Call of Duty and Skylanders lead the charge for publishing giant

Activision boasts $5bn revenue in record year

The biggest publisher in the games industry just got a bit bigger today, posting fourth quarter earnings of $1.77 billion.

This beat previous estimates of $1.49 billion, and is a significant improvement on last year’s Q4 figure of $1.41 billion.

Skylanders and Call of Duty lead the charge, with the former toy-based game franchise having sold over 100 million figures for lifetime sales of over a billion dollars as of December 31st.

All told the company beat last year’s revenues by $100 million to pull in $4.86 billion during 2012.

"We are very pleased to report that Activision Blizzard delivered the best performance in its history," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

"With better-than-expected net revenues, record operating margins and record earnings, and over $1.3 billion in operating cash flow, we continue to set the industry success bar. I would like to thank our incredibly talented employees around the world for their passion, drive and creativity, which continues to fuel our success."

Digital sales amounted to 32 percent of total revenue at $1.54 billion, and PC sales were strong as well with Diablo III selling 12 million copies and Mists of Pandaria clocking in as the #3 top-selling PC game on the yearly charts.

"As we look to 2013, we will continue to invest in our established franchises, as well as several new properties. We expect these investments to drive our growth over the long term and to enable us to deliver superior returns to our shareholders in the years to come," said Kotick.

"In the short-term, we expect to continue delivering strong profitability, but below our record setting 2012 performance, due to a challenged global economy, the ongoing console transition and a difficult year-over-year comparison because of Blizzard’s record-shattering Diablo III success in 2012."

Estimated earnings for Q1 2013 are $1.16 billion, with the full-year estimate currently set at $4.09 billion.

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