Activision Q1 2011: $1.4 billion

Black Ops First Strike passes 3 million.

Activision Blizzard amassed a (net revenue) fortune of $1.4 billion during January, February and March this year.

It's a record take for the world's biggest publisher, which took $1.3 billion in the same period in 2010. Rubbish.

Can you guess the games that made it possible? Yes it's Call of Duty: Black Ops and World of Warcraft.

Black Ops became the best selling video game (in dollars) of all time during that quarter. And the First Strike map pack - released 1st February on Xbox 360, 3rd March on PS3 and 25th March on PC - did serious business. First Strike was downloaded 20 per cent more than the Stimulus Pack for Modern Warfare 2 "during the comparable period in 2010". Take 20 per cent of the one-week Stimulus Pack tally of 2.5 million sales and you get a figure of 500,000, meaning First Strike has sold at least three million units.

First Strike also prompted a rise in average Black Ops play time to 58 minutes per day. That's even higher than Facebook commands at 55 minutes per day.

Meanwhile, World of Warcraft (fuelled by the December 2010 release of expansion pack Cataclysm) commanded $395 million in 'online subscriptions' during January, February and March. Note that 'online subscriptions' to Activision Blizzard encompasses "subscriptions, boxed products, expansion packs, licensing royalties and value-added services".

Activision Blizzard's digital business accounted for 30 per cent of the total calendar Q1 take.

"Digital content continues to represent a significant portion of our revenues and increased by about $100 million year over year," commented Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, who said Black Ops players have now accrued more than 1.2 billion hours of online gameplay.

Looking ahead to this year, Activision Blizzard noted the Escalation Pack for Black Ops, film game Transformers: Dark of the Moon and telly spin-off Kinect game Wipeout in the Zone. Looking further ahead, Activision Blizzard mentioned the new "next-generation MMO" (codenamed Titan) by Blizzard; a micro-transaction Call of Duty game for China; "a best-in-class digital platform surrounding the Call of Duty franchise"; a new game by Bungie; and Skylander's Spyro's Adventure - "an innovative new universe bringing the world of toys, video games and the internet together in an unprecedented way".

In a conference call following the report, Activision announced "unprecedented online" features for the new Call of Duty game, a date for the external Diablo III beta and a new James Bond game.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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