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Activision revs up, credits vidgames

Cyberbiz Brief

Vidgame maker Activision announced record financial results for its just-ended first quarter, with revenues up 73 percent to $191.3 million from the same period last year. Net income was $20.7 million.

The company credited the strong results, which outstripped analyst expectations, to strong performance for its games at a particularly strong time in the vidgame industry’s cycle, particularly for its best-selling titles based on “Spider-Man.” As a result of those factors and a better sense of the games in development, Activision substantially increased earnings-per-share guidance for both the rest of this fiscal year and next. The company now has $550 million in cash, up 97 percent since March.

“Industry fundamentals have never been stronger,” said Chairman and CEO Robert Kotick. “And ‘Spider-Man’ did exceptionally well. We’re the only people making money off the web.”

The company also extended its licensing agreement with marquee skateboarder Tony Hawk through 2015. Its “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” is credited with virtually creating the extreme-sports vidgame genre and remains one of the vidgame industry’s most popular franchises. The fourth “Tony Hawk” installment is due in the fall on all major game platforms, with a fifth coming sometime next year.

Kotick said the plan is to handle Hawk, who retired from competition two years ago at age 34, much the way Electronic Arts has handled the durable John Madden NFL football game franchise. Hawk was represented in negotiations by his manager Pat Hawk, William Morris Agency and attorney Jared Levine.

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