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In a conference call with analysts, Activision Publishing president and CEO Mike Griffith showered praise on his company's bread and butter franchises, Call of Duty and Tony Hawk. According to NPD, Call of Duty 3 racked up over $85.8 million in US sales from its release in November until the end of the year. Activision said it also took in over $10 million from international sales of Call of Duty 2 map packs on Xbox Live Marketplace during the quarter.
US 2006 sales of Tony Hawk's Project 8 exceeded $43.9 million, while Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam eked out just over $9.0 million. Despite the latter's lackluster numbers, Activision also announced it was porting the game to the PlayStation 2 during the April-June 2007 quarter.
Above all, though, Griffith singled out Guitar Hero II for particular praise. Despite only being released on one platform--the PS2--the game headbanged out over $93.6 million in the US alone in 2006, according to NPD. Griffith credited the game's success to an extensive publicity campaign, which includes some 7,500 demo kiosks, and better-than-expected sales of the PS2.
"The PS2's success certainly benefited Guitar Hero and, you know, some would say Guitar Hero maybe benefited the PlayStation 2 platform as well," he said. Griffith also said he expects the PS2 to have surprising longevity. "If you look back at the PSone, when they got down to that $79 price point that year they sold 2.5 million units and there's a long way to go still on the PS2's price point."
Griffith also gave his company's predictions on how the 2007 console race will shape up. Activision's current estimates peg the Xbox 360 as selling 5 million units in North American during the calendar year. The publisher has the Wii, PS2, and PS3 tied at 4 million apiece. The company also said it expects "10 million handhelds" to be bought on the continent during the 12 months, but did not specify a platform. Activision also expects the $59 price carried by most third-party PS3 and 360 games will hold, as will the $49 sticker slapped on Wii games.
For the company's 2008 fiscal year, which begins on April 1, Griffith said Activision will have 60 individual products, or SKUs, which would "aggressively target the Nintendo platforms." He said the company "will be focusing on our most successful franchises--Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, and Guitar Hero," though he stopped short of announcing specific new titles.
The first quarter of Activision's FY2008 has 360 Guitar Hero II and Call of Duty: Roads of Victory scheduled to ship. It is also the tentative launch window of the long-in-the-making PC shooter Quake Wars: Enemy Territory. Finally, the quarter will see the release of a wide spread of cross-platform games based on three films: Spider-Man 3, Transformers, and Shrek the Third.
A few things:
a) Holy shit at the XBL CoD numbers...10 million? I guess I know why publishers like it.
b) Lackluster THDJ sales? Not suprising. Most people skipped it because of the graphics, even though the gameplay is still solid.
c) Reverse port for Tony Hawk. Oh boy.
"aggressively target the Nintendo platforms." He said the company "will be focusing on our most successful franchises--Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, and Guitar Hero," though he stopped short of announcing specific new titles.