Activision Reports Losses
For the first quarter of calendar year 2010, Activision Publishing expects to release one title during the last week of March, How To Train Your Dragon™. The game is based on DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming 3D movie and is expected to be published for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS™.
Activision Blizzard’s outlook is subject to significant risks and uncertainties including declines in demand for its products, competition, fluctuations in foreign exchange and tax rates, counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors and manufacturers and risks relating to the ongoing ability of Blizzard Entertainment’s licensee, NetEase.com, Inc., to operate World of Warcraft in China on a paying basis without interruption.
The company’s outlook is also based on assumptions about sell through rates for its products, and the launch timing, success and pricing of its new slate of products. Current macroeconomic conditions increase those risks and uncertainties. As a result of these and other factors, actual results may deviate materially from the outlook presented below.
For calendar year 2010, Activision Blizzard expects GAAP net revenues of $4.2 billion, and GAAP earnings per diluted share of $0.47. On a non-GAAP basis, the company expects net revenues of $4.4 billion and non-GAAP earnings per diluted share of $0.70 for the calendar year.
For the first quarter 2010, Activision Blizzard expects GAAP net revenues of $1.1 billion, and GAAP earnings per diluted share of $0.20. On a non-GAAP basis, the company expects net revenues of $525 million and $0.02 earnings per diluted share for the March quarter.
Today at 4:30 p.m. EST, Activision Blizzard’s management will host a conference call and Webcast to discuss the company’s results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2009 and management’s outlook for 2010. The company welcomes all members of the financial and media communities and other interested parties to visit the “Investor Relations” area of www.activisionblizzard.com to listen to the conference call and view a brief supporting slide presentation via live Webcast or to listen to the call live by dialing into 888-695-0608 in the U.S. with passcode 2419717.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Activision Blizzard provides net revenues, net income (loss), earnings (loss) per share and operating margin data and guidance both including (in accordance with GAAP) and excluding (non-GAAP): the impact of the change in deferred net revenues and related cost of sales with respect to certain of the company’s online-enabled games; expenses related to share-based payments; Activision Blizzard’s non-core exit operations (which are the operating results of products and operations of the historical Vivendi Games, Inc. businesses that the company has exited or substantially wound down); costs related to the business combination between Activision, Inc. and Vivendi Games, Inc. (including transaction costs, integration costs, and restructuring activities); the amortization of intangibles and impairment of intangible assets; and the associated tax benefits.
As online functionality becomes a more important component of gameplay, certain of the company’s online-enabled games for certain platforms contain a more-than-inconsequential separate service deliverable in addition to the product, and the company's performance obligations for these games extend beyond the sale of the games. Vendor-specific objective evidence of fair value does not exist for the online services, as the company does not separately charge for this component of online-enabled games. As a result, the company recognizes all of the revenues from the sale of these games ratably over the estimated service period. In addition, the company defers the cost of sales of these titles to match revenues.
Revenue related to the sale of Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft boxed software, including the sale of expansion packs and other ancillary revenues, is deferred and recognized ratably over the estimated subscription life beginning upon activation of the software and delivery of the services.