Despite having a host of blockbuster franchises under its belt like Guitar Hero and Call of Duty, analysts estimate that about half of Activision-Blizzard's earnings in fiscal 2009 can be attributed to MMO behemoth World of Warcraft.
Stern Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia reported Wednesday that the subscription-based WoW amounted to 30 cents per share out of 60 - a total of about $400 million for the fiscal year that ended in December. With 11.5 million people around the world currently playing - yes, those are current, active subscriptions, not counting players who have moved on - that number isn't too hard to believe.
The report only mentions the subscription numbers as a source of income, leading one to wonder if those figures include the revenue from the record-shattering Wrath of the Lich King launch. If not, then that already-impressive 50% figure might well be even higher.
With those sorts of numbers, it's no wonder that Stern Agee agrees with its fellow analysts at Lazard Capital Markets - if you're looking to invest in videogame companies, Acti-Blizz is your best bet. Even so, Bhatia is reportedly concerned about the industry giant's financial guidance, lowering his 2009 estimates from $5.2 billion to $4.9 billion.
Still, as long as WoW remains a money-printing machine like it currently is (and it certainly shows no signs of slowing down), it's hard to imagine a situation in which anything short of complete financial idiocy causes Activision-Blizzard to stop raking in money hand over fist.