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Morhaime: 2010 "most exciting year in Blizzard history"

Blizzards rules US top 5, Cataclysm confirmed for 2010, new IP is "enormous investment"

Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has referred to 2010 as "the single most exciting year in Blizzard Entertainment history."

Speaking in an Activision Blizzard shareholders call, he claimed that "we expect that by the end of 2010, more people will be playing Blizzard games than ever before."

He reiterated previously-released figures showing that StarCraft II had enjoyed a record-breaking launch, and additionally pointed out that, Blizzard games had dominated US PC sales at the end of July.

"The top five was a clean sweep for Blizzard," he said. "StarCraft II, StarCraft II Collector's Edition, StarCraft I Battle Chest, World of Warcraft Burning Crusade and World of Warcraft occupied the entire top of the Amazon PC sales chart for North America that week."

World of WarCraft had been a significant player in a huge revenue boost for Activision, with the publisher's CFO Thomas Tippl revealing that "During the quarter, sales from online channels grew 120% year-over-year, to reach an all-time high and for the first time, accounted for the majority of sales for the quarter." Call of Duty map packs were the other major contributor to this.

Morhaime claimed that the release of StarCraft II had not harmed WarCraft's fortunes, suggesting two distinct audiences for the highly-successful titles. "We've been watching World of Warcraft usage since the StarCraft launch and really haven't seen a big impact to the World of Warcraft usage, which is a great sign."

However, he hinted that uptake of the strategy sequel in Korea, a territory in which the original StarCraft was a mainstay of popular culture, had not been as rapid as hoped. "One thing we're seeing is that StarCraft I remains very popular in Korea, and I think we're going to see a transition period because right now, you're still seeing a lot of StarCraft I pro tournaments broadcast on live TV."

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed that existing Blizzard franchises were not all the developer had in store.

Responding to a query concerning how much Activision would rely on existing licenses, he claimed "Remember, we have two enormous investments: one in Bungie and the other in another project at Blizzard that we haven't given a lot of visibility to. Those are going to be entirely new intellectual properties."

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