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Activision Blizzard sees '10 as its 'most profitable'

The revenue and earnings of the World of Warcraft are up for the quarter, and the company raises its forecast for the rest of 2010.

Call of Duty: Black Ops should help Activision in a big way.
Call of Duty: Black Ops should help Activision in a big way. GameSpot

It's apparently going to be a better year than expected for Activision Blizzard.

The World of Warcraft developer announced yesterday that its third-quarter revenue grew to $745 million, up from $703 million it posted during the same period in 2009.

The company also reported a $51 million profit, representing a gain over the $15 million it tallied in third quarter last year. Its adjusted earnings of 12 cents a share beat Wall Street expectations of 9 cents, according to the Associated Press.

In the first three quarters, Activision Blizzard's revenue stood at over $3 billion. Last year, it generated $2.7 billion during the same period. So far this year, it has generated a $651 million profit, up from the $399 million in the same period in 2009.

The company attributes the gains to the "strong performance" of World of Warcraft and the continued success of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. In its first month of availability, StarCraft II tallied over 3 million unit sales. World of Warcraft now has over 12 million players worldwide.

Going forward, Activision Blizzard now expects to perform better than it had originally anticipated. CEO Robert Kotick said the company is increasing its revenue and earnings forecast for 2010, and he expects it "to deliver the most profitable year in our history."

Kotick's promises shouldn't be taken lightly. Next week, Activision will be launching Call of Duty: Black Ops, the latest iteration in the iconic Call of Duty franchise. The company believes the title will "set an industry record" for preorders, taking the crown from Modern Warfare 2. Last year's Call of Duty release helped Activision tally about $550 million in revenue during the game's first five days of availability.

But it's not just Call of Duty: Black Ops that Activision Blizzard is looking forward to. Blizzard plans to launch World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the third expansion for the game, on December 7.