Citing the strong performance of key franchises like Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, Bobby Kotick raised the Q3 financial forecasts for Activision/Blizzard.
In a statement, Kotick said "Activision Publishing is about to introduce what is likely to be the biggest entertainment launch of the year with Call of Duty: Black Ops, followed by Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which we believe will deliver an incredible breadth of new content to the world's largest massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) community. As a result of our over-performance, we are raising our calendar year 2010 net revenue and earnings outlook. We expect to deliver the most profitable year in our history with record operating margins."
As you might expect, Activision/Blizzard reports that its main franchises have been driving the company's 2010 growth. Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft were all mentioned as revenue driving franchises. If you get all into the specific numbers, here are the figures for 2010:
- During the third quarter of 2010, Call of Duty remained a top-10 franchise overall in the U.S. and Europe, according to The NPD Group, Charttrack and Gfk.
- On August 3, Blizzard Entertainment announced that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty sold more than one million copies within the first 24 hours of its release, instantly making it the best-selling PC game of 2010, and more than 1.5 million copies within the first 48 hours of its release, making it the fastest-selling strategy game of all time.
- On August 31, Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase.com Inc. launched World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion for Blizzard Entertainment's award-winning subscription-based MMORPG, in mainland China.
- On September 1, Blizzard Entertainment announced that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty sold more than three million copies worldwide in the first month of its release.
- On October 4, Blizzard Entertainment announced that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the highly anticipated third expansion for the world's most popular subscription-based MMORPG, will be released on December 7.
- On October 5, Activision Publishing announced that Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops will be playable in stereoscopic 3D when the game launches at retail outlets worldwide on November 9.
- On October 7, Blizzard Entertainment announced that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft has exceeded 12 million players worldwide.
- As of September 30, Activision Blizzard had purchased approximately 55 million shares of its common stock, for approximately $600 million, under the $1 billion stock repurchase program authorized by its Board of Directors on February 10.