Activision will launch a new Call of Duty title in late 2013, and the company is expecting that it won't perform quite as well as the previous game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg during an investor call today.
"For Call of Duty, consistent with our past practices, we are planning for the mainline release in Q4 to be down versus 2012," Hirshberg said. Activision's fiscal year runs along with the calendar year, so the company's fourth quarter runs from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
Black Ops 2 helped push Activision to record revenues in 2012 — it was the year's best-selling game in dollars throughout the U.S. and Europe, and brought in $1 billion of revenue within 15 days of its launch in November. According to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, 2012 was "the best year in [Activision's] history," and the company expects a drop in revenue from 2012 to 2013 due to "a challenged global economy" and "the ongoing console transition."
Hirshberg noted that those circumstances make it tougher to predict how 2013 will play out.
"For 2013 on the Activision Publishing side, there is increased volatility this year due to the ongoing console transition, which makes predicting the future more challenging than in normal years in the cycle," he said.
Activision's earnings expectations for 2013 don't take two major projects into account, Call of Duty Online (developed by Tencent) and Bungie's Destiny. The company has not announced a release date for either game, but will be spending money throughout the year to fund their development.