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Activision Raises Outlook

The Video-game maker raised guidance for the third quarter and year.

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's a blowout holiday season for video-games publisher




The maker of the blockbuster

Guitar Hero

game franchise raised its revenue and earnings outlook for the third quarter and fiscal year based on "better than expected consumer response" to its holiday line up.

The revised outlook marks the highest revenue and EPS Activision's its history for the third quarter and full fiscal year, the company said.

Activision's releases this quarter include

Guitar Hero 3


Call of Duty 4

, two games that

topped the October and November monthly video-games sales charts from The NPD Group, a research firm.

For the third quarter, Activision said it expects revenue of $1.38 billion, an increase from its earlier guidance of $1.23 billion.

Excluding charges of 4 cents a share, Activision forecast earnings of 80 cents a share, compared with its previous outlook of 70 cents a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting revenue of $1.20 billion and earnings of 69 cents a share in the quarter.

Including costs associated with the

recently announced merger with Vivendi Games, Activision expects to earn 76 cents a share in the third quarter, vs. its earlier forecast of 66 cents.

For the full fiscal year, Activision expects revenue of $2.45 billion compared to its earlier guidance of $2.30 billion.

Excluding expenses, Activision now projects income of 95 cents a share for the full fiscal year, vs. its previous outlook of 85 cents a share.

Including charges, EPS is expected to be 85 cents a share, compared with 75 cents a share guided earlier, the company said.

Analysts were expecting $2.27 billion in revenue and earnings of 84 cents a share.

Shares were up 85 cents, or 3.2%, to $27.65 in recent after-hours trading.