Activision's results meet record expectations

Publisher's $1.51 billion annual earnings forecast comes true; executives confirm more Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk, and Marvel for this year.

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Activision started the month of May telling investors to expect big numbers from its full-year report for fiscal 2007. Today the publisher ended the month by delivering on its prediction, posting $1.51 billion in revenues for the fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2007.

As big as last year was for the company, it expects this year to be even bigger. Activision is forecasting $1.8 billion in revenue for fiscal 2008, with an operating income more than double that of 2007's $73.1 million.

Activision executives shed a bit more light on their expectations for the year in a conference call with investors today. Activision's own hardware sales projections were among the topics discussed, and the publisher is apparently banking on the console wars being a three- or perhaps four-horse race for the year. The publisher expects the Wii and the Xbox 360 to lead the pack with each selling 5 million systems during calendar-year 2007, with the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 not too far behind at 4 million systems each. The publisher also expects handhelds to move 11-12 million systems, but executives did not break out that figure into PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy Advance numbers.

On the software side, Activision suits confirmed that they had another Marvel game in the works, and touted the expected holiday launch of Guitar Hero III. They also assured analysts that they had "significantly increased" their guitar peripheral production capabilities so as to be ready for the holiday season demand and to avoid the shortages at retail that initially befell Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360. On top of that, execs promised to "expand the depth and breadth of the franchise through continued emphasis on Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II," suggesting more content related to those games will be made available.

Activision also announced that id Software's Enemy Territory: Quake Wars for the PC had slipped into its fiscal year's second quarter, which begins in July. However, executives reiterated that the publisher will ship Tony Hawk's Proving Ground and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare during the fourth quarter of calendar year 2007. They also confirmed a new Marvel game was being prepped for fall 2007 and Activision's first James Bond game would arrive next year alongside the first follow-up to Casino Royale. No platforms for the latter two titles were announced.

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