Activision annual sales near $3 billion

Guitar Hero III, Call of Duty 4 boost publisher's year-long sales 92 percent; $602.5 million in Q4 revenues nearly doubles prior year's.

Following several quarters of record-breaking earnings reports, Activision has ended its 2008 fiscal year with a bang worthy of a Call of Duty 4 claymore. For the 12 months ended March 31, the Santa Monica-based publisher reported net income--aka profit--of $344.9 million on record revenues of $2.9 billion. The whopping figure was made even more impressive because it was a 92 percent increase on the $1.51 billion Activision took in the year prior, and marked 16 years of consecutive growth for the company.

The massive sales surge has also prompted Activision to claim a series of bragging rights once held by its archrival, Electronic Arts. Citing figures from the NPD group, the publisher now claims to be the number-one third-party publisher in the US in terms of console and handheld software dollars, having grown its market share to 17.3 percent of the market--a 7.2 percent increase in a single year.

Two major games were behind Activision's ballooning sales. As of March 31, the critically lauded shooter Call of Duty 4 had sold over 9 million copies worldwide, making it the number-two game on the planet in terms of units according to NPD and European industry-research groups Chart-Track (UK) and GfK (Germany). The same sources pegged Guitar Hero III, Activision's rhythm-game-turned-pop-culture-phenomenon, as the number-one game for the year in terms of dollar revenue.

To date, the Call of Duty and Guitar Hero franchises have generated over $1 billion each in revenue. That's a hefty return on investment for the publisher, which picked up RedOctane in 2005 for just under $100 million and Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward in 2003--when Activision's total annual revenues were just $947.7 million.

Call of Duty 4 and Guitar Hero III's holiday release all but preordained that Activision would have a bumper October-December quarter. However, continuing strong sales of both games boosted income to record levels from January to March as well. During the period--Activision's fourth fiscal quarter--the company saw profits of $44.2 million on earnings of $602.5 million, up from $312.5 million during the same period the year prior.

"Fiscal 2008 was the best year in our history and Q4 was the largest and most profitable nonholiday quarter, even though we did not release any new titles," said the increasingly outspoken CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement. Looking ahead, Kotick declared that Activision's $18.9 billion merger with Vivendi Games to form Activision-Blizzard was on track. "Our intention is to close [the deal] by the end of the first half [of the 2008 calendar year]," he said to analysts during a postearnings conference call.

Despite the near certainty of the merger, Activision still issued a forecast for its 2009 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2009. Activision expects revenues of $3.1 billion--with one major caveat. Using cryptic language, the company said that it--not Activision-Blizzard--was anticipating "continuing performance obligations" from "online functionality for certain key titles to be released in the December quarter." After "excluding the impact of the change in deferred revenue related to online-enabled games," the "stand-alone" company expects to take in only $2.75 billion--a $350 million difference.

[UPDATE] Shortly after this story went live, Activision reps explained the $350 million charge to GameSpot. "This [charge] is all related to the accounting change we are implementing with games that have online functionality," the rep sad. "It is similar to the accounting change EA announced not too long ago. Under the change, when a company sells a product (such as game software on a disc) but also provides a service component (additional features that involve online activity and features), but does not charge separately for that service component and online features, then the full amount of the sale (game software plus these online features) has to be spread over a usage period for that online activity, which we estimate to be six months from after shipment."

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51 comments
wa7ie
wa7ie

I have the game....!! any bady want Call Of Duty 4 full just send to my Email:: love55555555@gmail.com

longlong123
longlong123

COD4 was designed so well. This is really expected.

sgt-hawkins
sgt-hawkins

yeah thanks for leading the way maybe other game companies will start trying to up their games now

d3nyd
d3nyd

With GH4, COD5, WotLK, and Starcraft 2 coming out this year... Activision-Blizzard is going to have money coming out of its ears. Expect EA to start crying soon, if they haven't started already. I for one am happy that Activision-Blizzard is the new big company. They have never failed to please.

pourya_ahmadian
pourya_ahmadian

go activision;yah,the COD4 is so great;we can play it for whole time;

irmc
irmc

Congratulations for Activision!, they have created excellents games like Call of Duty 4 witch for me is the best game online...... I think it will be difficult for another company do a game like Call of Duty 4,there isnt a game of war like COD4 with the same gameplay,graphics,sound,multiplayer ect

J-Rob987987
J-Rob987987

why is call of duty 9/10 ?? it should obviously be 10/10... Im so excited for battlefield: Bad company i think it will be way better online

arkadiyk
arkadiyk

cod 4 hands down is best multi-player and single player experience for 07/ beginning of 08 i told ppl invest in games invest in activion if they listened to me they would have doubled thier assets in half a year.

sdauz
sdauz

They deserve it, ive playing CoD4 mp for nearly a year, i never end up playing 1 game for soooo long

makemeweak
makemeweak

Hopefully this windfall will encourage Activision to bring something new to the table and not just continuations on existing IP.

MetalContra
MetalContra

ATVI is up 11% right now. I am glad I own a few shares.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

EA is looking kinda small. They really need to refocused some of their franchise. I think DICE will make a big difference in the near future, with that 1st persons action adventure game. I can't wait to see what the makers of Burnout are making, Paradise was great but, most people weren't ready for an open world for a game like that (they took the right direction but it seams like it wasn't at the optimal time).

mrkame16
mrkame16

Hurray for Activision...I wish they would consider buying out Take Two...that would be the icing on the cake. F%%% EA!!!

K_M82
K_M82

Good for actilizzard! the stiffer the competition is, the better for us gamer!

raze-boi
raze-boi

I wish I can get 1/10 of that money =D

jivemaster
jivemaster

As long as Activision do not become as arrogant as EA then I'll be happy. It is good to see that at least another 3rd party publisher/developer is doing well and has not needed to sell out to EA. There are not many of those left.

generalvonngene
generalvonngene

ACTIBLIZZ's 3 BILLION IS NOTHING COMAPRED TO EA's 9 BILLION EARNINGS>>>

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

This is nice for US domestic sales figures, they would have made billion more if the rest of the world is buying their games. If and only if ...

leke
leke

You would think that after raking in all that money they would release DLC for free...

mikethemonkey
mikethemonkey

This is good news for us gamers... When they make money we are going to get better games. Money=investments ... investments=great games

Pete5506
Pete5506

Call of duty did so well

Avals
Avals

Call of duty series are the best shooter series ever, no doubt for selling 10 million copies now..

gnbfd
gnbfd

Guitar Hero + Call of Duty + WoW=$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for Acti-Blizz

alberto2045
alberto2045

wow that amzing I wished I knew that before so I could invest in them

quietcool72
quietcool72

Lets not forget Wrath of the Lich King either...

Im_JUst_HERe
Im_JUst_HERe

soooooo... this year, 2008, is not only gonna see cod5 AND gh4, but yet a bigger and much more important game, the thing that is gonna make actvision-blizzard big enough to buy **** EA. i cant believe gamespot never mentioned this. starcraft II is gonna come out. with cod5 and gh4. like, thats billions upon billions of $'s right there.

enoslives7
enoslives7

Hopefully Activision will do sports and crush EA

technowiz999
technowiz999

they're just as bad as EA *dies a little on the inside*

bike749
bike749

call of duty i s about WW2 not : Modern Warfare.

InFaMous_Si
InFaMous_Si

And Call of duty 5 is going back to WW2 Because?...

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

goon news, hopefully means bigger budget for A-list developers under Activision.

VenomRitual
VenomRitual

344 million in profit = money to hire even greater staff for its games. COD 5 will be awesome/.

lamprey263
lamprey263

That's impressive. The fact that Call of Duty games have become big console hits has really helped them, especially since they're able to develop a new game in that series every year since the series came out, right in time for holiday shopping. They'll probably do the same for the Guitar Hero series. And I just love a lot of their games. Way to go!! Can't wait to see what they come up with for CoD5 and Guitar Hero IV; I'm guessing they'll both be out by this fall.

EXxile
EXxile

With COD4 and the GH franchise under their wing, thats no surprise. But, when making painful moves such as letting Treyarch take the reigns for COD5, that is a downfall. The COD franchise belongs with infinity Ward.

funnysplay
funnysplay

Thats what happens when you go multi-platform with great games, Lots of green.

paullywog
paullywog

if piracy wasn't an issue on pc, we'd see a much bigger number

True_Blu3
True_Blu3

If they owned Harmonix and published Rock Band, do you know how much MORE money they would make?

Agreb91
Agreb91

That would not be surprising due to the commercial success of Call of Duty 4 and Guitar Hero III

keyser27
keyser27

Yeah they should put out CoD 5, 6, and 7 before Christmas and make each campaign 3 hours long with broken lobbies and bad lag. Frankly, if they just randomly assign chords and notes to songs like they did in GH3, GH4 and 5 should be out by Thanksgiving. They make prostitutes look like nuns.

thebeast619
thebeast619

you make big money when you make games like cod4.

wiifan001
wiifan001

Activision made a lil' bit of money thar.

ps3thabest
ps3thabest

thats good for them if they were smart they would make call of duty 5 and dont make it war world 2 again keep it modern

bicigo
bicigo

GH4 is the big title being released this december

Crzy1
Crzy1

Good to hear, not a big GH fan, but CoD4 was a great title and well deserving of whatever profits it made.

Coffee_Blade
Coffee_Blade

I hope they release marvel ultimate alliance 2 soon. Didn't buy Guitar hero and im not a big fan of cod4

belwyrm
belwyrm

Hmmm.....Key titles being released in December.... Call of Duty 5 or GH 4?