Activision Blizzard Rides 'Black Ops' to Record Quarter

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Activision Blizzard rode massive sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops – the No. 1 game so far this year in both Europe and the U.S. – to a record June quarter.

The company said Wednesday that revenue rose 19% in the second quarter to $1.15 billion and net income jumped 53% to $335 million.

Black Ops debuted in November and took 42 days to reach $1 billion in sales, the third quickest entertainment property behind the films Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Avatar to reach that milestone.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said his goal is to become No. 1 with the release this year of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. To accomplish that, the game would have to reach $1 billion in sales in less than 17 days, the record set by Harry Potter.

Kotick also told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that rumors of the death of Guitar Hero are premature and a reboot is being readied, though probably not for public consumption until 2013, maybe later.

“We took it out of the market to reinvent it,” he said. “We’ll re-release it with a lot of newness.”

Kotick said that while mobile and Facebook games like the ones Zynga is famous for represent “great opportunities for the future,” they make up only a small portion of Activision Blizzard’s revenue so far. He also said he prefers to build such games in-house and isn’t looking to acquire any of the hot new companies whose games have become ubiquitous on iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices.

“One of the core tenets of an acquisition for us is that the company has to have a history of profitability,” he said.

Activision Blizzard’s financial results beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts and the company boosted guidance for the remainder of the year.

“I don’t think anybody was remotely expecting these results,” Kotick told THR. “We were surprised. What ended up happenning, was that all of our online content was really well received. There was a lot of enthusiasm for what we put out for Call of Duty.”

He said users have logged more than 2.2 billion hours of Black Ops online gameplay.

Shares of Activision Blizzard were up 1% to $11.82 in regular trading Wednesday and were surging more than 7% after the closing bell.

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