StarCraft Delay, Weak Economy Has Activison Expecting A Lot Less Money

Activision Blizzard reported another quarter of growth today but announced it expects to make $250 million less in 2009 than originally forecast.

The company reported $1.04 billion in revenue for the company's second quarter of 2009, ended June 20, 2009. Executives credited sales of franchises World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero and Call of Duty as well as new games Prototype, Transformers and Wolverine.

Testifying to the continued strength of World of Warcraft, company executives said that more than a third of Activision Blizzard's revenue from the past three months came from MMOs.

But the mega-publisher lowered its revenue expectations for the year, from $4.3 billion for 2009 to $4.05 billion. The 2010 delay of StarCraft II and the first-person shooter Singularity were blamed, along with lower retailer orders for upcoming games, a byproduct of a weak economy.

Activision chairman Bobby Kotick said he expects game sales to be "flat to down slightly in America and Europe" for the year. "We are very concerned," he said about the forthcoming holiday market. "There's a lot of reason to be concerned and cautious." Activision's line-up is strong, he said, but the market overall is facing a tough period with shoppers not as eager to buy new games.

Activision's big hopes for the end of the year are Guitar Hero 5, Modern Warfare 2, DJ Hero, Blur, Band Hero, Tony Hawk Ride and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.