Activision Beats Expectations With Quarterly Results

"Call of Duty: Black Ops II"
"Call of Duty: Black Ops II"

Buoyed by mammoth franchises Skylanders and Call of Duty, video game company Activision Blizzard reported third-quarter financial results that exceeded its guidance and the expectations of analysts.

The company also raised its outlook for the full year, and shares were climbing 2 percent in the after-hours session after having risen fractionally to $16.54 during regular trading hours.

The company said it earned 5 cents per diluted share and 8 cents when adjusted for certain items -- about double what analysts had expected -- on revenue of $691 million, while analysts had predicted $593 million.

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A year ago, the company earned 20 cents per share on $841 million revenue.

Activision Blizzard said in its earnings release Wednesday that its massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft ended the quarter with 7.6 million subscribers, a loss of about 100,000 in the course of the preceding three months.

Activision Blizzard reported quarterly earnings the same day it disclosed that Call of Duty: Ghosts had already passed $1 billion in "sell-in" sales just one day after the game was launched on Tuesday. Sell-in is the number of copies shipped to retailers.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, CEO Bobby Kotick called Call of Duty: Ghosts, along with another recently released game, Skylanders SWAP Force, "two of the best games ever created."

Kotick said the arrival this month of Microsoft's Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will make for "exciting and challenging" times for the video game industry, and that he has tested the consoles and wholeheartedly approves of them.

"Every consumer who buys one of these devices will be incredibly glad they have one," he said. 

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