Game-Maker Activision Blizzard Earnings Mixed Due to Fewer Launches

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activisionSeveral blockbuster game launches at Activision Blizzard (ATVI) contributed to the company's increase in second quarter net income, but fewer games hitting the market dragged down its revenues.

Activision, maker of the popular "Call of Duty" and "Guitar Hero" games, reported net revenues of $967 million, down from over $1 billion in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share were up three cents to 18 cents from the last year's quarter, with earnings of $219 million, versus $195 million.

Shares fell 70 cents, or 6%, to $11.03 after-hours trading Thursday after the release of results. It closed in regular trading at $11.75 a share, down about a half-percent.

Adjusted revenue, meanwhile, fell 15 percent to $683 million from $801. This is below the $719.8 million that analysts had expected.

Activision CEO Robert Kotick said results were fueled by strong consumer response to the "Call of Duty" and "Warcraft" franchises.

"True Crime" Delayed Until Next Year

"Looking to the balance of the year, we expect to release the best slate in our company's history. Blizzard Entertainment's 'StarCraftII: Wings of Liberty' is off to a strong start worldwide with midnight openings on July 27, at 3,100 GameStop stores in the U.S. and 8,000 retailers around the world," Kotick said.

Activision said Wednesday that "StarCraft II" sold more than 1 million copies in the first 24-hours of its release, becoming the best-selling PC game of 2010. Other launches, such as "Shrek Forever After" and "Singularity" didn't perform as well.

The company announced the delay of the upcoming open-world action title, "True Crime: Hong Kong," from later this year to next year in order to "give the development team more time to deliver the high-quality entertainment experience they envision for the game."

COO Thomas Tippl said for the first time revenue from its online channels allowing game downloads and subscriptions beat retail sales.

The company set high expectations with the upcoming release of "World of Warcraft: Cataclyst," which began a closed beta test on June 30.
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