Activision Cashes In With $500 Million in “Sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II”
“Call of Duty: Black Ops II”, the emblematic first person shooter (FPS) developed by Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), made more than $500 million (£314 million) in retail revenue in the first 24 hours of the game’s launch. According to the game-maker this is the fourth consecutive year in which the Call of Duty series has been the biggest entertainment release. Sales topped last year’s Modern Warfare 3 release, which made $400 million (£251 million) in the UK and North America.
“Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Wars,’ the two most successful movie franchises of all time,” Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said as quoted by the MarketWatch. He also warned that due to the difficult business environment, the company remains cautious about its outlook in the next year. As more and more users abandon consoles and satisfy a growing part of their gaming hunger with smartphones and tablets, Activision has decided to alter its strategy and release fewer but higher quality games.
Bloomberg reported that the launch of the newest Call of Duty was timed to take advantage of the coming Christmas shopping season. According to Michael Olson, a Piper Jaffray analyst, the revenue made on the release of the game typically accounts for 25 percent to 35 percent of the total through December.
On Friday Activision Blizzard’s shares rose by 4.65 percent or 0.49 cents to $11.05. Year-on-year the stock has lost 8.3 percent of its value.
**The Skylanders Series**
Another great performer this year for Activision Blizzard turned out to be the second instalment of the Skylanders game. “Skylanders Giants” sold over 160 percent more units compared to the first edition of the hit toy/game hybrid. “Skylanders Giants software performed well, breaking into the top 10 title ranking, and selling over 160 per cent more units than last year’s Skylanders title did in its debut month at retail.” said industry analyst Liam Callahan.
!m[The Game Maker Bets on a Narrow High Quality Portfolio](/uploads/story/841/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)The game is revolutionary in the sense that it combines action figures and video gaming. In order for customers to experience the full scope of the game, they have to buy additional toys and attach them through a special USB port, unlocking new characters and new zones available for play. As Forbes puts it, the game is a “blatant and brilliantly executed cash grab”. When looking at revenue from both software and toys, the first Skylanders was the #1 selling video game in 2011.
**Rumours of “Disney Infinity”**
According to Disney’s fansite Stitch Kingdom, the company is working on a game called “Disney Infinity”, which features “plastic tokens” that allows users to teleport their favourite Disney characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow into a virtual world via an infrared device or USB. The starter pack will most probably contain the video game and a few free characters but to unlock the entire game, customers will have to purchase additional toy figures. If rumours turn out to be true, Disney’s game will become a major challenger to the Skylanders series, as the company has a massive arsenal of characters from its famous and much-loved brands including Star Wars, Toy Story, Pixar and Marvel.