Activision Raises Annual Outlook Based on Strong Q1 Revenues, Profits

Activision, the videogame publisher known for Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, just blew away expectations for the first quarter.

The company said both revenues and earnings exceeded its expectations for the quarter, even though they were down from the year-ago period.

In the first quarter, Activision recorded a profit of 33 cents a share on revenues of $1.17 billion. Those results beat its internal forecast of 22 cents a share on revenues of $965 million, but is down compared to the first quarter 2011 when it reported a profit of 42 cents a share on revenues of $1.45 billion.

Due to a better-than-expected quarterly performance, the Santa Monica-based game maker said it was raising its guidance for the year to a profit of 65 cents a share on revenues of $4.2 billion, an increase of two cents and $50 million respectively.

In a release, Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick pointed to strong demand for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures as well as Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft for the better-than-expected results.

In particular, analysts were eager to see how World of Warcraft performed with the introduction of Electronic Arts’ Star Wars: The Old Republic. Activision said the number of subscribers for WoW, the online massively multiplayer game, held steady at 10.2 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter compared to the end of the year.

On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes some items, Activision said it earned a profit of 6 cents a share on revenues of $587 million.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn four cents on revenues of $555.9 million, according to First Call.

In after hours trading, the company’s shares were up 10 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to $12.40 a share on the report.

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