Record $4bn revenues for Activision

Activision Blizzard has once again bucked the downward trend in the games industry by detailing better than expected Q4 and full year 2009 earnings.

In fact the firm reckons 2009 was the most profitable year in the history of the company.

For the full year Activision Blizzard’s GAAP net revenues were $4.28 billion. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $4.78 billion.

And for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, the publisher’s GAAP net revenues were $1.56bn. On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s net revenues were $2.5bn.

Losses for the quarter widened, however, up to $286 million from a $72 million loss in the year previously.

The firm made $1.3bn from digital revenues in the caledar year, too – the bulk of that coming from World of Warcraft operator Blizzard.

Looking ahead, the firm said that it expects similar results in a year’s time – although a ‘more focused’ Guitar Hero slate will reduce revenues somewhat.

In a statement issued to investors Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, commented: "We delivered better-than-expected calendar year non-GAAP financial results and our fourth quarter non-GAAP net revenues and non-GAAP earnings per share were the highest in our company’s history. On a non-GAAP basis, our performance enabled us to deliver the most profitable year in our company’s history and record operating margin. We generated approximately $1.2 billion in operating cash flow and ended the year with approximately $3.3 billion in cash and investments.

"Despite these challenging times, in 2010 we remain focused on expanding operating margins by growing our high-margin digital/online revenues, directing our resources to the largest and most profitable opportunities and realizing operational efficiencies globally. On a non-GAAP basis, we expect to deliver a year of record net earnings and operating margins and are taking another step towards our long-term objective of operating margins of 30 per cent or more.

In calendar year 2010, we expect our net earnings and operating margin growth will be driven by our product slate that includes Blizzard Entertainment’s Starcraft II and the World of Warcraft expansion pack, Cataclysm, as well as a diversified line-up based on Activision Publishing’s best-selling franchises including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk, together with other well-known titles such as True Crime, Spider-Man and Bakugan."

"Our significant accomplishments in 2009 are the result of the expertise and skills of our employees around the world. Their hard work and commitment to excellence made us stronger even during difficult times.”

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