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Activision Beats $1 Billion In Q2, StarCraft II Delayed

Major publisher Activision netted $1.04 billion in revenues for its second fiscal quarter, edging just past its $1 billion estimate -- but also delayed titles, moving StarCraft II and Singularity into 2010.
Activision netted $1.04 billion in revenues for its second fiscal quarter, edging just past its $1 billion estimate. The publisher's quarter ended June 30. Celebrating the company's fourth straight quarter of better-than-expected results, CEO Bobby Kotick said earnings were driven by strong performance of titles like Prototype, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in addition to the endurance of the company's Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty brands. "During a challenging economic climate, Activision Blizzard grew its quarterly North American and European market share 2.8 points across all platforms to 12.7 percent from 9.9 percent for the previous year," said Kotick. Citing NPD, Chart-Track, and Gfk data, Activision said it was the number one North American third-party console and handheld software publisher during the quarter. But the publisher also shifted two key titles into 2010 -- in addition to Raven Software-developed Singularity, Activision confirmed analyst speculation that Blizzard's StarCraft II will also be moved into the next calendar year. The game has been predicted to sell as many as 4 million units in its opening quarter. Because of the delay of StarCraft II -- timed to coincide with the re-launch of the Battle.net service -- Activision had to lower its outlook for calendar 2009 from $4.3 billion to $4.05 billion. As for Singularity, Activision cited the risks in launching a new IP, and expressed concern that the launch of Modern Warfare 2 might provide too much competition for the game, hampering efforts to establish the property as an "entertainment franchise," according to publishing boss Mike Griffith explained on the company's quarterly results call. "Although there is a great deal of economic uncertainty in the global marketplace, we remain focused on the opportunities afforded by our industry and will continue exploring potential new markets and business models that should enable us to continue expanding our operating margins," Kotick said, adding that the company is currently positioned to invest in "people, products and resources for the long term."

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