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Blizzard-Activision Merger Official 200

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the new-sheriff-in-town dept.
The Washington Post's Mike Musgrove is reporting that the Blizzard-Activision merger is official as of yesterday afternoon. "One analyst has predicted that the merged company would make $1.38 billion in profits during its first financial year, enough to make Activision Blizzard the world's largest game publisher. [...] But this merger should give the newly-formed company enough heft to compete with EA for such blockbuster projects, said Pachter. 'It's good to have a duopoly instead of a monopoly,' he said. 'This just makes the industry that much more interesting.'"
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Blizzard-Activision Merger Official

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  • Holy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techpawn (969834) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:10AM (#24118041) Journal
    What does this do to Diablo III? I hope they don't over commercialize their better blizzard offerings with in-game ads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dintech (998802)
      I'm not sure about Diablo III but I think at this point, in-game ads are an inevitability from all of the major publishers and distributers. Think about what ads in web-search did for Google. I'm sure Sony, EA, Activision and even Blizzard would love a piece of a rather similar looking pie.

      It's not a question of if. It's when and how much.
      • Re:Holy... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:31AM (#24118409) Homepage Journal

        "Think about what ads in web-search did for Google."
        Shame that is a radically different market. I mean really, while your shooting at Diablo are you going to stop and click on an Add to 'Al's Archery supply'

        With Google, people are in the mindset that they will be looking at web pages already.

        • Re:Holy... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anarke_Incarnate (733529) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @12:07PM (#24120005)
          The only way I would not really care about it is if it was a small, relevant advertisement during the slash/launcher.

          Something like "Alienware" or "Sapphire Graphics" for about 1 second before I hit "Launch."

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mjwx (966435)

            The only way I would not really care about it is if it was a small, relevant advertisement during the slash/launcher.
            Something like "Alienware" or "Sapphire Graphics" for about 1 second before I hit "Launch."

            You mean like the three or four, 3 second un-skipable ad's for Intel, Nvidia/ATI and games publishers displayed when loading most games released in the last 3 years?.

            Nothing pisses me off more than waiting 10 seconds to veiw ad's in a product I paid A$90 for already (EA, I'm looking at you).

        • Re:Holy... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by dintech (998802) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @01:03PM (#24120819)
          Intereting point but advertisment isn't just about click-throughs, it's mostly about brand-awareness leading to sales at a later point.

          When you listen to the radio, read a newspaper or magazine, look at a billboard or watch TV is it possible for you to immediately click-through onto the advertisers website? Usually no. But for some reason advertising is still big business. Let me give you a example.

          The break during super-bowl - it costs $2.6 million for a 30 second ad that is viewed by 97.5 million people. That's just over 2.5 cents per person for a one-time hit. I'm sure no-one was running off to their desk to do a bit of web-browsing right after it either.

          GTA San Adreas sold 8.6 million copies and if you use the metric of 2.5 cents per you could charge say $250,000 for a shorter 5 second slot on the loading screen. That would be viewed over and over on multiple occasions.

          I bet however that certain entites would pay much more that quarter of a million for this priveledge too. We live in a world where Microsoft pays $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. Just so that they can get ads in front of people.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bit01 (644603)

            Interesting point but advertisement isn't just about click-throughs, it's mostly about brand-awareness leading to sales at a later point.

            Your numbers are nonsense. Advertising is not free of cost despite what marketing parasites would have you believe. Every single ad reduces the value of the game to the consumer. Meaning the vendor has to charge less for it. Not to mention accepting a hit on their own "brand". Where was that so-called "value" you were talking about?

            Marketers love to fraudulently claim or

          • by geekoid (135745)

            I understand that, but the poster I replied to was comparing it to Google, and Google is very much about the clicks.

        • "Think about what ads in web-search did for Google."
          Shame that is a radically different market. I mean really, while your shooting at Diablo are you going to stop and click on an Add to 'Al's Archery supply'

          With Google, people are in the mindset that they will be looking at web pages already.


          Well then, good news. Instead of seeing ads while shooting at diablo, you'll be fighting Diablo III's newest monster. The flying Pepsi can monster.
      • I don't pay money for Google. If I'm paying for a game it better not have any ads in it. It would be like paying to see Blade 3 [neowin.net] or I, Robot [thebestpag...iverse.net] or the new Casino Royale [telegraph.co.uk] or paying for a copy of NFSU2. [ocforums.com] I'm not going to pay twice.

        • by dintech (998802)
          You don't have to. Plenty of other people will.
        • by steelfood (895457)

          In-game ads probably wouldn't be anywhere close to your traditional media ads. In-game ads would be more like product placement. You know, "ColdSteel broadsword of fury" or "United Cutlry scimitar of the stars" or something. Or for potions, it'd be "Cherry Gatorade" and "Blueberry Gatorade."

          Actual cut-scene advertisements probably won't be such a great idea, and wouldn't be used at all.

        • by easyTree (1042254)

          They turned something as inherently cool as a master race of robots into a blubbering suck-fest of limp-dicked pussies wimpering endlessly about their feelings.

          Gotta love maddox :)

    • Re:Holy... (Score:5, Informative)

      by netsavior (627338) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:56AM (#24118817)
      they have had adverts in the lobby portion of battle.net for something like 8 years... I don't see why they would stop that program.
    • Re:Holy... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cookie3 (82257) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:59AM (#24118849) Homepage

      Question: "How does this impact D3?" Answer: "It doesn't."
      Ditto for WoW and Starcraft.

      Blizzard Entertainment is retaining all of its own staff; no one's going anywhere.

      The actual merger is more akin to "Vivendi-Activision", but Vivendi doesn't have as strong a brand as Blizzard, so they slapped Blizzard's name on it instead.

    • Re:Holy... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:00AM (#24118855) Homepage Journal

      I think this means John Madden is now the final boss you face in Diablo 3

    • Re:Holy... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by techsoldaten (309296) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:13AM (#24119071) Journal

      I am very interested in seeing how actual game genre affects the placement of ads in games.

      Diablo III is an excellent place to start this discussion because it is set in a time and place where modern advertising does not exist.

      People would have to be very clever to put ads in this place without detracting from the game experience. Online marketers, being distinct from people, are not known for being very clever (think popunders, interstials, spywear, and Bonzai Buddy). Something tells me we are not going to be seeing labels on barrels subtly placed in clever spots throughout the game, we are going to see full screen takeovers telling you game will start after a word from our sponsors.

      Starcraft III, on the other hand, could include hyperadvertising throughout the game. Ad boards appearing on the surface of the game world. Vehicles produced by specific real world manufacturers. Humans trapped in Zerg cocoons emerging to state their devotion to their favorite fast food restaurants.

      There are a lot of options here...

      M

      • Re:Holy... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @12:53PM (#24120649) Journal

        People would have to be very clever to put ads in this place without detracting from the game experience.

        That's nearly impossible. Almost every ad in every game I've played has detracted from the game experience. The only exceptions I can think of are advertisements where they would be in real life, and on similar subjects as in real life: Billboards for fast food restaurants in cities (in realistic concentrations), ads for performance car parts on the barriers on race tracks, ads for sports drinks and sportswear on the sides of playing fields, etc. Having a Cingular logo permanently stuck to my HUD while I'm driving along (not kidding, see any driving screenshot from the PC version of NFSU2) is only going to make me hate Cingular, the company that made the game, and the horse they rode in on. Sticking any ads anywhere in a game that occurs in the past or a fantasy world is going to piss me off BADLY, no exceptions.

    • Re:Holy... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @01:58PM (#24121921)

      Before this merger, Diablo 3 was going to be released at an indefinite time in the future. Now it'll be released "when it's done".

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      You'll never see Deckard Cain without a Coke in his hand. And Diablo is going to be wearing Nikes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FictionPimp (712802)

      My bigger fear is blizzard adopting a stance of no in house mac ports (their mac support has always been so top notch) or even worse, using cider to port their games to mac.

    • by Omestes (471991)

      From all that I read, Activision and Blizzard will remain separately operating, independent, operating branches of the new Activision-Blizzard. No changes will happen (according to the corporate overlords) to Bliz, they will remain autonomous.

      This makes sense, you don't mess with anything that makes as much money as Blizzard (ignoring the plight of Squenix). I think most of their games were best sellers within their genres (by a margin), and then you have WoW, which equals pure money. You'd have to be abs

  • by CrashPoint (564165) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:11AM (#24118065)

    'It's good to have a duopoly instead of a monopoly,' [Pachter] said. 'This just makes the industry that much more interesting.'

    In other news, thumbscrews said to be preferable to the rack.

    • Spin machine (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:03AM (#24118903) Homepage Journal

      They made it sound like merging these two companies is somehow increasing the number of competitors in the market.

      Previously, there were three big companies, EA, Activision, and Blizzard.* They were all competitors. Now, there are only two: EA and Activision-Blizzard. That does not benefit consumers. The already-existing cartel has just shrunk, moving even closer to a monopoly.

      The benefits of capitalism (low prices, high quality, variety of choice, available jobs, economic health, etc...) all come to fruition in free markets with lots of competitors. When you have largely controlled markets (high barriers to entry) with very few competitors, you lose those benefits. This is Econ-101 stuff.

      Whenever these mergers happen they always try to sell up the benefits to customers "by centralizing our efforts we can cut our own production costs greatly, which means we can provide better quality and even bigger savings on to our clients." While that is true in theory, in practice the lack of competition means there is nothing forcing them to provide these benefits, and so over time they don't provide them...and instead maximize their own profits by cutting corners on quality and price gouging. Merging eliminates the balancing factors in the market, which is what allows them to get away with this.

      So that is what will happen. And it is nothing new. "All this has happened before. All this will happen again." --Pythia

      *Yes, I am aware that there are actually other companies in the games industry at the moment...I was just filtering the set to those mentioned in the summary for the sake of simplicity. The principle still applies.

  • Oh boy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:16AM (#24118161)
    I sure hope Activision isn't stupid enough to mess around with the way Blizzard does things. Disney may be full of twats, but at least they knew better than to screw with Pixar after buying them. Let's hope that Activision has the same sense.
    • Re:Oh boy (Score:5, Funny)

      by oahazmatt (868057) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:25AM (#24118313) Journal

      I sure hope Activision isn't stupid enough to mess around with the way Blizzard does things. Disney may be full of twats, but at least they knew better than to screw with Pixar after buying them. Let's hope that Activision has the same sense.

      What are you talking about? This is great. In fact, I'm downloading a demo of Blactivision's newest title, Tony Hawk's Streets of Warcraft, right now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by geekoid (135745)

        That's a great demo! I am currently grinding until I can get my Stick of the Tiger!
        +10 Agi +12 Sticking.

      • Re:Oh boy (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:30AM (#24118395)

        There's no way that'll be as good as Guitarcraft Hero III: Call of Doom 2.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        In fact, I'm downloading a demo of Blactivision's newest title

        Sounds like the game company from a Dave Chappelle skit.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by duckInferno (1275100)

        What are you talking about? This is great. In fact, I'm downloading a demo of Blactivision's newest title, Tony Hawk's Streets of Warcraft, right now.

        I'd buy that game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hsensei (1055922)
      From what I understand when Disney aquired Pixar, Mr. Jobs pulled the same thing he did when Apple aquired NeXT. That being the smaller companys Board of Directors usurped the larger company to take a more controling intrest.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Blahgerton (1083623)
        I believe that when Disney bought Pixar, Mr Jobs became a very prominent shareholder in Disney. He didn't usurp the board, he became a member. I doubt the merger would have been agreed upon without this sort of stipulation, in either case.
        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          I doubt the merger would have been agreed upon without this sort of stipulation, in either case.

          Depends on who's in the position of strength. Pixar has been producing hit after hit, charging popular culture with its own imagery. Of course, the Disney emblem gets stamped on top of that because Disney distributes. But the underlying role is all Pixar - a role that Disney had in previous decades. Meanwhile, Disney produced an occasional boxoffice hit and a slew of related direct-to-DVD rehashes to throughly milk those few successes. They also produce disposable pop icons. And occasionally fall back

    • The other way. (Score:2, Informative)

      by u8i9o0 (1057154)

      I sure hope Activision isn't stupid enough to mess around with the way Blizzard does things.

      If anything, Vivendi (Blizzard's owner) might mess around with Activision.
      From a different article [bizjournals.com]:

      After the deal closes, Vivendi will then have a 52 percent stake in the new Activision Blizzard.

      But that's all a minor point since, as a consumer of both brands, the same concern applies whichever side has ownership.

  • by JoshDM (741866) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:17AM (#24118171) Homepage Journal

    Riverablo.

  • Aww, Fuck.

    There wasn't a monopoly. They came up with that line to try to appease the cynical young crowd.
    I could only by games from EA? EA was somehow not allowing me to easily buy other games? EA is the only multi-billion dollar game company?

    They only monopoly they ahve is on trademarked sport series.
    NFL, NBA, etc. . .
    And this merger will do nothing to stop that.
    In 5-8 year BLizzard will lose there rep of releasing fnished high quality games. You'll see.

    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      Definitely not a monopoly from the legal standpoint, but EA's size and capabilities gave them first choice of nearly all potential games.

      If a new Harry Potter movie was coming out, who would the marketing/franchising people go to first to have a game made? If a small studio earned a contract for a game, produced a good product that sold then EA would buy the studio, assimilate the talent and produce quick, lower quality sequels. They DO have a monopoly on the sports with ESPN and the official leagues locki

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grahamd0 (1129971)

      In 5-8 year BLizzard will lose there rep of releasing fnished high quality games. You'll see.

      Wtf are you talking about? Activision has been publishing id's games for YEARS and they're still released "when they're done". (I know they aren't "GOOD", but that's not he point).

      Activision didn't buy the golden goose so they have it for dinner.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Yes, but they don't own id.

        And "Good" IS the point.

        I ahve seen this in many industries where someone making a profit and doing well gets bought, 5 years latter there either gone or in the crapper becasue of management.

        I hope I am wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Omestes (471991)

      In 5-8 year BLizzard will lose there rep of releasing fnished high quality games. You'll see.

      I rather doubt this. Blizzard is, for all intents and purposes, a bunch of assholes, and I mean this in a good way. I'm guessing if too much pressure is put on them to bow to some corporate line, they will all just leave. I don't think that Chris Metzen is much for outside influence, or compromise, he'd probably quit (and take most of the design team with him) if anyone tried to mess with his freedom. As would m

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AkaKaryuu (1062882) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:20AM (#24118243)
    Just look at all the improvements Activision made to the Guitar Hero series after acquiring R.O. Ads... poor note charts... incredibly gimmicky additions to gameplay. I am very disapointed to hear of this merger.
  • Profits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:22AM (#24118265) Journal

    Doesn't Blizzard bring in more than a billion in profits a year, by itself? What's Activision bringing to the table?

  • by david.given (6740) <dgNO@SPAMcowlark.com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:33AM (#24118453) Homepage Journal
    ...are they going to call it Blahctivision or (my favourite) Actilizzard?
  • by falcon9x (618587) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:41AM (#24118577) Homepage

    Where are the games of yore?
    That captured you in an experience like never before,
    and when completed, left you wanting for more?

    Used to be that in box was a map made of cloth.
    Nowadays when opened, out of the box comes a moth.

    In a game like Command & Conquer, even the installation was a treat.
    But now its all boring wizards. I guess the programmers just aren't that 1337.

    Where are the games that are deep, like Zork and Chrono Trigger?
    Now they all seem to be shallow and simple, but they are a lot bigger.

    I loved playing with friends, in games like System Shock 2 (with patch)
    But now its all against friends, seems like there's only deathmatch.

    These games of old came with books that were a joy to read.
    Now they won't even print it, they just put it on the CD.

    The graphics weren't great, but they had a great story and they were immersive.
    Nowadays you have to do it yourself for games that have multiplayer that's massive.

    I want to go back to Monkey Island or command X-COM to save us from alien attacks.
    And I'd like to thank Telltale Games for the fun revival of Sam and Max.

    Oh how I yearn for the games of yore
    That captured you in an experience like never before,
    and when completed, left you wanting for more?

    http://9xrnet.com/blog_gaming/where_are_the_games_of_yore [9xrnet.com]

    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:20AM (#24119195)

      The "games of yore" mindset is just another "back in my day" phenomenon. The kids who grew up gaming are getting older now. It's just a sad fact of reality that the when I think about all the awesome games I played as a kid, I'm looking at them through rose-colored glasses. Most, truth be told, had simplistic gameplay that I wouldn't enjoy now. That "magic" that the old games had was essentially that a lot of us were kids who were easily entertained. A little guy to move around on screen and some flashing lights and we were happy. I mean honestly, RC Pro Am or Contra aren't much more than twitchy little diversions.

      These days, game companies are still coming out with tons of those types of boring, meaningless games. The kids now are eating them up, and we look at them with disdain saying "If only they had some REAL games like WE had when we were kids . . . uphill in the snow both ways yadda yadda". Don't get me wrong, I'm still an avid gamer, but I'm just much more selective now that I used to be. In generally I'll play through half a dozen games per year, but they're not the mindless little diversions that I once enjoyed. Now, it takes a very detailed game with an intricate story to wrap me in. Last full game I played through was Mass Effect. Currently I'm in the beginning stages of Assassin's Creed (which is decent so far).

      So yeah, the games haven't gotten lower in quality as time has weathered on - it's just that our demands for them have gone up as we've gotten older.

      • You are right that "the game of yore" is looked at mostly with rosy colored glasses, but not for the correct reason IMHO. There were as much stinker , maybe more , in the past than there is now. But on the other hand you can't say the mechanic got more complex today. GUI and graphic got more compelx, this is right. You can't compare, say, a planescape torment graphic with a mass effect. But on the complexity, the depth of the game, I would wager that a lot of game of yore , the best one, are quite more comp
      • by Tom (822)

        Exactly! When GP thinks games of old were so much better - get yourself an emulator and play a couple of them. I did that a few years ago with some of my old C64 favourites, and I was surprised, and not pleasantly.

      • by Raxxon (6291)

        You're close to the point. We're jaded now. "Back in the day" RC Pro Am was a decent racing game. The weapons added a new twist and the "leveling up" as you went on was a nice feature.

        But we're past that now. "Been there, done that, burned the shirt". We want something 'new' and 'innovative'. We want something we haven't seen. We enjoy the old games because they are the old games. Some of it is Rose Colored Glasses, part of it is we are still entertained by that. We don't want more of the same thing though

    • by cthulu_mt (1124113) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @12:25PM (#24120233)
      Damnit old man! I got off your lawn like 20 minutes ago. Would you please stop shouting now?
  • by MiceHead (723398) * on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:47AM (#24118691) Homepage
    Activision has snagged, founded, or otherwise invested in a number of companies:

    1997 - Raven Software
    1998 - Pandemic Studios
    1999 - Neversoft Entertainment
    2000 - Gray Matter Interactive
    2001 - Treyarch Invention LLC
    2002 - Z-Axis Ltd, Luxoflux Corporation
    2003 - Infinity Ward, Shaba Games LLC
    2004 - Activision's 25th birthday- take one free acquisition. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
    2005 - Vicarious Visions, Toys for Bob, Beenox, Inc.
    2006 - RedOctane, Inc.
    2007 - Bizarre Creations

    It's odd to me how studios gain/lose/change their identities through acquisitions. Toys for Bob was responsible for Star Control II, which remains one of my favorites to this day. More recently, they did a PS2 movie tie-in for Madagascar. I'm guessing that that game was solid, but not the tour de force that was SC2. On the other hand, Maxis is now "just" one of EA's brands, and they've always done stuff that interested me. Perhaps companies just need well-placed pied pipers (Wright; Jobs; Carmack) to retain their identities?
    • by Xtravar (725372) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:59AM (#24119877) Homepage Journal

      On the other hand, Maxis is now "just" one of EA's brands, and they've always done stuff that interested me.

      Maxis used to have a diversified game portfolio (albeit they were just the publishers of some). I think of Klik & Play, Widget Workshop, SimTower, SimAnt, SimFarm, SimIsle... Those were really fun games. I would kill for a modern remake of SimFarm!

      Once EA bought them, they were pretty much forced to focus on SimCity and The Sims franchises. The SimCity franchise is dead at this point (another dev shop made SimCity Societies, which isn't even the spiritual heir to SimCity 4).

    • +10 for the Toys For Bob and Star Control 2 references!!

      I still pine for the day they'll be bringing out Star Control 4...maybe a new Blizzard project? ;)

      • If SC3 was any indication, I weep for the day they bring out SC4.

        • SC3 was not made by Toys for Bob and is not considered canon in the Star Control series/universe. Toys for Bob and fans of the original games have actually been trying for years to convince their publishers to let them make a true sequel to SC2. There have been rumors of people at Activision showing interest more recently, and there have been fan letter-writing campaigns and petitions to show support and that people will buy such a thing if it exists, but as far as I know/remember, there hasn't been anyth
          • Yeah, I know that TfB didn't make Star Control II (Not sure how they managed to maintain ownership of the code and resources, but not the name, but I'm glad they did. UQM == win).

            Honestly, I wasn't thinking about TfB, I was thinking about Activision and Blizzard making SC4... and it frightens me.

            "Go Kill 10 Spathi Eluders, then see Commander Ivanova at Vega II. Take this cool, refereshing Pepsi to rejuvenate yourself on the long flight"

            *shudder*

            • Ah, even with forced preview I still bugger up.

              "Yeah, I know that TfB didn't make Star Control III (Not sure how they managed to maintain ownership of the code and resources for SC2, but not the name, but I'm glad they did. UQM == win).

  • Some confusion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Compenguin (175952) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:07AM (#24118975)

    Since there appear to be a lot of misinformed people in this thread, this actually a merger of Vivendi Games and Activision. Blizzard has been a subsidiary of Vivendi Games (and it's predecessors) for a long time. The merges company is taking the name Activision Blizard instead of Activision Vivendi because Blizzard is a much for famous brand name and the Vivendi brand has been tarnished since the Vivendi Universal implosion while the Blizzard brand is known for quality. Blizzard has been known for it's ability to convince its owners that its formula works and it should be left alone for a long time now. âoeMike [Morhaime] has to train his new boss every time he gets a new boss.â

    Blizzard was founded in 1991. It acquired by Davidson and Associates in 1994. Davidson was acquired by a a mail-order/conglomerate company CUC International in 1996 along with Sierra On-Line and Berkley Systems. Then in 1997 CUC merged with a hotel company HFS to form Cendant. After an accounting scandal in 1997 Cendant sold it's software arm to French publisher Havas. In 1999 French water conglomerate Vivendi acquired Havas and while working to acquire Universal (which it did in 2000) becoming Vivendi Universal. In 2002 Vevendi Universal began to enter financial trouble and began divesting many of it's properties. In 2004 it sold 80% of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to NBC keeping it's software properties. In 2006 it dropped Universal from it's name completely once again becoming Vivendi (with Vivendi Universal Games becoming Vivendi Games). In 2007 announced a merger of Vivendi Games with Activision which just became official, resulting in Vivendi owning a huge portion of Activision (now Activision Blizzard) stock (54% of shares outstanding).

  • I don't really get it. Blizzard has the reputation for being probably the highest quality development house in the entire industry... by a solid margin. And they are already printing money with World of Warcraft. This seems like a giant leap backwards for them on all fronts, but maybe I'm missing something.
  • The Reason Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:30AM (#24119389) Homepage Journal

    First stop thinking about EA\Activision\etc as game companies. They are at the core Interactive Entertainment companies.

    Just as Marvel is no longer a comic book publisher, they deal in intellectual property. Their product is the world and characters they create and the various outlets are the tools (comics, movies, games, etc.)

    With that in mind Activision and EA are looking at entertainment resources. The reason for the mergers is to pool capital for large projects that are internal and self directed.

    Case in point, how many good video game movies are there?

    Ok with that answer in mind: How many of them were produced by the game company?

    Ahh we are starting to see the motivation here.

    Blizzard alone, despite being a large high quality producer of games doesn't have all the tools they need to push things to the next level. The inverse is also true Activision doesn't have the tools that Blizzard has.

    We all know there is a Warcraft movie in the works. The more money that Blizzard can front in the production, the more control. If they could fund the movie completely, they have complete control.

    This is what motivated Marvel to start doing their own movies. Look at Marvel based movies before they spun their own studio (Hulk, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Electra, etc.) and look at the post results in Iron Man.

    By combining resources they are given themselves better leverage for a complete Entertainment company with better cross platform capitalization of their intellectual properties.

    ActivisionBlizzard can do more with existing IPs then Blizzard alone can. Remeber, business is just as much about networking personally then just the logistics of business-as-usual. Activision brings a lot of "Who to call for XYZ" and "So-and-So over at Paramount owes me a favor".

    The same goes the opposite way, Activision can now dip into the substantial talent pool that Blizzard has, their biggest asset is their art department. Think of all the artists who can now branch out and do work for other IPs not getting burned out drawing their 400th Orc or 200th Zerg. Retaining talent isn't jsut about good benefits, but giving them something to do that keeps them energized.

    The key is ensuring good management, keeping the creative forces insulated against the business lines, and ensuring that creativity and profitability co-exist as peacefully as possible. That takes strong leadership to say yes and no when needed.

    That being said I would love to see some new use of the WoW IP, how about a racing game in the theme of Rally car racing through Azeroth and Outland. How about some FPS in the land of Starcraft. How about a few anime series based on Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft?

    Maintain quality, respect the IP, keep focused and keep costs in control.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Starcraft-themed FPS? Oh yeah, sign me up! Imagine yourself as a marine at the front line while the computer is sending a swarm of zerglings at your base!

      How about Starcraft III, where two players play the game as commanders (RTS) and all other players play as soldiers/pilots/etc (FPS)? Now THAT would be insane!

      • So.. You want a Starcraft themed sequel to Battlezone II?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Cabriel (803429)

        The Starcraft FPS was Starcraft: Ghost which got dumped and rebuilt three times. Now, it's on indefinite hiatus. And I cry myself to sleep at night knowing this unfortunate truth. ;_;

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:38AM (#24119497)

    It's a Wall-E world. I think these business execs have taken Highlander a bit too seriously, buying and merging companies because in the end, there can be only one. So will it be Wal-Mart or Buy-n-Large?

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @12:34PM (#24120383) Journal
    I'm looking forward to the Mechwarrior action MMOG
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NaleagDeco (972071)
      Except that Activision lost the Mechwarrior license ... I believe Microsoft owns it now, which is why they put out MW3, 4 and Mech Commander.
  • Mac games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StonedRat (837378) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @12:50PM (#24120621) Homepage Journal

    Blizzard have always been good at supporting the Mac natively (Unlike EA). Activision have been quite the opposite.

    Does this mean we can expect more or less Mac titles?

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Note to Activision: if you mess with Blizzard's NATIVE Mac versions, we won't buy them.

      And when I say native I do mean native, not some lazy-ass, half-baked transgaming version.

      • Amen

      • by geekoid (135745)

        on paper, you are so insignificant, they loss of the mac business may be well worth the savings of development dollars.

        Good luck.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Yvan256 (722131)

          If it was so insignificant then Blizzard would have stopped doing Mac versions a decade ago. Also, Mac users are more likely to buy games than to pirate them.

          And last, the Mac OS X marketshare is growing, and so is the Linux one.

  • The current prices on ebay are busting my bank account.

  • Will this mean that the new entities games will support Macs nicely like Blizzard tend to do, or ignore them as Activision prefers?
  • When will Starcraft II be available?? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
    You know, I was going to post an on-topic question, but this is what I really care about.

  • Blizzard has been "le suck" since WoW came out. The MMO business model has changed them, for the worse. Merging with Activision is really just one last nail in the coffin.

    The only thing I can think of, that would be even worse than this merger, is for Valve to sell out to EA.

    The day that happens, I'll sell my graphics card and go back to Minesweeper. The moment a small, agile game house grows too big (or sells out), it loses all artistic control and starts producing formulaic garbage. There's no avoidin

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