Video game diehards play to win. Apparently, so do video game publishers.

Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI) won big in its fiscal second quarter, and now it's kicking its outlook up to the next level. The game maker's bottom line more than quadrupled to earn $0.13 a share on $169.2 million in revenue. That was well above the company's guidance over the summer.

At that time, Activision went from projecting $1.10 a share in profits for the full fiscal year to $1.25. Now it's raising that mark once more to $1.29 a share on $934 million in revenue. It's looking to top the billion-dollar mark on higher profits next year.

While the company is a distant second to Electronic Arts(Nasdaq: ERTS) in home console software, Activision has struck gold in its licensed Spider-Man game, as well as various extreme sports titles across all the major platforms, spearheaded by its sequel-spawning Tony Hawk series.

As Nintendo, Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT), and Sony(NYSE: SNE) continue to battle it out for market share with their next-generation gaming systems, the software side has little choice but to play all the angles.

There's no harm in working all three controllers with the same hand. Last week, Electronic Arts upped its fiscal 2003 outlook, as well. While PlayStation2 is still the platform of choice, they're all gaining new users.

Rolling into the holiday shopping season, Activision and the rest of the players are hoping the economic funk won't rain on their parade. The sector has weathered the storm so far, but that doesn't mean every game publisher is winning.

Eidos (Nasdaq: EIDSY) and 3DO(Nasdaq: THDO) had their time in the sun with Tomb Raider and Army Men, respectively, but both now trade as penny stocks.

Activision is scoring well right now. Let's hope that history keeps the company in the game.