Activiblizzard is making that money, money yeah, yeah

After last year’s merge of Blizzard and Activision who both in my mind are great companies in the gaming world. Blizzard having it’s craft series of all types and Activision had Quake and the Tony Hawk under their belts. Now with the companies merged they have made some mad money here is a run down.

From Mark Whiting (

It’s easy to imagine a personified Activision lounging “King Conan” style on a giant gold throne somewhere, lazily tossing sacks of hundred dollar bills into a diamond-encrusted brazer while contemplating the mighty empire that dominion over two billion dollar-selling franchises can create.

Those puzzled at the above picture are advised to take a look at Activision’s just-released 2008 annual fiscal report and the astounding $2.9 billion dollars worth of revenue generated over the last 12 months by its various games.

According to company figures, total revenue for the publisher increased by a stunning 92% over the course of the year, bumping net income (i.e. profit) from $85 million in 2007 to $344 million in 2008. This represents 16 years of consecutive growth for gaming’s #1 third-party publisher and an increase of US market share from 7.2% to a whopping 17.3%.

Despite not having released any actual new games in the bottom quarter of the fiscal year Activision’s Q4 earnings still managed to break company records across the board. Buoyed up by the continual success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (each a billion dollar-selling franchise), Activision managed to close down the year with an astonishing $602.5 million worth of Q4 sales. These numbers, up from $312.5 million for the same time last year, resulted in in $44.2 million worth of profits going straight into the company’s pockets over the last three months.

“Fiscal 2008 was the best year in our history and Q4 was the largest and most profitable non-holiday quarter, even though we did not release any new titles,” mused Robert Kotick, Activision’s chairman and CEO.

“During the fiscal year, we were the #1 US console and handheld publisher in dollars for the first time ever, according to The NPD Group, and we grew our worldwide share of the console, handheld and PC markets year over year,” continued Kotick. “We own or control some of the most successful brands in interactive entertainment, and we will continue to focus our resources on proven properties with broad global appeal.”

Activision expects that these proven properties should continue to print money well into 2009, predicting further growth to the tune of $2.75 billion in revenue for this same time next year.

In a follow-up conference call with investors, Kotick confirmed that Activision shareholders will enjoy a hefty 38% bump in their stock profits over last year as a result of the good news. Also mentioned is the fact that the publisher has plans to increase its lineup of games (or at least its number of SKUs) by 25% over the next year, saturating the market with Activision properties on every conceivable platform and announcing plenty more licensed games based on Marvel and DreamWorks properties, including a 2010 DreamWorks tie-in for Master Mind.

Remarking on the company’s much talked-about impending merger with Vivendi Games, Kotick said simply “We are on track to complete our transaction, which will create the world’s largest and most profitable independent video game company.”

Sadly, Kotick did not also explain his company’s recent decision to ditch the Entertainment Software Association, but one suspects that the fact that membership dues are calculated based on overall revenue might just have a little something to do with it.

Having grown up with both companies and playing several of their games I am very happy. I couldn’t say anything more.

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