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Robust sales of blockbuster titles like Guitar Hero World Tour and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King weren’t enough to keep Activision (NSDQ: ATVI) Blizzard in the black for Q4, as the publisher swung to a loss for Q4. The company reported a GAAP net loss of $72 million or $0.05 per share; that’s in contrast to an $86 million profit and EPS of $0.15 in Q407.
Activision said net income excluding deferred revenue and other charges (non-GAAP) would’ve been $429 million — but that still didn’t stop investors from sending shares down in after-hours trading.
— Strong revenues: The Street’s consensus was about $2.1 billion — and Activision’s non-GAAP net revenues came in at $2.3 billion. It also beat its own estimate of $2.2 billion. GAAP revs were slightly lower, at $1.6 billion, but still up from $453 million in Q407.
— Best-selling games of 2008: With Guitar Hero and Call of Duty, Activision said it had two of the top-five best-selling franchises across all consoles last year, per aggregated stats from NPD, Gfk and Charttrack. Meanwhile, Lich King came in as the best-selling PC title for 2008 in North America and Europe.
— In context: Activision’s mixed performance comes about a week after THQ (NSDQ: THQI) and EA both released poor Q4 reports. And while its rivals may have larger holes to dig out off, the industry-wide layoffs and losses make it clear (if it wasn’t already) that gaming companies aren’t recession proof.
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