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Activision takes third-party crown for H1 2007

Guitar Hero helped Activision to USD 397.8 million in software sales for the first half of 2007 compared to EA's USD 365.7m.

Activision was the top-grossing third-party games publisher for the first half of 2007 according to NPD Group data, according to an LA Times report.

That puts Electronic Arts - the dominant force in third party publishing for so long - in the shade, with respective first-half sales for Activision and EA at USD 397.8 million and USD 365.7 million.

Activision's success has been attributed in large part to ongoing sales of Guitar Hero on PS2 and Xbox 360. Both versions topped their respective US sales charts for June, with analysts predicting Guitar Hero: Rock the 80s to be among July's biggest successes on PS2.

"We've never been better positioned as a company to take advantage of the growth in the videogame industry," Bobby Kotick, Activision CEO, told the LA Times. "For 17 years, I've focused on becoming the number one videogame company, and we're getting a lot closer to achieving that objective."

Activision picked up Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane for a reported USD 100 million last year - something that seems to be working out, with sales of Guitar Hero for the year expected to hit USD 360 million by analysts quoted in the LA Times report.

However the publisher will need to keep pushing hard if it's to withstand EA's fourth quarter line-up, which includes a number of highly anticipated new titles that directly compete with Activision's - including Rock Band.

That title has been developed by Guitar Hero's original developer Harmonix, after MTV bought the company following Activision's acquisition of Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane. Many commentators expect the EA-backed title, with its fundamental gameplay similarities and wider range of musical game controllers, to succeed as Guitar Hero's grip slackens. Activision, for its part, is preparing Guitar Hero III for release on a wider range of formats - including Nintendo Wii and DS.

Elsewhere, while Activision can point to titles like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - one of the big hits of the recent E3 Media & Business Summit - and a new Tony Hawk's title, EA has Medal of Honor and its own skating title, SKATE, waiting in the wings, along with the likes of FIFA 08 and Madden 08, which have traditionally driven the publisher's sales onto another plane.

Not that Activision's shaken by any of it, with executive vice president of publishing Robin Sue Kaminsky telling the LA Times: "We're well situated to win."

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Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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