Activision beats forecasts

Activision has beaten analyst expectations in its first quarter, posting significant rises in sales and profits.

The firm said its success is down to continued sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and continued success with World of Warfare.

For the quarter ended March 31, Activision posted sales of $1.3 billion compared with $714 million a year ago. Profits came in at $381 million compared with $189 million in ’09.

CEO Bobby Kotick said, "Our better-than-expected first quarter performance was driven by strong global consumer demand for Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Modern Warfare 2 was the number one title overall in the US and Europe for the quarter, which illustrates the continued momentum of our catalogue."

He pointed to the success of add-on packs for MW2, saying that over 17 million map packs have been bought for the Call of Duty series. "We’re in a unique position compared to any other video game company because the majority of our profits are truly from digital revenues," he said. Activision confirmed that a new MW2 pack would be launched later this year.

In an investors conference call Kotick also addressed two of the big Activision-related stories of the past few weeks. He said that he expected "a few more" Infinity Ward employees to move on, but said that the original departure of its two senior execs was "unavoidable".

"It was not done lightly, and was not done to deprive them of bonuses. Nor was it done without a great deal of deliberation about the consequences. I personally considered them my friends but their conduct was a compromise of our friendship, which was disappointing," he said.

On signing Bungie, he explained, "We continue to find ways to add profitable franchises that allow us to increase our operating margins. This relationship will allow Activision to broaden its product portfolio with exciting new games and underscores our commitment to partnering with the best creative talent in the industry."

The firm also confirmed that Guitar Hero 6 will arrive in the autumn, with DJ Hero 2 soon afterwards.

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