Pro-Activison analysts predict 6M Starcraft II sales

Pachter foresees 12 million in sales for World of Warcraft developer's catalog; Wilson thinks RTS will go sextuple-platinum, Greenwald also bullish on publisher.

Yesterday, Activision released its year-end financial results, and while the company reported a $286 million loss for the holiday quarter, it still managed to post a relatively rosy full-year profit of $113 million. Wall Street responded positively to the results--Activision stock was up nearly 10 percent to $11.08 in midday trading today--but analysts were downright euphoric.

Analysts agree that Blizzard's games are Activision's best hope for growth in 2010.

Wedbush's Michael Pachter said Activision's results were well above expectations and was particularly impressed at the publisher's ability to meet its initial guidance estimates despite a tough economic environment and the delays of three major titles (Singularity, Blur, and Starcraft II).

Pachter cautioned that Activision's performance set a high bar to measure up to in the new fiscal year. The analyst is particularly concerned about Activision's ability to increase revenues, given that it is expecting lowered sales from its distribution business, as well as Call of Duty and Guitar Hero games.

However, Pachter said the company's catalog of Blizzard titles could more than make up for slumping revenues elsewhere in the company. With the release of both Starcraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Pachter expects Blizzard to sell a whopping 12 million games during the year, including legacy sales of previously released games.

The analyst didn't break down sales projections for individual Blizzard games, but Cataclysm and catalog sales of World of Warcraft and its prior expansions apparently play a large role in his Blizzard-wide estimate. Pachter said that Activision's three delayed titles combined are expected to bring between $200 million and $250 million in revenues, suggesting total sales of about 5 million copies if the average selling price was $50.

Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson was somewhat more optimistic about Starcraft II, depending on when Activision manages to release it. Currently, Wilson has the real-time strategy sequel penciled in for sales of 6 million copies, though he cautioned that could slip to 2 million in 2010 if Activision pushes it back into the holiday quarter.

As for the rest of Activision's slate of upcoming titles, Wilson was more reserved with his praise, saying True Crime, Blur, and Singularity "have not yet excited us." Likewise, he said new Spider-Man, Transformers, and James Bond games "do not look poised to exceed the very high bar that has been set for games to achieve critical and commercial success." Growing the Call of Duty franchise could also be a point of concern, as Wilson estimated that last year's Modern Warfare 2 has shipped 16 million copies worldwide.

Pessimistic as that might sound, Wilson was still very high on the publisher. Comparing Activision with the rest of the recently struggling gaming industry, the analyst likened the publisher to "a mansion in a trailer park." He added that the company's results "reminded us again why it is the best company in the sector."

Signal Hill's Todd Greenwald was likewise impressed, calling Activision "the key name to own in the video game space." Greenwald was particularly blown away by the publisher's operating margins. Where Electronic Arts and THQ chalked up $0.11 and $0.09 of operating profit for every dollar of sales, Activision said its operating margin surpassed $0.35 on the dollar.

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41 comments
doodlepigs
doodlepigs

:P of course they would have a higher operating profit, they are selling their games at more than twice the price of others and fools are buying them. (PS. US$ 80 + per game in asia)

Theamazing55
Theamazing55

I still think it's stupid that it's being released as three separate games. But this will probably sell very, very well.

Waranabatokwa
Waranabatokwa

terrans ftw!! damn, wonder how the story is gonna play out with this one.. i wanna see jim and zeratul beat the hell out of kerrigan..

Arach666
Arach666

Well,I´ll be one of those 6 million,that´s for sure!

hopper16
hopper16

@vmaven There greed with wow? Im sorry what greed? If you buy the game and dont agree with the tos they will give you your money back. Theres this belief that they make a insane amount of cash off of subsciptions. Most people dont even know that more then half of all subs are from asia which pays for the hour, not monthly. They barely make a quarter of wow's income from that for over half of its playerbase. Add in blizzard only making about 40% profit on each sub thats not in asia, there no where near as rich as you think, even more so with paying over 4k people and working on new content. Do they make a nice penny at the end of the day? Hell yes, but no where near what your wife and many others belive. If you can explain the greed to me, i'd be happy because i dont see it. Or is it just hate on blizzard for success?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

This only serves to confuse people further... This ISN'T an Activision game, by any interpretation. The only connection between Blizzard and Activision is that they are both owned by Vivendi (since Vivendi owns they're holdings comapny, benefit just Activision. That said, I'm sure SC2 will sell as much as they expect.

VMaven
VMaven

I've bought every Blizzard game since their inception, except the addon for Warcraft 3. I'm interested in Starcraft 2, and I want to get my wife to try playing some w/ me. I am not sure she'll ever get into a RTS, if we have to jump through hoops so we can play together. She already isn't happy with Blizzards greediness from her WOW experience. I'm not sure about this one. Oh, I wouldn' t mind seeing some Blizzard notepads return.

DrizztDoUrden16
DrizztDoUrden16

im with all of you, wtf did they team up with activision anyway? They felt bad for them and wanted to carry them to victory?! I dont get it, Blizzard is the best and should sit on a pedestal all alone. So everyone could look up and say: "I wish i could be that bad ass..."

slickr
slickr

Starcraft 2 will probably sell 20 million copies. 4 million in US, 6 million in EU and 10 million in Asia (mostly Korea).

adamosmaki
adamosmaki

Well well well. 2 pc titles to save activisions year. I guess pc gaming is "dying" ( sarcasm )

wexorian
wexorian

Activision leave blizzard alone they were cool without you :)

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Can't wait for starcraft but considering their profit margin that means they're screwing us.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Activison = Activision Blizzard = Blizzard I hate ActivisonBlizzard name!!

Inconnux
Inconnux

I doubt it will do so well without LAN support

Megamanx266
Megamanx266

We need to find a way to get Activision to stop tainting the Blizzard name.. WHO'S WITH ME!!!

isaacmj
isaacmj

I started saving the day Starcraft 2 was announced, and I spent every time it was pushed back, but if I kept all those savings, I think I could have bought a car... I want this game now, the holiday season is too far away.

denter21
denter21

In order for it to sell 6 million copies... IT HAS TO ACTUALLY COME OUTTTTTTT. Anytime now Blizz. Don't be shy.

wahyudil
wahyudil

an RTS game without T1 LAN support .... hmmmm ... pass ...

Revan_911
Revan_911

PC gaming to save Activision? Oh the irony.

WTFitsPauL
WTFitsPauL

Wrong! its 3 Million Sold & 3 Million Stoled.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

Maybe Activision should spend their time predicting a date when this game comes out instead of predicting on how much its will sell. Activision priorities.

mini_specs
mini_specs

@ raven28256 can't spell analyst without 'anal' :P Jeebus, we've waited long enough for this one, huh?

raven28256
raven28256

Yeah, it will sell 6 million...In the first three seconds of release. I don't think 6 million is a high enough estimate. Are we forgetting that this game is a NATIONAL SPORT in a certain Asian country? If we take into account international sales, it will easily surpass that 6 million estimate. Besides, why do we even listen to these "analysts?" Don't most just pull random numbers out their asses and end up being wrong 99% of the time anyway?

First-Irish-Lad
First-Irish-Lad

yea........ wait this is good for me how? Should I really be worried about how much money they hope to make make? The answer is an emphatic yes.

cytheh
cytheh

It will sell 6 million.... If they release the game!!!! of course. Starcraft Ghost would have great sales too... if they didn't cancel it after pushing back the release date for so long.

Pyro978
Pyro978

lol we'll see if the game gets released soon. remember what happened the last time they try to release a non WOW game on time.....

DarkLord
DarkLord

@hotfiree: Activision purchased Blizzard either last year or in '08. They thankfully haven't tried to upend anything at Blizzard and change how they do things so all the Blizzard games are still just Blizzard games.

hotfiree
hotfiree

So why are activision going to be seeing alot of the money .... what are they doing? Are they publishing blizzard games now?

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

Those expectations are kind of high, but Blizzard has yet to *legitimately* disappoint with a game (since I know some grizzled old school wow veteran will complain that they ruined the franchise with x expansion). I don't particularly like a lot of Activision's titles, but Blizzard's and CoD are always worth looking forward to.

ratix2
ratix2

starcraft 2 will likely sell over 6 million over its lifetime, plus remember that its coming in 3 parts, not one. tbh though, as well as i expect sc2 to sell i dont think itll hold a candle to diablo 3.

Daxo90
Daxo90

Hmmmm, I think there expectations are a bit to high

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Global sales will be good based on Korea but I don't expect it to set any records.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

I think this game is going to sell well because tbh people respect Blizzard. People want to play it online and I guess we will just have to see.

CoolKidX
CoolKidX

More like 6M downloaded. I expect around 2-4 m sells, expect half of those sells in Korea lol. But seriously, this game will probably downloaded more then it will actually sell(look at MW2 and Sims 3 sells on PC, it is lower then it has been downloaded).

shadow_hosi
shadow_hosi

6M? well ill be glad to be part of that on day 1

Windblade91
Windblade91

as if anyone didn't know that Activision is dependent on Blizzard for revenue honestly if Blizz left the conglomorate, they would be better off

Samox
Samox

I'm not sure if my laptop can handle it... But if it can, I will definitely look into buying SC2. The first Starcraft was incredible.