15. Activision Blizzard
U.S. 2010 digital revenue: $760 million
Snapshot: Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is the most popular massive multiplayer online game in the world. It has more than 12 million subscribers, most of whom pay at least $14.99 a month to play. That has fueled growth at the company’s “digital online channel,” where sales were up 17 percent in 2010; by contrast, sales of its games in retail locations were flat.
Key digital move in 2010: The company released the latest “expansion pack” of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, in December. Within a month, it had sold a record 4.7 million copies.
How we generated our estimate: Publicly traded Activision Blizzard says revenue generated from its “digital online channel” — which in addition to subscription revenue includes downloadable content — was $1.4 billion in 2010, and was nearly a third of its overall sales. About 54 percent of Activision Blizzard’s overall revenue comes from North America — a percentage we also applied to the digital business.