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Activision Blizzard earnings: World of Warcraft resists the assault from EA’s Star Wars

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Activision Blizzard has beaten earnings expectations for its third fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31, and its major cash cow is still holding up. World of Warcraft didn’t suffer after Electronic Arts launched its massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic. World of Warcraft ended the year with 10.2 million paying subscribers, down only slightly from 10.3 million in the previous quarter.

Bobby Kotick, chief executive of Activision Blizzard, said in an analyst conference call  that World of Warcraft continues to maintain its status as the No. 1 MMO in spite of EA’s heavily promoted launch of the Star Wars game on Dec. 20.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company is the largest independent publisher of video games, buoyed by franchises such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, World of Warcraft, and its new hybrid toy-game Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.

Activision Blizzard plans to strike back against EA and rivals such as Trion World’s Rift by launching a new expansion for World of Warcraft, dubbed Mists of Pandaria.