The same market can give companies very different treatments. Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) is enjoying high times in the video game industry -- while rival and nemesis Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) is struggling.

Second-quarter sales landed at $1.04 billion and GAAP earnings stopped at $0.15 per diluted share. Neither of these metrics is directly comparable to anything else in the company's history; seasonal swings make quarter-by-quarter comparisons meaningless, and the year-ago period includes only one quarter's worth of the old Activision's results. Next quarter will be the first time year-over-year comparisons start to make sense for Activision Blizzard.

Activision plays to a more hardcore gamer crowd than EA does. Thirty-one percent of Activision's sales come from World of Warcraft and similar multiplayer online games, and the WoW franchise is about to be relaunched in mainland China through a three-year partnership with Asian gaming giant NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES). That's the muscle that Vivendi's Blizzard division brought to the Activision-Blizzard merger party last year.

And unlike EA, where the family-friendly Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Wii console has become the mainstay workhorse through a plethora of sports titles and the indomitable Sims franchise, the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 3 platforms pull Activision's cart with a vengeance. True, Activision isn't quite as hardcore as Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO), but the platform mix tells a rugged tale.

Activision is big on hard-boiled action titles like the Call of Duty first-person war game franchise and best-selling movie license titles like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The roomy hard drives in the Xbox 360 and PS3 make for a slick experience downloading extra tracks for the Guitar Hero games, which also simply look much better on the higher-powered machines. High-def glory, the Wii ain't. So it’s easy to see why the Wii only generates 11% of Activision's revenue today.

This fall, Activision releases another update of the Call of Duty franchise, another Tony Hawk skateboarding game, and not one but three music games in the Guitar Hero oeuvre. All of these titles build on proven money-making series and should keep Activision ahead of the competition through the crucial holiday shopping season.

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Netease.com and Take-Two Interactive Software are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Nintendo are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Nintendo is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. The video game industry is teeming with Foolish favorites. To learn why, try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Take-Two, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.