow of the massive success of Epic Games’ “Fortnite.’ The battle royale game is the biggest free-to-play title in console history, pulling in $223 million in March alone.

Fortnite’s” success is relatively unparalleled, except by “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” which had sold more than 30 million copies on PC as of February. By all intents and purposes, “Fornite’s” colossal rise in popularity wasn’t expected. When the game launched in July 2015, after six years of development, it was met with middling reviews and sales. However, after the success of “Battlegrounds” and the battle royale genre, and “Fortnite’s” own take on it, the game’s taken over the pop-culture lexicon. In November 2017, two months after adding the mode, “Fortnite” had more than 20 million players.

Other success stories out of the report include 2015’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops III,” which continues to hold an impressive audience despite being two iterations behind this year’s “Call of Duty: WWII”; “Far Cry 5,” which had a digital launch that was up nearly 500% compared to 2016’s “Far Cry Primal”; and “Candy Crush,” which had its must successful month since 2014.

Activision’s next big game will likely be “Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII,” which is expected to be detailed in the coming months. The “Call of Duty” franchise has historically split its gameplay between a single-player, narratively-driven campaign and multiplayer with a variety of different modes.

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