Activision Blizzard posts $1 billion profit in 2011

Publisher posts record net income on revenues of $4.76 billion; Modern Warfare 3 top-selling game last year; Elite paid subscribers reach 1.5 million.

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No shocker here: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the best-selling game of 2011. Today, Activision Blizzard reported its fiscal 2011 earnings report, and the success of the first-person shooter franchise helped propel the company to record profits of $1.08 billion on revenues of $4.76 billion. That's a significant improvement over 2010, when profits were $418 million on revenues of $4.45 billion.

Modern Warfare 3 was a key contributor to Activision Blizzard's bottom line.

Activision Blizzard did not reveal exact sales numbers for Modern Warfare 3, but it did tout the game's social platform, Call of Duty: Elite. As of January 31, the service now has 7 million registered users, with more than 1.5 million of those gamers signing up for the $50 premium tier.

Unsurprisingly, the company confirmed that a new installment in the Call of Duty franchise will be released in 2012. The company also said that it is working on Elite 2.0, with details coming in the next few months.

It also appears as if Activision Blizzard's gamble on the toy market is paying off. The company called Skylanders Spyro's Adventure the No. 1 kid's game in 2011, and it also said that it sold more than 20 million toys based on the franchise. The company expects to release a new installment in the series, Skylanders Giants, in 2012.

Blizzard Entertainment offered a bit of disappointing news. The company no longer expects to launch its anticipated action role-playing game Diablo III during the first quarter of the year. Blizzard's Michael Morhaime said that the company is now targeting an April-June release window for the game. It will be accompanied by at least one other game--likely Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm or World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.

The company also said that World of Warcraft continues to shed subscribers. The genre-leading massively multiplayer online role-playing game finished the year with 10.2 million subscribers, down from 10.3 million at the end of September.

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