Very, Very, Very, Very Cool!!

Super Nintendo Classic console launches Sept. 29

Nintendo has announced the Super NES Classic console, a miniaturized version of its 16-bit console from the 1990s and a followup to last year’s wildly popular NES Classic.

The box will launch in stores Sept. 29 for $99.99 Cdn ($79 US) and will include 21 games, including Super Mario World, Final Fantasy III and, notably, the previously unreleased Star Fox 2, the company said Monday.

The console will come packaged with two controllers, an HDMI cable, a USB charging cable and an AC adapter.

“While many people from around the world consider the Super NES to be one of the greatest video game systems ever made, many of our younger fans never had a chance to play it,” Nintendo of Canada chief executive Pierre-Paul Trepanier said in a statement.

“With the Super NES Classic Edition, new fans will be introduced to some of the best Nintendo games of all time, while longtime fans can relive some of their favourite retro classics with family and friends.”

First released in North America in 1991, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System — known as the Super Famicom in Europe and Asia — boasted better graphics and more memory than its predecessor, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Many of the games released on the Super NES are still regarded among the best video games in the medium.

Last fall, Nintendo released the NES Classic, a miniature version of the NES from the ’80s loaded with 30 games. It became one of the most sought-after holiday gifts, but supply shortages made it nearly impossible to find in stores.

It regularly sold for two to three times the $80 Cdn ($60 US) retail price on online auction sites like eBay. Nintendo cancelled production of the NES Classic in April, to the frustration of gamers and collectors worldwide.

The NES Classic only included one controller, unlike the Super NES’s two. Extra NES Classic controllers were sold separately, but they became just as difficult to find in stock as the console.

Shortly before it was discontinued, Nintendo told IGN that it never intended the NES Classic to be a long-term retail product and was caught off guard by its popularity among hardcore gamers as well as casual and lapsed players.

In a statement to Kotaku, Nintendo said it plans to produce “significantly more” units of the Super NES Classic than its predecessor, but currently is only committing to ship units through the end of the 2017 calendar year.

The company said it is focusing its “long-term efforts” to supporting its latest console, the Switch, and the 3DS line of handheld devices in the upcoming years.

Here’s the full list of games preloaded onto the Super NES Classic:

Contra III: The Alien Wars.
Donkey Kong Country.
Final Fantasy III.
Kirby Super Star.
Kirby’s Dream Course.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Mega Man X.
Secret of Mana.
Star Fox.
Star Fox 2.
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting.
Super Castlevania IV.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.
Super Mario Kart.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
Super Mario World.
Super Metroid.
Super Punch-Out!!
Yoshi’s Island.


Can! Not!! Wait!!!

Super Mario Run hits iPhone, iPad on December 15th

Nintendo announced a release date and price for Super Mario Run, the company’s first mobile app to feature its marquee mascot, on Tuesday morning.

Super Mario Run will launch on iOS devices Dec. 15 as a free download to “try elements of the game’s three modes.”

Unlocking the full game will cost $13.99 in Canada. The game will be available on Android devices at a later, as-yet unannounced date.

A new video gives a brief explanation of how the game works with an iPhone or iPad’s touch interface. Mario runs through levels automatically and tapping the screen makes him jump.

The main mode, called World Tour, consists of 24 levels. Toad Rally challenges you to race against other players, hoping to earn the cheers of the diminutive Toad characters commonly found in Mario games. Kingdom Builder allows players to decorate an area of the Mushroom Kingdom with buildings and other in-game items.

Nintendo is partnering with Japanese mobile app company DeNA in developing Super Mario Run under the direction of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.

DeNA is also working on upcoming mobile apps based on the popular Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem series of Nintendo games, due out next year.

Apple surprised tech and gaming analysts when it announced Super Mario Run iOS devices at its iPhone 7 event in September.

Until relatively recently, Nintendo has kept its games on its own hardware. The Super Mario Run news comes following the surprise success of Pokemon GO, developed by Niantic, this past summer.


I want one!!

Atari’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial cartridges found in landfill

A documentary film production company has found buried in a New Mexico landfill hundreds of the Atari E.T. The Extraterrestrial game cartridges that some call the worst video game ever made.

Film director Zak Penn showed one E.T. cartridge retrieved from the dumpsite and says there are hundreds more mixed in the mounds of trash and dirt scooped by a backhoe.

About 200 residents and game enthusiasts gathered early Saturday in southeastern New Mexico to watch backhoes and bulldozers dig through the concrete-covered landfill in search of up to a million discarded copies of E.T. that the game’s maker wanted to hide forever.

“I feel pretty relieved and psyched that they actually got to see something,” said Penn as members of the production team sifted through the mounds of trash, pulling out boxes, games and other Atari products.

Most of the crowd left the landfill before the discovery, turned away by strong winds that kicked up massive clouds of dust mingled with garbage. By the time the games were found, only a few dozen people remained. Some were playing the infamous game in a make-shift gaming den with a TV and an 1980s game console in the back of a van, while others took selfies beside a life-size E.T. doll inside a DeLorean car like the one that was turned into a time machine in the Back To The Future movies.

Among the watchers was Armando Ortega, a city official who back in 1983 got a tip from a landfill employee about the massive dump of games.

“It was pitch dark here that night, but we came with our flashlights and found dozens of games,” he said. They braved the darkness, coyotes and snakes of the desert landfill and had to sneak past the security guard. But it paid off.

He says they found dozens of crushed cartridges that they took home and were still playable in their game consoles.

The game and its contribution to the demise of Atari have been the source of fascination for video game enthusiasts for 30 years. The search for the cartridges will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the biggest video game company of the early ’80s.

Xbox Entertainment Studios is one of the companies developing the film, which is expected to be released later this year on Microsoft’s Xbox game consoles.

Whether — and most importantly, why — Atari decided to bury thousands or millions of copies of the failed game is part of the urban legend and much speculation on internet blog posts and forums.

Kristen Keller, a spokeswoman at Atari, said “nobody here has any idea what that’s about.” The company has no “corporate knowledge” about the Alamogordo burial. Atari has changed hands many times over the years, and Keller said, “We’re just watching like everybody else.” Atari currently manages about 200 classic titles such as Centipede and Asteroids. It was sold to a French company by Hasbro in 2001.

A New York Times article from Sept. 28, 1983, says 14 truckloads of discarded game cartridges and computer equipment were dumped on the site. An Atari spokesman quoted in the story said the games came from its plant in El Paso, Texas, some 130 kilometres south of Alamogordo.

Local news reports from the time said that the landfill employees were throwing cartridges there and running a bulldozer over them before covering them with dirt and trash.

The city of Alamogordo agreed to give the documentarians 250 cartridges or 10 per cent of the cartridges found, whichever is greater, according to local media reports.

The E.T. game is among the factors blamed for the decline of Atari and the collapse in the U.S. of a multimillion dollar video game industry that didn’t bounce back for several years.

Tina Amini, deputy editor at gaming website Kotaku, says the game tanked because “it was practically broken.” A recurring flaw, she said, was that the character of the game, the beloved extraterrestrial, would fall into traps that were almost impossible to escape and would appear constantly and unpredictably.

The company produced millions of cartridges, and although sales were not initially bad, the frustrating gameplay prompted an immense amount of returns. “They had produced so many cartridges that were unsold that even if the game was insanely successful I doubt they’d be able to keep up,” Amini says.

Joe Lewandowski, who became manager of the 300-acre landfill a few months after the cartridge dump and has been a consultant for the documentarians, told The Associated Press that they used old photographs and dug exploratory wells to find the actual burial site.

Lewandowski says he remembers how the cartridge dump was a monstrous fiasco for Atari, at least from the perspective of a small desert town. The company, he says, brought truckloads from El Paso, where at the time scavenging was allowed in the city’s landfills. “Here, they didn’t allow scavenging. It was a small landfill, it had a guard.”

The guard, however, was either away or unable to stop scores of teenagers from rummaging through the Atari waste and showing up in town trying to sell the discarded products and equipment from the backs of pickup trucks, Lewandowski, said. “That’s when they decided to pour concrete over.”

The incidents following the burial remained as part of Alamogordo’s local folklore, he said. For him E.T. the game did not stir any other memories than an awful game he once bought for his kid.

“I was busy merging two garbage companies together,” he said. “I didn’t have time for that.”



I still have my Wii U, but I must admit that I rarely Wii Use it.

The End of the Wii and What It Means for Nintendo

Nintendo will no longer manufacture the Wii, and the company may stop selling the system entirely. With the lack of commercial sizzle on the next generation – and backward compatible – Wii U, this could be a business decision that, partnered with a recent price cut, may encourage a further growth in sales. With the Xbox One and PS4 less than a month away, the pressure on Nintendo to increase their hardware lead is immense. The company moved roughly 3.5 million systems in the Wii U’s first year, but only 160,000 in the last quarter.

In comparison, the original Wii absolutely shattered sales figures. Over 67 million Wiis were sold in the system’s lifespan, and unlike the competing Xbox 360 and PS3, the Wii was not a loss-leading venture – each Wii sold returned a healthy profit to Nintendo. But while the hardware was incredibly successful, the Wii’s weak system specs made software success outside of Nintendo’s own IPs (Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong) elusive. While motion controls looked to be the future of gaming – Microsoft and Sony were quick to release their own motion control gimmicks after the Wii penetrated the casual, non-gamer market – the execution on titles that required motion controls often left much to be desired (“I’m waving my hands – why is nothing happening”). A one-trick pony, beyond Wii Sports and a few other must-have titles, the Wii garnered few games worthy of a purchase, and that huge hardware base didn’t mean diddly.

With the anticipation revolving around the PS4 and Xbox One, hardware sales on the Wii U aren’t great. And the formerly reliable franchises may not be up to snuff. If Nintendo can’t unload millions of its own games on a strong user base (a business plan they’ve followed since the GameCube), the company might be in for some serious financial trouble.

With the huge success of the original Wii, you’d think one hardware flop couldn’t spell the end to the most storied video game company ever. But bear in mind – this past hardware generation (the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360) has been eight years long. The Wii U can’t compete with the PS4 and Xbox One for nearly a decade considering its poor early showing. But if Nintendo comes back in a few years with a brand new system. . . we may be seeing shades of Sega.

In 1994, Sega released the Saturn. In 1998 they released the Dreamcast – both systems had (and continue to have) a die-hard following. Unique games, innovative features. . . the Saturn and Dreamcast were each a bit ahead of their time, but suffered from botched launches and poor 3rd party software support.

Sound familiar?

After the failure of the Dreamcast, Sega took its valuable IPs and software experience to other platforms. Now you can play Sonic on a Nintendo system, something that would seem impossible to a generation of kid who grew up on “Genesis does what Nintendon’t!” So if you think you’ll be long dead before seeing Mario collecting coins for Sony, remember – anything can happen.


Start Saving Now!!

Sony PlayStation 4 to Be Released November 15th

The next-generation gaming console war has a start date.

At the Gamescom conference in Germany today, Sony announced that the next version of the PlayStation — the PlayStation 4 — will go on sale in North America on Nov. 15 and on Nov. 29 in Europe.

The console, which starts at $400, has a number of critical improvements over the current PlayStation 3, which was introduced seven years ago. Most notably, the system has been souped up with graphics and processing horsepower. It has an eight-core x86 processor, and 8 GB of RAM helps provide an extreme level of detail in games like “Killzone: Fall” and “Call of Duty: Ghosts.”

It also comes with a new DualShock 4 controller, which is equipped with a new share button for social media integration and a new sensor that will allow the PS4’s Kinect-like camera depth-and-motion sensor to read where the player is.

But the PlayStation won’t be the only brand-spanking new console on shelves around the holiday season. Microsoft’s Xbox One, which costs $100 more, at $500, will also hit around the same time, though Microsoft hasn’t set a specific launch date. While the PlayStation might have stronger graphics and gaming edge, Microsoft is going after the living room with new TV and media center features.

Still, gamers seem to be most excited about Sony’s combination of power, features and price. Sony announced today that it has received more than a million pre-orders on the console.


But I want it now!!!!

‘Rock Band 4’ Will Not Be Released in 2011
No new Rock Band video games, including the anticipated Rock Band 4, will arrive in 2011, says creator Harmonix. This announcement crushes hopes that the popular music game franchise would stage a surprise comeback by the year’s end.
In a recent interview, Chris Rigopulos, VP of strategy and business for the game developer, tells Game Informer magazine that it is instead opting to focus on downloadable content, including additional songs for Rock Band 3. Harmonix will issue new tracks by Lady Gaga, the Foo Fighters and Ozzy Osbourne this month, as well as the 13-minute jam track ìDo You Feel Like We Do,î from Peter Framptonís Frampton Comes Alive album.
Rigopulos further notes that Harmonix has reached a landmark of 100 million songs that have been downloaded for the Rock Band family of games. More than 2,700 individual tracks from roughly 900 artists, including Metallica, the Ramones and Fleetwood Mac, are now available across retail and downloadable outlets, as well as through digital distribution platform the Rock Band Network. According to Harmonix, more than a million players also sign on each month to play Rock Band as well as purchase new music.
These revelations would appear to lend credence to suspicions that music games arenít dead, as some critics have posited, but are merely making the transition to digital, online and social platforms. Harmonix, which is busy repositioning itself after its recent sale by MTV Games, is expected to announce a sequel to the motion-sensing game Dance Central shortly, possibly as soon as the E3 2011 gaming tradeshow in June.


I love that damn game!!!

‘Angry Birds’ tops the mobile pecking order
The mega-popular Angry Birds did not hatch perfectly formed.
Before the mobile video game landed in Apple’s App Store, the birds and their porcine enemies both needed seasoning.
The birds now hop eagerly as they await a chance to divebomb the pigs that stole their eggs. If bombardments fail, you hear the grunting of the pigs ó which are green, thanks to the swine-flu scare that hit as Angry ideas were gelling for the Finnish developers at Rovio Mobile. “They even had runny noses in character sketches,” says Rovio’s Ville Heijari.
During the polishing stages of the game, “we were determined to add more character and more personality,” says Joe Wee, co-founder of U.K.-based mobile game publishers Chillingo, which worked with the designers.
Other additions included a trajectory line that remains after a bird is fired from the slingshot. And the ability for players to pinch and zoom and pan left and right, before taking a turn, are “tiny things that add up,” he says.
There’s no telling whether Angry Birds would have laid an egg without these tweaks.
But with them, the game has soared beyond phenomenon status. Players have bought more than 10 million copies from the Apple Store and more than 100 million across the other platforms.
Rovio has sold 2 million plush Angry Birds toys and branched out into shirts and hoodies. And last month, the developer released a new version, in which you free caged exotic birds ó a tie-in to the Fox animated film Rio, out Friday. Angry Birds: Rio, which comes in free and paid versions on iPhone (99 cents) and iPad ($2.99) and free for Android devices, had 10 million downloads in its first 10 days. Coming soon: an Easter edition.
Angry Birds demonstrates the huge potential for the perfect mobile game in a global marketplace that Juniper Research expects to rise from $6 billion in 2009 to $11 billion in 2015.
But what goes into a “perfect” mobile game? Experts say it should:
ï Be easy (but not too easy) to play. The goal with Angry Birds, Heijari says, was to make it playable by anyone, with “a core game-play mechanic that you can instantly grasp,” he says. “Simplicity was always the top priority.”
ï Be quick to play. The best mobile games let you play for just a few minutes or an extended period, says Andrew Stein of PopCap Games, creator of Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. Also important: Mobile games can “be disrupted at any time by a phone call or a text,” he says.
ï Have a “look.”Angry Birds’ “audiovisual design was in line with this: simple, basic shapes (and) bright colors,” Heijari says. Another Chillingo-published game, Cut the Rope, stars the green, google-eyed Om Nom, who antsily awaits candy you deliver to him. “It’s important to create characters users get emotionally attached to,” Wee says.
ï Be addictive. The best mobile games call to you from your purse, backpack or pocket.
When all these factors come together, word of mouth can go viral. “People tell you, ‘You gotta play Angry Birds,’ ” says analyst John Fletcher of research firm SNL Kagan, which estimates that U.S. customers spent nearly $600 million on mobile games in 2010. “People get it.”


Sure, but can I play “ANGRY BIRDS” on it?!?

Nintendo 3DS puts 3-D world at your fingertips
Nintendo is looking to conjure up a little March Madness of its own.
The gamemaker’s new Nintendo 3DS handheld system hits stores Sunday. The $250 successor to the 7-year-old Nintendo DS ó the most popular portable game system ever, with nearly 145 million units sold ó displays 3-D games and other content without the need for special glasses.
That wow factor ó the first consumer 3-D-without-glasses application ó is expected to make the system hard to find, even though retailers such as Best Buy and GameStop plan to host midnight launch events. Prices have already hit $500 for some 3DS systems on eBay. “Consumers are going to have to expect for at least the first year that possibly finding a 3DS might be difficult,” says EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich.
Nintendo aims to ship 4 million 3DS systems globally by the end of March. On Feb. 26, the first day it was available in Japan, consumers bought more than 400,000. The system also launches in Europe on Friday.
In addition to Nintendo’s own titles, such as submarine game Steel Diver, flying game Pilotwings Resort and nintendogs + cats, there are 15 others, including Electronic Arts’ Madden Football, Capcom’s Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, and Ubisoft’s Rayman 3D. (Games cost about $40.)
“We think that the 3DS is an awesome machine,” says Tony Key of Ubisoft, which has three other 3DS games out Sunday and more than 15 in development. “It has a lot of features, including an accelerometer and gyroscope (to sense motion and speed) and the 3-D, that really make it … a unique piece of hardware.”
Built into the system are several games as well as other features, including three cameras (a 3-D pair and a single one) that let you take 3-D pictures and create Mii avatars. Face Raiders puts your face or that of another person onto flying enemies that attack you from all sides ó you move the system left, right, up and down to target them.
Also included: “augmented reality” games that spawn characters and enemies as you aim the 3DS’ lens at cards placed on your coffee table. In an augmented-reality archery game, “looking down into your table, it looks like there is a pit,” says Brian Crecente of game news site “You actually have to walk around to see all sides of this pit because there is an underground chamber” from which targets emerge.
A built-in pedometer rewards you with virtual coins for walking with the 3DS; the device’s StreetPass mode exchanges information between two 3DS systems and adds new game data. “They have done this great job of intertwining the physicality of this new type of gaming with their games,” Crecente says. “It speaks to (the 3DS’) potential.”
Nintendo recommends children ages 6 and under not play in 3-D mode (the display has a depth slider that adjusts the effects, with a low setting of standard 2-D). “That non-3-D option is very smart,” Divnich says. “I think Nintendo is just being cautious. But we don’t really know what the short-term or long-term effects of watching 3-D are, not just games but movies as well.”
Those lucky shoppers who get the early 3DS systems will play a critical part in the product’s future, says Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime. “As they show off content like the (augmented-reality) games and the Mii Maker, I do think that will get non-gamers to say, ‘Wow, I need to give this a look.’ ”


I still love it!!!

Ghostbusters lives on through comics, video games
PHILADELPHIA ñ More than 25 years later the answer to the question “Who ya gonna call?” remains “Ghostbusters!”
The specter-busting quartet that debuted in 1984 on movie screens and then was in a sequel and an animated series remains firmly planted in pop culture thanks, in part, to a wide international fan base, a new comic book series and a next-generation video game coming out this month.
“There’d be no Ghostbusters brand if not for the classic comedy that launched it all. It’s incredible that people are still responding more than 25 years later to these great stories and characters,” Mark Kaplan, vice president of consumer products at Sony Pictures Entertainment, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. “We love finding ways to expand that experience for the fans, whether it’s through midnight screenings and DVDs or games, comics and toys that really allow audiences to engage with the movie.”
Tom Waltz, an editor at IDW Publishing, which released the first “Ghostbusters: Infestation” comic last week, called the quartet ó Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore ó a veritable brand name, one that has drawn fans of film, TV, comics and gaming.
“Movies, video games, the prose novels and obviously the comic books are intertwined and to the point where I think … you’re trying to create a brand,” Waltz, who wrote the upcoming game, told the AP.
The original movie, titled “Ghost Busters” on screen, starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis as out-of-work parapsychology professors who set up a ghost removal service and featured Ernie Hudson as their hired gun. It remains one of the top-grossing comedies ever. Its theme song, by Ray Parker Jr., begins with the classic line, “If there’s something strange, in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!”
The new Atari game, “Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime,” is set for release March 23 for Xbox Live Arcade, Sony PlayStation Network and Windows PCs via download at
“In ‘Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime,’ we are introducing an entirely new look and gameplay experience on digital platforms that will impress new and loyal Ghostbusters fans alike,” said Jim Wilson, president and CEO of Atari Inc.
The upcoming release lets four players take part and play the roles of rookies who have been tapped to save New York from a ghoulish disaster.
Waltz called the four new characters ó Alan Crendall, Samuel Hazer, Bridget Gibbons and Gabriel Sitter ó not replacements for the original crew, led by Murray as Venkman, but the next generation.
“What I try to do, to a certain degree, is to mirror the four distinct personalities to our original heroes but in a way that the character who is the Venkman of the group would be the last person you’d think is the Venkman of the group,” he said.
He said he also strived to create “characters that are likeable enough in their own way with their personalities,” so that “people will accept them.”
Ultimately, he added, the characters in the game could find themselves being written into the comics, too.


What will I do with my free time now?!?!

Iconic ‘Guitar Hero’ video game gets the ax
NEW YORK ñ These days, guns are more popular than guitars, at least when it comes to video games. The company behind “Guitar Hero” said Wednesday that it is pulling the plug on one of the most influential video game titles of the new century.
Activision Blizzard Inc., which also produces the “Call of Duty” series, is ending the “Guitar Hero” franchise after a run of more than five years. The move follows Viacom Inc.’s decision in November to sell its money-losing unit behind the “Rock Band” video games. Harmonix was sold to an investment firm for an undisclosed sum. Harmonix, incidentally, was behind the first “Guitar Hero” game.
Game industry analysts have long lamented the “weakness in the music genre,” as they call it ó that is, the inability of game makers to drum up demand for the products after an initial surge in popularity in the mid-2000s. Music games are often more expensive than your typical shoot-’em-up game because they require guitars, microphones and other musical equipment. While extra songs can be purchased for download, this hasn’t been enough to keep the games profitable.
Activision’s shares tumbled after the announcement, but investors appear more concerned with the company’s disappointing revenue forecast than the demise of the rocker game. As far as investors go, discontinuing an unprofitable product isn’t the end of the world, even if “Guitar Hero” fans disagree.
“In retrospect it was a $3 billion or more business that everybody needed to buy, so they did, but they only needed to buy it once,” said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. “It’s much like ‘Wii Fit.’ Once you have it, you don’t need to buy another one.”
“Guitar Hero” was iconic and often praised for getting a generation weaned on video games into music. But its end after a mere half a decade is a big contrast to other influential video game franchises, such as the 25-year-old Mario series from Nintendo. “Call of Duty” first launched in 2003, two years before “Guitar Hero.”
In a conference call, Activision said its restructuring will mean the loss of about 500 jobs in its Activision Publishing business, which has about 7,000 employees. But the company’s overall work force numbers are not going to change much because it is hiring people elsewhere.
Activision did better than expected in the fourth quarter, which ended in December, but that already was anticipated. After all, it launched “Call of Duty: Black Ops” in November. That game, which is mostly set during the Vietnam War, made $1 billion after just six weeks in stores. Its latest “World of Warcraft” game has also been doing well.
Bobby Kotick, Activision’s CEO, said the company’s big franchises “have larger audience bases than ever before and we continue to see significantly enhanced user activity and engagement for our expanding online communities.” Revenue from so-called “digital channels” ó that is, downloads, subscriptions and extra game content sold online ó now accounts for 30 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Activision said Wednesday it lost $233 million, or 20 cents per share, in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $286 million, or 23 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Net revenue fell to $1.43 billion from $1.56 billion.
Its adjusted earnings of 53 cents per share were better than last year’s 49 cents and beat analysts’ expectations of 51 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue that’s been adjusted to account for games with online components was $2.55 billion, up slightly from $2.50 billion a year earlier and above analysts’ $2.25 billion forecast.
For the current quarter, which ends in March, Activision forecast adjusted earnings of 7 cents per share, and adjusted revenue of $640 million. Analysts are looking for earnings of 10 cents per share on higher revenue of $771 million.
Activision Blizzard also said its board authorized a new $1.5 billion stock buyback plan. And it declared an annual dividend of 16.5 cents, an increase of 10 percent from the dividend it issued in February 2010, its first ever.
Shares of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, which is majority-owned by France’s Vivendi SA, tumbled 87 cents, or 7.4 percent, to $10.82 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed the regular session down 19 cents at $11.69.