non-GAAP basis) in the quarter ending September 30, 2009 -- that's $55 million more than the suits hoped to stack, according to previous projections. While the blockbuster adaptation of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen might have played a part in this outpouring of our money, we're gonna go with Kotick's explanation: "Our performance was driven by positive audience response to Activision Publishing's Guitar Hero 5, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, and the Guitar Hero and Call of Duty franchises, as well as Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft."
In fact, the CEO called Guitar Hero the year's "#1 best-selling third-party franchise in North America and Europe" through September, claiming that U.S. sales of music games increased 72 percent year over year in September. Last year's big-band-box edition, World Tour, and Call of Duty: World at War combined for total, world domination, becoming this year's "#1 and #2 best-selling third-party titles" in North America and Europe through September, according to Activision. Additionally, World at War DLC map pack sales continued to climb last quarter and have now surpassed 7.5 million purchases.
Needless to say, the publisher is not backing off of its prior financial outlook. Activision anticipates annual net revenues of $4.5 billion (on a non-GAAP basis) at the close of the year. Did you remember to feign surprise?