Fortnite Fever Rattles Activision Blizzard Ahead of Earnings

(Bloomberg) -- The moment of truth is almost here. Activision Blizzard Inc., the first big video-game company to report earnings since Fortnite fever took hold, is sure to reveal how disruptive the multiplayer survival game is -- or isn’t.

KeyBanc analyst Evan Wingren is betting on the former -- that results at Activision, Electronic Arts Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. will be affected -- at least in the near term. Epic Games’ Fortnite, which had a peak of 3.4 million concurrent users as of February and 45 million players as of January according to a company spokesperson, hasn’t been ignored by investors either. Since their mid-March highs, Activision has declined 14 percent while Take-Two is down 10 percent over the same period.

Fortnite Fever Rattles Activision Blizzard Ahead of Earnings

Still, many have brushed off what Jefferies analyst Timothy O’Shea called "undeniably the hottest game we’ve seen in years." The worst-case scenario has already been priced into Activision and Take-Two, O’Shea said, encouraging investors to buy the dip. Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey went even further, predicting the two stocks may have already bottomed.

Both Activision and Take-Two have highly anticipated releases planned for later this year, Hickey noted, and rumor has it that their games will eventually incorporate -- you guessed it -- a battle royale mode similar to that of Fortnite.

Activision reports its first-quarter earnings after market close Thursday. EA releases its fourth-quarter results on May 8, and Take-Two is set to report on May 16.

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