New “Call of Duty” on Way to $1 Billion in Sales (ATVI, GME)

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To call the new mega-hit game “Call of Duty: Black Ops” a success would be the understatement of 2010 in video games.  Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) has set a record in sales and been given much gamer praise.  The game’s first five days broke $650 million in global sales.  The game launch did not do any magic for GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) in its earnings this morning as the release was after its quarter-end.

Here is the thing to consider.  “Call of Duty: Black Ops” was not only a record in-store video game debut sales.  It is a record for box office sales, online video game sales, apps, and other media sales.  Selling a game for $59.95 a pop and having a mega-hit can pass most forms of media when you consider a movie average now around $10.00 plus or minus a bit in most cities.  This is a call of duty to gamers.  When you consider that Black Friday is on the way and the praised Christmas and holiday season is around the corner, this game launch has a shot at being a $1 billion game even before the end of calendar-2010.

Activision Blizzard’s total 2009 revenues were $4.279 billion, and Thomson Reuters has estimates of only $4.55 billion for all of 2010 and $4.71 billion for all of 2011.  The company is also advertising and accepting orders for Blizzard’s WoW expansion set game called “World of WarCraft: Cataclysm” which is due to be released on December 7, 2010.  Master Chief and the glorious Halo franchise feel so yesterday at the moment.

GameStop posted less than a 5% gain and shares have been fighting over the positive and negative line all morning after its earnings.  Shares are currently down 0.2% at $20.96 and shares had been at $22.00 briefly yesterday for what was very briefly the highest share price going all the way back to June.

Activision Blizzard shares are up 1.1% at $11.75.  So far the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” release has not added major gains to the stock.

JON C. OGG

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