Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard’s $1bn number for sales of its latest Call of Duty game sounds impressive – at double the $500m in first-day sales it announced last year – but these figures have a hard-to-grasp ghost-like quality to them. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Even another record-breaking Call of Duty could not rescue the US video game industry from a twelfth consecutive month of declining software sales in November, according to the latest official figures from the NPD research firm.

But the “packaged goods” disc sales are only a part of the picture, now that we have digital and social and mobile games to take into account. Judging by announcements from Facebook and DeNA this week, hard-core gamers seem just as likely nowadays to be competing in these new gaming territories. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The success of Activision Blizzard’s new Call of Duty game for China will hang on its localised production, according to its chief executive.

Bobby Kotick was speaking from China to the FT after Tuesday’s announcement in Shanghai of a partnership with online gaming provider Tencent to bring the world’s biggest video game franchise to the market. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts has criticised its social gaming rival Zynga for paying high prices for “instant one-hit wonders” that give it a “temporary lead” in the charts.

John Riccitiello, chief executive, also used EA’s quarterly earnings call with analysts on Monday to argue the success of EA’s own digital and social strategy, defend falling subscriber numbers for its Star Wars online game and announce a big investment in next-generation console games. Details after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

For anyone seeking holes in Activision’s seemingly bulletproof Call of Duty franchise, there was a chink in the armour exposed in NPD US January sales figures released late on Thursday.

Sales fell nearly 50 per cent year-on-year for the world’s best-selling video game in 2011 – that’s comparing the performance of the latest in the franchise – Modern Warfare 3 – with its predecessor, Black Ops.

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Chris Nuttall

A bit of a shooting match is shaping up in the video game business for later this year as Electronic Arts continues to sound bullish about Battlefield 3, a title that will take on Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 during the holiday season. EA said during its earnings announcement on Tuesday that preorders for the title were 10 times that of its predecessor, Battlefield Bad Company 2, which has sold more than 9m units to date. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Pop quiz question – what Activision Blizzard game will make the biggest waves this holiday season?
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the obvious answer, but Bobby Kotick, Activision chief executive, gave me a different one at E3 this week. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Activision Blizzard’s chief executive Bobby Kotick sees less of a need for new consoles to be shown off at the video game industry’s E3 convention next month, preferring more of a focus on the console makers’ online networks. In a sideways reference to Sony’s problems with its PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s plans to unveil its next-generation console, Mr Kotick told me during a call to discuss first-quarter earnings that the growth of digital sales was changing the game, so to speak. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Gamers worldwide spent $650m on Call of Duty:Black Ops in its first five days on sale last week, according to the latest figures from its publisher Activision Blizzard.

The new record – $100m more for an entertainment launch than its predecessor Modern Warfare 2 a year ago – was the second bit of good news this week for video game publishers. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sales for the video game industry are becoming as bloody and horrific as their best-selling titles.

“The August sales results were, in a word, shocking,” said Wedbush Morgan analysts in a research note on Friday. Read more