Activision Q3 sales leap 80 percent

Guitar Hero publisher boasts record sales of $1.48 billion, ups yearly projections, praises hot sales of COD4 and GHIII.

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At the beginning of December, Vivendi and Activision announced the biggest union in gaming history as the two became one with the snappy moniker Activison Blizzard. The deal, which was valued at some $18.9 billion, created the world's biggest third-party game publisher.

At the end of January, Vivendi reported what will likely be its last set of separate financials for subsidiary Blizzard, which saw the World of Warcraft developer pulling in its first billion-dollar year for sales.

Now it's Activision's turn, and the other half of the newly formed alliance wasn't about to be beaten--the company's financial third quarter ended December 31 has borne net revenues of more than $1.48 billion. This is a massive 80 percent jump from the same period in the company's previous financial year of $824.3 million. Net income was almost double the amount made in the same period in 2006, this year punching in at $272.2 million, compared to $142.8 million.

For the total nine months in the company's financial year so far, the numbers are currently crunching at $2.3 billion (compared to $1.2 billion in the previous nine-month period), and net income more than tripled to $300.7 million, compared to $100.2 million.

Activision named six games as being big hits and driving sales: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Spider-Man, Shrek the Third, and Transformers: The Game. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the best-selling title in terms of units sold in Europe, North America, and PAL regions for Activision in 2007, when it shifted over 7 million copies. Guitar Hero III, on the other hand, was number one in terms of dollars made.

In general, the future is looking bright for video games, Activison CEO Bobby Kotick commented in a statement. He said, "Broader audiences are responding to products like Guitar Hero, and we expect that the demographics for video games will continue to expand." He also added that this was now the 16th consecutive year that sales were up for the company.

Console sales provided the lion's share of Activision's sales, bringing in $1.1 billion this quarter, compared to $96 million for handhelds, and $88 million for PC game sales. The Xbox 360 bought in the highest percentage of sales at 33 percent, followed by stalwart the PlayStation 2 with 25 percent, then the PlayStation 3 with 14 percent, and the Wii with 12 percent.

The merger between Activision and Vivendi is still on track, the company reports, with the deal expected to be finalized before the end of the June.

Activision amended its projections for a third time on the back of this report--the company now expects full fiscal 2008 net revenues of $2.65 billion, and earnings per diluted share of 97 cents.

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