Activision says Q1 results ahead of plan

Driven by demand for 'World of Warcraft,' 'Call of Duty'

NEW YORK -- Activision Blizzard on Thursday slightly lifted its earnings expectations for 2010 but said it remains cautious about consumer spending.

The video game giant said its first-quarter earnings per share and revenue will come in ahead of its previous forecasts of 20 cents per share and $1.1 billion, respectively. Plus, it slightly boosted its full-year earnings outlook from 47 cents to 49 cents per share.

The company cited "strong global demand" for its "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" games and said certain operating expenses have been pushed into the second quarter.

"We benefitted from the record-breaking launch of the "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" map pack, which was previously expected to launch in the June quarter," said CEO Robert Kotick. The pack sold over 1 million downloads on March 30, its first day of release.

But Kotick added that "we remain cautious about the economy and consumer spending and the fact that the majority of our games are not expected to launch until the fall."

"The company continues to benefit from the strength of its core brands," BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams said. "The company will continue to benefit from the strength of these brands through 2010 and should benefit from a strong launch slate for the current year, including the highly anticipated title 'Starcraft II'."

Williams reiterated his "outperform" rating on the stock, which was down minimally as of 11:45 a.m. EST.
comments powered by Disqus