Santa Monica video developer Activision Blizzard Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter earnings Tuesday that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for profits and set a company record for quarterly sales. Still, shares were off 1.72 percent in after-hours trading.
The publisher reported earnings per share of 23 cents, 10 cents ahead of Wall Street’s expectations of 13 cents. The video game developer generated $1.17 billion during the three month period ending Sept. 30. Last year’s revenue during the same time frame was $657 million. Profits also increased, from $90 million last year to $173 million this year.
“Our record third-quarter results were driven by ‘Destiny,’” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement, adding the game was the largest ever video game franchise launch. Kotick explained the increase in sales also came from Blizzard Entertainment’s "Diablo III: Reaper of Souls -- Ultimate Evil Edition," "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" -- which now has more than 20 million registered players -- and "World of Warcraft."
This year was a major year for Activision, and the launch of shooter “Destiny” was responsible for a big portion of the company’s success. More than 9.5 million registered users are currently playing the game, and “Destiny” grossed more than $325 million during its first five days on the market.
Digital sales were also a major part of the company’s growth, coming in at $505 million and making up around 43 percent of total revenue. This figure will likely only increase during the holiday season, with highly-anticipated “World of Warcraft” expansion “Warlords of Draenor” launching on Nov. 13 for the PC and Mac. The company also announced two additional franchises, “Call of Duty Online” and “Heroes of the Storm.”
"Looking ahead, we have more opportunities than ever before to fuel our growth by creating great content using new platforms and business models while also expanding into new geographies," Kotick added. "We are embracing all of these growth opportunities with the same commitment to excellence that we have demonstrated over the past 23 years."