Shares of Activision Blizzard Inc. rose Friday after the video game publisher posted strong third-quarter results and backed its full-year outlook amid a difficult time for the video game industry.
The company also put high hopes on its upcoming game, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," which comes out next week. CEO Bobby Kotick said in a conference call with analysts Thursday the game is on track to become the largest video game launch of all time, and could even be one of the largest entertainment launches ever.
Activision was among several other video game companies in recent days that reiterated guidance for the year, said Broadpoint AmTech analyst Benjamin Schachter.
"With low sentiment for the group, the reiterations should give investors some comfort that yes, Christmas is coming, even for the video game industry," he wrote in a note to investors, keeping a "Buy" rating on the company's shares.
He added, however, that the "real story" with Activision is Blizzard, which joined forces with the Santa Monica, Calif.-based game publisher in July 2008 when Vivendi SA bought a majority stake in Activision and combined it with its games unit.
Blizzard is behind the immensely popular "World of Warcraft" computer games. Schachter said that, beginning in 2010, "Blizzard moves from being a one-game story for investors (World of Warcraft) to launching 'StarCraft 2' and the new Battle.net," an online gaming platform Blizzard is relaunching.
"To get an idea of the passion and potential of Blizzard players, investors should look up 'Spectral Tiger Loot Card' on eBay, where you'll see many collectors paying upwards of $1,000 in the secondary market for the right to have their World of Warcraft character ride a digital translucent Tiger in the game," he wrote.
Shares of Activision rose 52 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $11.38 in morning trading.