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Activision beats Q2 estimates, preps for massive Q3

Publisher Activision has announced revenues for the second quarter of FY 2006 which significantly beat analyst estimates for the period, and is gearing up for several major releases in the third quarter.

Publisher Activision has announced revenues for the second quarter of FY 2006 which significantly beat analyst estimates for the period, and is gearing up for several major releases in the third quarter.

For the September quarter, the publisher announced revenues of $222.5 million - down 28 per cent over last year, but still significantly higher than the $200 million projected by most analysts and by the company itself.

The firm did however record a net loss of $13.2 million for the quarter, compared to a $25.5 million profit last year; but in light of the fact that only two titles were released in North America during the period (with no global launches), this is unsurprising.

The real focus for Activision is the third quarter, where the company plans to launch a range of major titles, all based on its own IP - namely Tony Hawk: American Wasteland (which came out in the middle of last month), Call of Duty: Big Red One, Call of Duty 2, True Crime: New York City and Neversoft's intriguing new title, GUN.

The strength of the firm's line-up - and, crucially, the fact that all of its key titles are self-owned IP rather than film or sports licenses - has left most analysts upbeat on the company's prospects for the year.

Activision itself has left its Q3 guidance unchanged at $790 million in revenues, but has lifted its full-year guidance slightly, from $1.47 billion to $1.48 billion.

"We reiterate our BUY rating on Activision despite what will likely be a tough holiday for the entire industry," commented Banc of America Securities analyst Gary Cooper. "We think Activision is positioned well with a solid balance sheet, large marketing campaign (perhaps too big), and a solid line-up of high-margin, wholly-owned IP games."

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Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.