Activision raises guidance as more Infinity Ward-ers quit

Record-setting launch of Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package, continued WOW success boost publisher's Jan.-Mar. quarter; lead animation team departs.

As if Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's record-setting launch weren't enough, Activision has also been reaping rewards off the game's first map pack. Last week, the publisher said that the $15 Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package had set day-one and week-one Xbox Live sales records, selling 1 million and 2.5 million, respectively. Notably, those figures don't include the PlayStation 3 and PC versions of the multiplayer map add-on, which are due May 4.

"Which way is the exit?"

Given the premium-priced map pack's unprecedented success, Activision Blizzard today said that earnings per share and revenues for the January-March quarter are tracking ahead of previous guidance. The publisher didn't provide specific figures, noting only its previous outlook of $0.20 earnings per diluted share on $1.1 billion revenues.

However, the publisher did provide updated guidance for its full-year earnings. Diluted earnings per share are now expected to come in at $0.49 for the three-month window, up $0.02 from prior estimates.

"We are tracking ahead of our March quarter outlook due to strong global demand for Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft and Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement. "We benefited from the record breaking launch of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 map pack, which was previously expected to launch in the June quarter. Additionally, certain operating expenses previously planned for the March quarter will now be incurred in the June quarter."

Ironically, Activision may have gutted the goose that laid one of its golden eggs. Today, two more senior-level developers confirmed their departure from Modern Warfare 2 manufacturer Infinity Ward. According to the LinkedIn profiles of lead animator Mark Grigsby and lead character animator John Paul Messerly--listed as the only two animation leads in Modern Warfare 2's credits--both departed the Encino, California-based studio this month.

A member of Infinity Ward since the studio formed in 2002, Grigsby has been credited on the original Call of Duty through Modern Warfare 2. Also an Infinity Ward veteran, Messerly joined the studio in 2005, picking up credits on Call of Duty 2, Modern Warfare, and Modern Warfare 2.

Grigsby and Messerly's departures are just two in a string of high-profile departures from Infinity Ward following Activision's decision to fire studio head Vince Zampella and game director Jason West in March. The studio has seen the departure of its entire lead design team, as well as senior-level programmers and artists.

The departures come despite Activision's stated intent to reallocate Modern Warfare 2 bonuses previously intended for West and Zampella to "those employees responsible for the success of the game who remain employees of the company." However, disbursal will only come if Activision prevails in its counterclaim against West and Zampella's initial $36 million suit against the company.

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Discussion

264 comments
XEKazumi
XEKazumi

@DitkaKenobi So just because I'm trying to stand for a company that has always put their consumers above their stockholders, that automatically makes me a WoW fan? I think you're missing the point. Gamers everywhere should die a little when they hear Blizzard come right after Activision. And if you look at earlier comments made on a another report of loss of IW talent, you'll find Activision practically had to beg Blizzard to accept the merger. BTW, I know Blizzard has been riding huge waves of cash from WoW subscriptions, but that's HOW you make money. You don't make money by giving people crap for their dollars; you make money by caring about the consumer. Plus, it looks better in PR.

IIFoxmanII
IIFoxmanII

@whiskymaster I could enjoy a Rubik's cube for hundreds of hours, but that doesn't mean I'd pay $15 for it.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

'is currently on the floor crying..................due to laughing so hard.'

Bigbomb94
Bigbomb94

Better not make another map pack that only has 3 maps but still $15

HighRisk12345
HighRisk12345

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

myungish
myungish

i cant believe so many people bought the map pack. way to stick it to the company ruining what once was a great developer. RIP IW

karloss01
karloss01

Good night, sweet prince. Infinity Ward 2002 - 2010

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

The future will bring a pretty damn good game from these guys

pidow
pidow

I feel we been screwed again....I want to see the end results on this mess!.

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

I think this may be a good thing, they can get away from activision... As early as CoD 2, activision were pressuring IW to do things they didn't want to (then, AV made them make another WWII game, they wan'ted to make CoD2 modern)

for2100
for2100

i cant wait for zampellas new game it will blow MW@ out of the water now that they have been given the ability to be creative and not so constrained by the money grabbers at actiFAIL.... oops i mean activision

i_like_laX
i_like_laX

This is a real bummer. Imagine what kind of game could have been made with the resources available to IW. Now they are gone, and a budget blockbuster will be made, and the whole process will repeat. Its a shame. and it will be the undoing of the Video Game industry. im sure Activision could have paid the guys thier share, with that 1billion they had. :S

wahyudil
wahyudil

drama drama drama ... I hope someone in hollywood will make the movie about this ...

KuRf
KuRf

Bobby Kotick everyone is to me a Steve Jobs wannabe...let me quote what he said about what he tried to build within his company "skepticism, pessimism, and fear". Now, it's true Steve Jobs rule the company by fear but he also embrace creative people while as this guy only know how to make money and screw everyone in the process...including us!!

melty3219
melty3219

Its great to see an american company do so well in these times

Hollow-Byakuya
Hollow-Byakuya

Activision should be taken over by Capcom... that would make them something fierce, but they'd have to discard the bellend running things, obviously he's a total cock

HighRisk12345
HighRisk12345

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Shardz7
Shardz7

This is all just a bloated propaganda message to investors to try to curb damage control so they don't back out like half their developers are lately. The view of the big picture is what is really vital and that outlook will be grim over time with Kotex in charge. Today, Infinity Ward...tomorrow, who knows? But I sincerely doubt this is the end of the heavy hitters quitting Activision and changing sides and perspectives. After all, nobody wants to work for an idiot tyrant with the business sense of a potato. When they start milking this franchise [as every other franchise they touch], it will become painfully obvious that the original team has long left the building. Then...go ahead and post the quarterly reports and tell us how great the company is doing.

zeniftan
zeniftan

Nobody truly knows anything, except for the people who're at the core of this whole debacle. So from an outsiders perspective, the only thing I can say with any real certainty is that their HAS to be a good reason for so many people to leave. And based on everything that's been said on both sides, neither side is innocent. I mean why would Activision fire the top guys of one of their two golden egg products for no reason? Also, why would Zampella and West leave at a time when they were achieving wondrous things? Both sides have done wrong, this much is clear. But what actually went down will never truly be known.

Vaultboy-101
Vaultboy-101

The idiots shouldnt have fired such important employees. Even if they werent important the have lost a lot of important employees from doing so.

JimmyZeroL
JimmyZeroL

just like 8 years ago,jason and vince depart ea. this is really dramatic

steven141
steven141

Wow, infinity ward seems to be falling apart all because activision didn't have the leaders bending over doing whatever they wanted so they fired them which ended up with disgruntled employees leaving. Nice

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

It feels like Activision is just trying to protect their stock with all these little updates regardless of how grim it actually appears.

DitkaKenobi
DitkaKenobi

@XEKazumi Calling them Activision Blizzard is correct. That's the actual name. They aren't going to omit Blizzard because you love WOW and hate Activision.

XEKazumi
XEKazumi

Gamespot, please don't mind me, but I would like to clarify that calling them Activision Blizzard is misleading. This is mostly Activision doing this crap. Blizzard is still pretty much independent mainly because they have the weight to pull some pretty hefty strings.

j666hul
j666hul

your right tofushreds 5 maps for $15 is better value compared to 10 for $60.but, its actually closer to about 20 maps, a single player mode, and a co-op spec mode for $60. when you compare it that way, its not good value for money.

KristoffBrujah
KristoffBrujah

Good job WoW slaves, you manage to make this vampire company greatly profitable by buying a video game horse for $25 a pop. I hope you're happy keeping Bobby Kotick rich while he laughs his rear end off @ your gullibility.

tofushreds
tofushreds

what's the problem with 5 maps for $15 bucks if you like the game (I don't own it, not buying it) but for those that do own it and already dropped $60 for 10 maps the price of the dlc is actually cheap by comparison when it comes down to $/map

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

MW2 is okay, but the animation didn't really stand out as being that special to me. Not sure that was a big loss, no offense to the parties involved. Regardless, with Blizzard alone Activision is set financially with StarCraft 2 and a new WOW expansion this year.

ekultus
ekultus

Is it just me or do the Xbox crowd seem a lot more gullible and willing to give their money away? I think their ruining it for the rest of us.

Darkon_X
Darkon_X

I don't know why people purchased 3 maps for 15 bucks. Yeah I know it's 5 but 2 of them are old. You might love MW2 and all but don't buy overpriced stuff. In the end the more money you're willing to pay for a little something, the more these companies raise prices. Sort of like that 5 dollar lightsaber for your avatar in XBL. Stop feeding the beast people.

acsam12304
acsam12304

to me MW2 was a ok game i mean its not great its just a standard FPS game and nothing new to offer only looking good. but other then that it s just a normal FPS. only reason why i played the game is to see the story line but then after the 2nd day i got the game and beat it i returned it. no need to hold on to a game thats $60 and its only 5 hours long. thats the same reason why im not going to get the new Splinter Cell game cuz its less then 6 hours long.

Flint247
Flint247

@dt2003 Agreed. MW2 is the worst game I ever played of the decade.

fps_d0minat0r
fps_d0minat0r

@ morte_mafia modern warfare uses private servers, its got nothing to do with XBL or PSN. if you want to compare the servers using other games, i dont see xbox doing 60 or 256 players online......... some day you really will get a ps3 and wont need to lie about it. now go and load up a laggy game of gears of war, maybe you will get in after 5 minutes if your lucky.

D3thN1gh7
D3thN1gh7

@dt2003 what's so bad about MW2 itself? It is a great game despite all this crap that's been happening since it's release.

DeMoN_SouL_666
DeMoN_SouL_666

@Takeno456 If ones own success and money is mistreated and disrespected that is..

DeMoN_SouL_666
DeMoN_SouL_666

i wish i really know what happened with all of them in Activision to make a fair judgment, because the situation is getting real messy. but the fact that everyone is leaving IW after the firing of the two gives a clear and great deal about the issue.

MarcJL31
MarcJL31

Activision really a complete change in leadership. Try to salvage what they still do have, which isnt much. I really dont understand how their board would even allow all of this to happen and not be thinking that they need to restructure. I hate these huge gaming corporation who are all about money and could care less about the devs (who make them money) or the consumer (who pay them money.)

Takeno456
Takeno456

Too much success and a whole lot of money can ruin any company.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

most people dont know or dont care and are totally blinded by the hype of MW2. Most of my friends in fact are these people who are buying the silly map rip off... I always tell them to try Bad Company 2 instead.

dt2003
dt2003

*sigh*....MW2...can't believe you guys still play this crap. so depressing....

Khatjal
Khatjal

Bad leadership, that what Activision suffers from...

morte_mafia
morte_mafia

@wexorian What your PS3 brain cant seem to comprehend is that the reason it sold so well on 360 is because the online experience on xbox live is far superior. And because everyone important in this world owns an xbox. I have both, but my PS3 slim is just something to fill my entertainment center... Never gets turned on