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Destiny did its job, and Activision had a monster Q3.
The publisher reported earnings per share of 23 cents today, which is a dime ahead Wall Street’s expectations of 13 cents. Activision generated $1.17 billion over the three months ending Sept. 30. That’s up from $657 million during the same period in 2013.
“Our record third-quarter results were driven by Destiny,” Activision chief executive officer Bobby Kotick said in a statement, “which was the biggest new video game franchise launch of all time, as well as strong sales from Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft — which now has over 20 million registered players — and World of Warcraft.”
Activision launched Destiny during the last quarter, and the sci-fi shooter was a huge contributor to the publisher’s bottom line, with 9.5 million copies sold for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360 consoles. The company also saw continued earnings from its resurgent World of Warcraft massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which is seeing subscribers return in anticipation of its upcoming expansion. Monthly paying members are now up to 7.4 million for WOW.
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Looking into 2015, Activision plans to launch its free-to-play Call of Duty: Online game in China, which is a massive audience that spends more than $8 billion every year on PC games.
Prior to these earnings, analysts were confident that Activision would beat its previous guidance despite the mixed critical reception for Destiny. That game was easily the tentpole release for Activision in the previous quarter, and it seemed to deliver even though many reviews and fans voiced concerns regarding the shooter’s quality.
Looking forward, Activision is raising its full-year guidance thanks to the strong Q3. The company now expects to generate $4.325 billion, which is up from the previous estimate of $4.24 billion.
Yesterday, Activision debuted its latest release in the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, Advanced Warfare. Analysts are warning that this perennial hit could dip in sales for the second year in a row — although early reception from fans suggests that gamers are enjoying the game very much.
Advanced Warfare will also likely get a boost from a discounted Xbox One bundle for the holidays. Microsoft revealed a $450 version of the 1TB Xbox One that typically retails for $500. That deal will run through early January.
Call of Duty is easily one of the best-selling releases every year, so its performance is crucial to Activision and the industry as a whole.
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