Activision’s Profit Beats as Forecast Falls Dhort

Activision Blizzard Inc., the largest U.S. video-game maker, posted first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by top-selling titles from the Skylanders and Call of Duty series.

Profit excluding items totaled 19 cents in the three months ended March 31, Santa Monica, California-based Activision said today in a statement, topping the 10-cent average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue dropped 4 percent to $772 million, while analysts anticipated $686.1 million.

The company’s second-quarter profit forecast is below estimates, however, as Activision invests in new titles scheduled for release before Christmas. Activision will spend more than $500 million creating and promoting games such as the Destiny open world shooter -- a game scheduled for September -- Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said in a interview.

“To deliver large new intellectual property at the scale we’re attempting to do, those are the kinds of requirements you have,” Kotick said in a phone interview. “The investments are positioning us to be able to deliver a lot of services, virtual items and things we’re doing that will allow you to have continuous content updates.”

The company, which in October bought back majority control from Vivendi SA, is spending on datacenters, production and marketing to bring such titles to fast-selling PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles from Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., he said.

Net income fell 36 percent to $293 million, or 40 cents a share, last quarter from $456 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier.

Activision expects profit of 1 cent this quarter, excluding some items, which trails the 5 cents anticipated by analysts. The revenue forecast of $600 million came in higher then the $586.5 million analysts anticipated.

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