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Gaming Market Hero

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Can booming video games save Holiday retail sales? Find out from Activision CEO Robert Kotick.

The demand for Guitar Hero, the widely popular Activision game now in its third installment, has been “unbelievable,” Kotick said.

Guitar Hero sales have been the driving force behind Activistion’s revenues; the game was a major reason the company was able to raise its third quarter outlook and 2008 guidance and is the fastest “$0 to $1 billion” franchise in the history of the video game business, according to Kotick.

Guitar Hero’s success has dovetailed almost serendipitously with the Nintendo Wii and X-Box 360 both becoming hits with U.S. consumers. Kotick said the demand from the Wii in particular has been so high that Activision is having trouble keeping up with it on the supply side.

A potential sour note for the Guitar Hero manufacturer? A federal injunction filed by the rock bank The Romantics -- alleging that the cover used in the game of one of the band’s songs sounds too much alike the original -- threatens to pull it off shelves at the height of the holiday shopping season. Kotick said the lawsuit is not indicative of a looming problem and does not pose a threat to the game or the company. In fact, bands are “begging” to be part of Guitar Hero as it has become a pop culture icon, he said.

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