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Activision closes the books on its biggest year yet

Thanks to Black Ops II, Skylanders Giants and Diablo III, Activision Blizzard generated higher revenues in 2012 than in any other year, though warns that it doesn't expect to match these numbers in 2013.
Activision closed the books on 2012 on Thursday, and it had a lot to gloat about. The company says it generated $4.86 billion in revenues for the year, setting a new record for the North American game publisher, which was founded in 1979. Of that, 32 percent -- or $1.54 billion -- came from digital sales. For the fourth quarter ending December 31 specifically, the company outdid both its guidance and analyst projections for revenues. Earnings per share were at $0.78, versus an analyst average estimate of $0.72. Much of this has to do with sales of the company's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which saw higher dollar sales than any other game last year. Skylanders Giants, the sequel to 2011's kid-friendly game that sees in-game content delivered through separate sales of action figure accessories, was the fifth-highest earning game of 2012. To date, Activision has sold 100 million of these toys worldwide. World of Warcraft, meanwhile, finally dipped below 10 million subscribers: the company says 9.6 million people currently pay to play the game. While the company has been able to stop the game's bleeding, it still has more subscribers than any other MMO. They're impressive numbers for a company that has practically ignored social and mobile games to date, relying instead on blockbuster console and PC games and digital add-on sales. CEO Bobby Kotick says while he's looking forward to 2013, he doesn't expect it to compare well to 2012, "due to a challenged global economy, the ongoing console transition and a difficult year-over-year comparison because of Blizzard’s record-shattering Diablo III success in 2012."

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