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Activision Blizzard posts better-than-expected Q3 results: $51m in profits on $745m in revenue

Thanks to "strong performance" from industry staples like Activision Publishing's Call of Duty franchise and Blizzard Entertainment's perennial MMO World of Warcraft and a stellar launch for Blizz's long-anticipated sequel StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Activision Blizzard exceeded its prior third-quarter outlook of $600 million with net revenues of $745 million in the period ending September 30, 2010. Compare that to net revenues of $703 million for the same period last year. It also reported profits of $51 million for the quarter versus $15 million for the same period last year.

"For the third quarter, we exceeded our net revenues and earnings per share outlook and delivered strong year-over-year growth," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick explained. "Activision Publishing is about to introduce what is likely to be the biggest entertainment launch of the year with Call of Duty: Black Ops, followed by Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which we believe will deliver an incredible breadth of new content to the world's largest massively multiplayer online role playing game community." That's another way of saying, "If you think these Q3 numbers are great, wait until you see next quarter!"

And with Q4 capping off Activision Blizzard's fiscal (and calendar) year, Kotick notes that things are looking better than ever for ol' Actiblizzard. "As a result of our over-performance, we are raising our calendar year 2010 net revenue and earnings outlook. We expect to deliver the most profitable year in our history with record operating margins." Specifically the publishing giant is raising its outlook for net revenues from $4.18 billion to $4.28 billion – shareholders should like the sound of that. Gamers will just enjoy Black Ops and Cataclysm. And gamers who are also shareholders can use some of that money to pay for the games you just bought. Investing!

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