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Diablo III to sell 5 million in its first year, says analyst

Diablo III will sell 5 million units in its first year on sale, Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz has predicted following the announcement of the game's worldwide release in May yesterday.

"Our street-high FY12 EPS estimate of $1.05 assumes first year unit sell-through of 5MM for Diablo III, and assumes that over 1MM of the units incorporate the World of Warcraft 'annual pass' deal which allows WoW players who commit to a one-year subscription to receive Diablo III for free," he said in a general Activision note, published by CVG.

Blizzard confirmed a May 15 global release for the long-in-development RPG yesterday.

Cruetz also predicted a 2013 launch for the next big thing from Bungie a 2014 Titan launch from Blizzard.

"We expect three Blizzard titles to ship over the next twelve months (Diablo III, Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria); we expect the new Bungie title to ship in 2013; and we expect Blizzard's new MMO to ship in 2014.

"We also expect Call of Duty to maintain its dominating FPS leadership position, and we believe that the company has a great opportunity to build on its initial success of its Skylanders franchise. Finally, World of Warcraft Western subs continue to appear to be stable vs. year-end levels. We think ATVI shares can outperform the market by 20% over the next 12 months."

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