Video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss, but said that it will disband its faltering "Guitar Hero" franchise.

After the markets closed, the Santa Monica company reported a net loss of $233 million (-20 cents per share), compared with a loss of $286 million (-23 cents) a year earlier. Net revenue fell 8 percent to $1.43 billion.

The company had adjusted earnings of 53 cents per share, and revenue adjusted for games with online components was $2.55 billion. Analysts on average expected adjusted per-share profit of 51 cents on adjusted revenue of $2.25 billion.

“Online gaming continues to broaden its appeal,” Chief Executive Robert Kotick said. “We benefited from new content releases for two of the world’s most successful online entertainment franchises: Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty: Black Ops and Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.”

Activision, known for its "Call of Duty" and “World of Warcraft” franchises, cited “continued declines in the music genre” for its decision to discontinue Guitar Hero business unit. Critics liked Guitar Hero’s "Warriors of Rock," but the game saw only 86,000 sales in its first week, well below the average for the franchise. In 2007, “Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock” sold 1.5 million copies in five days.

The company also plans to cancel its “True Crime: Hong Kong” game, but did not give specifics.

Shares earlier closed down 19 cents, or 1.6 percent, or $11.69 on the Nasdaq, and fell 6 percent in after-market trading.

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