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Thinking ahead for today, don’t be surprised to see some disappointment from analysts who follow the video game business to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) disclosure that it now expects total Xbox 360 shipments by the end of the June quarter to be 12 million units, rather than the previously expected 13-15 million units. That could be partially offset by the very strong financial results reported by Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) late yesterday for its fiscal third quarter ended December 31.

Activision says revenue was $822.8 million, compared to previous guidance of $600 million; pro forma EPS of 42 cents a share was sharply above Street expectations of 28 cents. For the fiscal fourth quarter ending March, the company sees revenue of $170 million and a pro forma loss of 9 cents a share; the Street had been expecting $180.5 million and a profit of two cents. The company said the strong third quarter reflects demand for four key titles, including Call of Duty 3, Marvell: Ultimate Alliance, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 and Guitar Hero II.

The company also said fourth quarter results would be “significantly impacted” by higher legal expenses, primarily related to its internal review of historical stock options practices, as well as a previously disclosed informal SEC inquiry and related derivative litigation. Also affecting Q4 results will be the shift of a new title called Enemy Territory: Quake Wars into FY 2008.

In after hours trading:

  • Electronic Arts (ERTS) is down 45 cents to $48.41, after a decline of $1.48 in the regular session.
  • Take Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) is down 34 cents, to $16.90, after a decline of 82 cents in the regular session.
  • THQ (THQI) has not traded in after hours trading; the stock was down $2.08 in the regular session, to $31.73.
  • Activision is up 88 cents, to $18, after a decline of 99 cents in the regular session.
  • Earlier: Sony: Doesn’t Anyone Want A Playstation 3?

    Source: Microsoft: Slower Xbox Growth Could Hurt Game Stocks; Activision May Save the Day