The coming week is shaping up as crucial for Santa Monica-based video game company Activision Inc. And it all hinges on a couple of comics, and their importance is far from child's play.


Two titles "X-Men Legends II" and "Ultimate Spider-Man" are scheduled for release X-Men on Sept. 20 and Spider-Man on Sept. 26. The two games are expected to account for about 30 percent of Santa Monica-based Activision's revenue for the second quarter ending Sept. 30, according to analysts.


Bank of America analyst Gary Cooper said he expects "Ultimate Spider-Man" will be the top-selling game this fall, hitting 2 million copies. But that's in a year when video games sales started off strong but tapered off.


Sales through July were 10 percent ahead of year-ago sales, but then flattened in August, according to data from NPD Group. Analysts say the problem is that the market has been waiting for a next generation of game consoles, but they are not due out until after the holidays and usually video game companies make half their revenue during the holiday season.


"Ultimate Spider-Man" and "X-Men Legends II" will compete against Vivendi Universal Games Inc.'s "Hulk," and Electronic Arts Inc.'s "Marvel Nemesis" releases for holiday-season sales. The Spider-Man franchise has reigned supreme in the comic-book arena in recent years, but both Activision games face a freshness challenge: Spider-Man 2 was so last summer, you know? And X-Men 2 was in theaters back in 2003.


Activision officials, in a quiet period before their quarterly earnings release, declined comment.

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