'MX' boosts THQ; 'Hawk,' Crime' aid Activision

The holidays may be over, but consumers have kept up the gifts for the vidgame industry.

Publishers THQ and Activision, which vie for the No. 2 spot in the biz after market leader EA, both announced significantly increased guidance for the current quarter based on stronger-than-expected sales of hit games from the holiday season.

Santa Monica-based Activision said Thursday that net revenue in the current quarter would be $155 million, up 24% from the previous prediction of $125 million. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be 1¢, while Activision previously said it would lose 1¢ per share.

New guidance means Activision’s performance for its fiscal year ending March 31 should be the highest in its history.

Higher-than-expected worldwide sales for titles such as “Tony Hawk’s Underground,” “True Crime: Streets of L.A.” and “Call of Duty” drove the new guidance, as well an adjustment to its estimated effective tax rate.

THQ followed suit Friday, upping its revenue guidance for the current quarter, also its fourth, from $90 million to $110 million. Earnings per diluted share are now expected to be 12¢, up from the previous prediction of 7¢. Company was helped by continued strong performance for its 2003 hits, as well as recently released “MX Unleashed.”

In the same quarter last year, THQ lost $7.7 million, or 20¢ per share, on revenue of $66.8 million.

Shares in Activision rose over 11 percent Thursday after the new guidance was announced and went up another one percent Friday, closing at $15.30. THQ stock closed up 4.5 percent Friday at $19.29.

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