Activision's "Skylanders" may face retail shortage

NEW YORK Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:14pm EST

Director and Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard Robert Kotick speaks at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York November 28, 2011.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Director and Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard Robert Kotick speaks at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York November 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - People looking for Activision Blizzard's (ATVI.O) new children's game "Skylanders" this holiday season may be out of luck after the game sold better than expected, the video game maker's top executive said on Monday.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that there could be a shortage of the game at retail outlets.

"(Skylanders) are in high demand. Retailers are across the board are concerned that they will be out of inventory well before Christmas," Kotick said. "I've heard that consistently now from both within stores and from senior executives in stores that they are concerned they will be out of inventory."

Kotick said Activision might not be able to replenish supplies of the game in time to take advantage of the holiday rush.

"There's nothing we can do because they are made offshore and we can't get product made that quickly," Kotick said.

The news comes at a time when investors and analysts have expressed concern that Activision is too dependent on its top franchises "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty." Investors sold shares following the company's quarterly financial results call after "World of Warcraft," its most profitable business, lost 800,000 subscribers.

"Skylanders," which hit store shelves in mid-October, is a video game that comes with physical toys that spring to life on screen when they are hooked up to consoles such as Microsoft's (MSFT.O) Xbox or Sony's (6758.T) PlayStation. A chip inside the figurines stores a player's achievements and progress in the game.

Activision has heavily marketed the new products, which are aimed at 6- to 10-year-olds, a demographic dominated by Nintendo.

In the past, Activision has shut down or scaled back poorly performing franchises such as "Guitar Hero" to invest more in its proven successes.

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