Activision Blizzard Inc.'s first-quarter profit beat expectations on strong sales of the videogame maker's most popular titles like Guitar Hero and Call of Duty.

Activision raised its forecast for 2009 earnings per share, excluding items, by 2 cents to 63 cents a share, and boosted its non-GAAP revenue forecast by $100 million to $4.8 billion. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 64 cents per share on revenue of $4.77 billion.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported net income of $189 million, or 14 cents a share.

Earnings excluding the impact of deferred game sales and other charges came in at $111 million, or 8 cents a share. Analysts were expecting earnings of 5 cents a share for the period, according to consensus estimates from FactSet Research.

Revenue was at $981 million. Excluding revenue deferred from online-enabled games, the company said its top line was $724 million. Analysts were expecting $598.5 million for the quarter.

The company said sales for the quarter were driven primarily by its top three game franchises: Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

“Guitar Hero has made music social again and has become one of the most popular ways to experience music,” said Dan Rosensweig, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Guitar Hero franchise. “Today’s fans enjoy a variety of music and are looking for more ways to engage with their favourite songs, artists and fellow fans. These games will let them listen, participate and socialize with music in ways they have never been able to before.”