Activision Blizzard, the biggest video game publisher, raised its earnings outlook for the year and said its quarterly profit rose as more gamers bought content over the Internet for its biggest franchise, Call of Duty.

Activision shares rose about 4 percent after-hours.

The company on Wednesday raised its earnings forecast to 77 cents per share, beating Wall Street's average estimate of 75 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the third quarter, Activision is expecting a profit of 1 cent per share on revenue of $530 million.

The company is optimistic about the second half of the year, especially because customers have been reserving more-than-expected copies of its upcoming game, Modern Warfare 3, the next version in the Call of Duty series. The game, which shattered records last fall, will launch on November 8.

Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in an interview he could not disclose the number of pre-orders but said they were meaningfully different from last year.

It's sort of surprising because you always go into the launch of a new 'Call of Duty' game with an expectation that ... it's a hard number to beat, but if you look at the player enthusiasm for 'Modern Warfare 3,' I don't know if we've really seen anything like it in our 21-year history.

Sales rose 2 percent to $699 million, which beat the $600 million in sales that analysts on average were expecting.

Its net income increased to $335 million, or 29 cents per share, from $219 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding deferred revenue and restructuring charges, the company earned 10 cents per share, up from 6 cents per share a year earlier.

Activision shares rose to $12.25 in extended trading, after closing up 1.1 percent at $11.82 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Richard Chang)