Orange County Business Journal

Blizzard's Sales Up; No New Games This Year

Chris Casacchia Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Irvine-based online game maker Blizzard Entertainment Inc. reported second-quarter sales of $313 million, up 14% from a year earlier.

Blizzard, a unit of Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard Inc., posted an operating profit of $135 million, down 20% from a year earlier.

Record digital sales of Blizzard's online games, including “World of Warcraft” and Activision's “Call of Duty” downloads, drove results for parent Activision, which saw second-quarter sales jump 17% from a year earlier to $1.1 billion.

In the second quarter, Blizzard had two of top 10 PC titles with “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm” and “StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.”

Blizzard has not confirmed a launch date for its next global release, and the company does not expect to release a new game in 2011, officials said Wednesday.

That has led Blizzard to seek growth in China in between big releases.

China already is one of the largest markets for Blizzard’s “StarCraft II,” a real-time strategy game in which three races face off in a science-fiction world.

The game, played on computers with others over the Internet, was released in China in the first quarter, about six months behind other markets.

In mid July Blizzard released “Cataclysm,” the latest version of its flagship game, in China.

About 12 million people play “World of Warcraft,” facing off in epic online battles as two fictional races fight for control of a fantasy world.

Strong online sales led Activision to raise its its outlook for rest of the year, projecting adjusted profit of $877 million on revenue of $4 billion for 2011.

That’s up from an earlier projection of adjusted profits of $843 million on revenue of $3.95 billion.

Blizzard is the largest software company based in Orange County with yearly sales of about $1.4 billion.

The company is part of France’s Vivendi SA, which bought Activision in 2008 and combined it with Blizzard in a deal valued at about $10 billion.