Starcraft II sells 3M, Activision Blizzard reports $51M profit

Megapublisher beats expectations, reports $745 million for July-September quarter; full-year earnings projection revised up to $4.28 billion.

Accountants and gamers alike are eagerly awaiting next week's release of Call of Duty: Black Ops, the latest installment in Activision Blizzard's highly successful first-person shooter franchise. However, the publisher showed today that the modern-military series wasn't the only way it was able to turn a dime, announcing better-than-expected financial results for the quarter ended September 30.

3 million units? Awww, yeah.

During the three-month period, Activision Blizzard achieved sales of $745 million, well above estimates of $600 million for the quarter. The publisher also made massive gains in net income compared to last year, growing profit from $15 million during the third quarter in 2009 to $51 million in 2010. The company's profit resulted in $0.04 earnings per diluted share, compared to projections of a break-even result.

"For the third quarter, we exceeded our net revenues and earnings per share outlook and delivered strong year-over-year growth," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement. "Our better-than-expected results are due to our leadership in online entertainment, including strong performance from Activision Publishing's Call of Duty franchise, and Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft and Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty."

Kotick went on to note that nearly half of the company's revenue during the quarter--$348 million, to be exact--came from subscriptions and online revenues. In October, Blizzard Entertainment touted a new milestone for its monumentally successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, saying the global subscriber base has reached 12 million players.

Activision also saw production out of another of Blizzard's franchise's, Starcraft II. As of September 1, the highly regarded sci-fi real-time strategy title sold more than 3 million units worldwide, having gone on sale in July. The game sold more than 1.5 million units within 48 hours of release.

Activision Blizzard also raised its full-year earnings outlook. The company now expects full-year 2010 revenues to come in at $4.28 billion, EPS of $0.51. Those figures are up from previous projections of $4.18 billion in sales and $0.49 EPS for the fiscal and calendar year.

The publisher attributed the upward revision to its better-than-expected third quarter performance, as well as its fourth-quarter hits-in-waiting, the aforementioned Black Ops and World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm. Of the former, Activision said that it expects the game to be "one of the top entertainment properties of the holiday season," with preorders projected to set an industry record.

In a post-earnings conference call, new Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg confirmed that a new Call of Duty will arrive during the latter half of 2011. "We will launch a new first-person action title during the back half of 2011," he said. Activision later clarified this statement to say that the game would fall within the first-person shooter genre.

Hirshberg did not indicate which Activision-owned studio would be handling the game. However, Sledgehammer Games and Infinity Ward are known to be working on new installments in the franchise.

Written By

Want the latest news about World of Warcraft?

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Follow

Discussion

169 comments
bochap76
bochap76

Wow, and they say PC gaming is dead.

IrishRage
IrishRage

Kotick then confirmed 7 more Guitar Hero and Call of Duty titles for 2012 and ate a live puppy.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

So now that you made your money can we have LAN? It's hurting e-sports with faulty servers, just look at yesterdays finals of mlg. And it's not like piracy would affect you a lot now.

N3xus9
N3xus9

The thing with PC's, Blizzard and Starcraft is that it will continue to sell and sell and sell ... sure it will never match the first couple of months flurry of sales ... but it will have a steady climb of sales over the next few years that will put it up there above all but the very biggest sellers.

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

I thought it would have sold more, but its still a very good number and they are most likely going to sell that another two times with its upcoming expansions/campagins. And after finishing the game I think that one very well done and extended single campaign experience with the starship interactions was way better than any other campaign I played yet. It was just 2 missions shorter (28 missions) but oh well :)

DTam2000
DTam2000

Blizzard, now that you're making tons of cash from Starcarft II and World of Warcraft, how about you giving some back to your fans and customers. Lower the monthly subscription price for WoW and start releasing the second and third part of Starcraft II series sooner than later!

steelmouth
steelmouth

this game reached 2mil so quick i thought it would have doubled/tripled/quadrupled that by now what happen am asking those who are always clamming PC games sell

Trogeton
Trogeton

@KoolzKatz yes activision is awesome the delusional haters won't admit that but it's true activision is one of the top 3 developers right now

devinj
devinj

Yeah their games are really lame... they only manage to top the charts in revenue, critic ratings, and user ratings whenever they come out with a game.

ILOVETACOS101
ILOVETACOS101

So the bringer of 40 year old no lifers company made some money, that means more "no life" games. yay(sarcasticly). how does this company make money, when you think about it their games are really lame

HuntaKila
HuntaKila

Gee, I put it this way, if I would like to play starcraft I'd choose definitely first part because it still is way better and gives much more fun than 2nd and blizzard gone wrong way with graphics in second part. It could have been better game if the graphics would be more realistic, not like a bad cartoon (there are much more accurate words for that to be honest). They haven't add anything new, gave 33% of game for price of 2 and made this annoying retarded cartoon graphics to it. OK ;) it's been nice talkin to ya all. I got to go home...finally ;)))

vega13mv
vega13mv

Sqaure can learn a lot from Blizzard

Kid2812
Kid2812

well done Activision. it good to see one company doing well and hope Black Ops will be as good as Cod 4 MW and WAW lol

ASHinROY
ASHinROY

@HuntaKila Posted Nov 5, 2010 1:43 pm PT "I haven't bought my own copy yet but my friend does and we've tried it on 64-bit win 7, this game crashes sometimes (unacceptable), beside, all that has changed since first part is graphics, blizzard haven't put too much work in this game. I'll wait till the price will drop to around 20$ then I'll think to buy one. I'm not in a hurry. Maybe I was expecting too much from this game, I hoped for some stunning changes and we got just good old starcraft but I've played it so much many years ago and I'm bored of it. You all have a good day, starcraft 2 fanboys too." As someone who definitely doesn't consider himself a Starcraft "fanboy" (I've always been more into Warcraft, myself), I'm a little taken aback by your comment. Blizzard invested years into the development of SC2:WOL and I think it definitely shows. I can understand the feeling you get that it's more of the same, and I definitely can't fault you for not liking the game for that reason. That said, when a game crashes, it may have relatively nothing to do with the software itself. There are far too many factors that play into the performance of a PC game to make that judgement call based on a single system. At least that's my opinion, you're certainly entitled to your own.

Robinvd1986
Robinvd1986

Congrats Blizzard! Starcraft2 is a great game, enjoying it every evening and getting better and better with it online. Lets target 5 million units! ^^

HuntaKila
HuntaKila

I haven't bought my own copy yet but my friend does and we've tried it on 64-bit win 7, this game crashes sometimes (unacceptable), beside, all that has changed since first part is graphics, blizzard haven't put too much work in this game. I'll wait till the price will drop to around 20$ then I'll think to buy one. I'm not in a hurry. Maybe I was expecting too much from this game, I hoped for some stunning changes and we got just good old starcraft but I've played it so much many years ago and I'm bored of it. You all have a good day, starcraft 2 fanboys too.

da_chub
da_chub

i still havent got this yet...i need 2, but this is one of those games u play for 10 years...i still play warcraft 3 and brood war probably 1-2 times amonth.

HuntaKila
HuntaKila

Starcraft 2 is not selling good because it's a great game (it's not), but because first part was one of the greatest games ever so the idea was - we've made the greatest game in history, let's make a greatest deal in history of games now, let's make better graphics for it, portion it on 3 parts and sell it one more time but for 6 times higher price, it'll be a greatest deal of all times $$$$$$

Judas_III
Judas_III

Bobby does a fine job and offers a good workplace.

drokmore
drokmore

Unfortunately for the gaming world as long as activision is successful Kotick aint going anywhere...

titusandro
titusandro

The only bad thing about this is that, somewhere along the line, Bobby "all that is wrong with the video game industry" Cottick (however thats spelled) made more money. Blizzard is amazing none the less. StarCraft 2 for GotY!

nomailx
nomailx

@HuntaKila Agreed. + the game is still in beta stage when you consider the Multiplayer of the Zerg race. The 3 races may seem balanced in Power but are definitely imbalanced regarding Fun Features and Nice Gameplay.

HuntaKila
HuntaKila

Starcraft 2 is not so good as some people and blizzard itself saying. First part was much better and this is only about money now. 33% of the game - terran campaign only - for 60$. Don't forget about bugs, something that wasn't even imaginable with 1st part. Could add at least something new like xel'naga race. Sorry but they won't make that money on me this time.

clqtte
clqtte

It's time for them to lower the game price down to $19.99

clqtte
clqtte

While most of people getting poorer,there's a few just getting richer..

okassar
okassar

ATVI (Activision stock) is down almost 3% in value today despite this (and has had like the flattest shares ever for the past couple years). Lol. Seems like the shareholders are saying something.

BuBsay
BuBsay

I forgot who exactly said this, but I remember hearing a quote regarding Bobby Kotick that really captures exactly why Activision is going down the drain "Bobby Kotick, has 4 major franchises currently which are raking him in billions. But notice, 1 of them he's currently running into the ground (Guitar Hero), the other he's doing everything in his power to screw up (Call of Duty). And the final two he has been banned by a certain company from ever touching (Starcraft, Warcraft)." Ya you know you're in a bad place when one of the companies you own is banning you from coming anywhere near their work.

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

kudos to Activision. Diablo 3 will easily shadow Starcraft 2 in sales in half the time. I'm assuming with all the hatred I hear about MW2, Black Ops will sell very well across the FPS lovers.

Sameo
Sameo

kotick you soulless ginger quit riding it out on blizzard and go back to an executive roll at walmart!

Dragorro
Dragorro

Diablo 3 will triple this number (scoffs).

Pyerun
Pyerun

You guys just gave Bobby another Aston Martin, congrats.

soolkiki
soolkiki

@Jaggermaster And I could just stare at your default for hours. O.O

Zophar87
Zophar87

So, in other words; Blizzard > Activision.

Jaggermaster
Jaggermaster

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

@2bitSmOkEy If you say so, it just seems low to me given the attention it got. Don't have to be overly sensitive. I'm just used to seeing big name console games doing these kinds of numbers in one day.

Pete5506
Pete5506

StarCraft 2 is great, one of the better games to play now a days, I can't wait for D3

thatmy
thatmy

I support Acti more than EA.

Quant1c
Quant1c

Impressive, didn't surprise me though.

L_i_o_n
L_i_o_n

EA is losing badly to activision... until kotick hasnt been sacked, i support ea more than acti.

Blue-Sky
Blue-Sky

@Gooeykat It's very rare for a game to hit 3 million in that time period.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

@Gooeykat its a hardcore pc exclusive rts. Those are some impressive numbers, not sure what you're talking about. Another thing, Blizzard games are known for continued sales long after their release date so that number will surely climb as time goes on.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

3 million units seems rather low for a game that had the kind of hype this one had.

_Pedro_
_Pedro_

@2bitSmOkEy, Spoilers: Yeah, Banelings can turn the tide of a battle instantly and I feel both protoss and Terran don't possess such a unit really. Nerf Zerg!! :P Of course I'm joking, but after the patch Terran have needed to adept to new strategies and only FoxeR really knows how to handle Zerg.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

I get an involuntary sense of anger welling up inside and a bad taste in my mouth every time I read anything that Kotick has said. The guy is all about money, money, money at the absolute expense of gaming. The smartest thing about him spamming CoD titles is that even though they're full of bugs and glitches, they don't have to support them post-launch because everybody itches for the next game and the old one is soon forgotten. "IW sucks, Treyarch listens to their fans" ... "Treyarch suck, they're just the in-between-IW titles studio" ... and the cycle goes on while Bobby counts the cash.

Reiken37
Reiken37

I'm amazed that after seeing these numbers Blizzard isn't questioning thier partnership with Activision, combine Starcraft II and you find that Blizzard's games make up for well over 50%, closer to 60% of sales.

mrhagane
mrhagane

well i wonder.. if activision don't want to "kick" bobby kotick away, i beg to gamefaqs to at least "censored" bobby kotick name. you know what? i hate him