What a difference a game makes. Vivendi Universal announced its first quarter earnings today, and its gaming division once again posted double-digit revenue increases attributed to the success of World of Warcraft.
Nearly than a year and a half after World of Warcraft's original release, the game has propelled Vivendi Universal Games' revenue up 18.6 percent from the first quarter of 2005. The company reported 134 million euros (almost $165 million) in revenue for the quarter. Other games cited as making significant contributions to Vivendi's bottom line include Ice Age 2, as well as back catalog titles such as 50 Cent: Bulletproof and Crash Tag Team Racing.
The gaming operation outperformed the rest of the multimedia entertainment company, pulling in the biggest revenue increase of any of its divisions. Overall, Vivendi Universal revenues were up a more modest 5.7 percent to nearly 4.77 billion euros ($5.87 billion). The company's Universal Music Group reported an 8.4 percent bump thanks to growing digital-music sales, while the Canal+Group film division enjoyed 7.7 percent growth in revenues attributable in part to its French pay-TV services.
The company also held its annual general meeting today, in which its shareholders approved a name change, dropping the "Universal" from its title and adopting a new logo. According to a company statement, "Vivendi's new logo and visual identity reflect the company's strength and ambition. A strength founded on its ability to be creative, innovative, and dynamic and the ambition to offer customers the best products and services."
While the names for the rest of the company's divisions remain unchanged, it appears VU Games is also dropping the "Universal" tag. The Vivendi Web site now lists its gaming operation as Vivendi Games.