Activision is a giant company with a small problem: Most of their revenue comes from three video games.
Buried in Activision's annual report for Fiscal Year 2009, the same one that had news of a major shake-up at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward, were some interesting numbers.
"A significant portion of our revenues has historically been derived from products based on a relatively small number of popular franchises and these products are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of our profits," the report points out.
For example, it points out that in fiscal 2009, which ended in December, that their top three franchises, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, and World of Warcraft, accounted for about 68 percent of their net revenues for the year.
Further into the report, the company points out that World of Warcraft accounts for a staggering 98 percent of Blizzard's revenue. Ninety-eight percent! That's up from the previous two years when the hugely popular massively multiplayer online game accounted for a mere 97 percent.
What does all of that mean to Activision?
"Due to this dependence on a limited number of franchises, the failure to achieve anticipated results by one or more products based on these franchises may significantly harm our business and financial results," according to the report.
Or, in Brian terms, one bad Call of Duty, one under-performing Guitar Hero, or, don't even think it, a sudden disinterest in World of Warcraft leveling and Activision will be in a world of hurt.
No wonder things are so tense over at Infinity Ward right now.