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Activision Blizzard: It's Official

Mike Musgrove

This afternoon, game publisher Activision announced that its shareholders have voted to approve a merger with Vivendi Games.

The proposed merger between the two video game giants was announced in December, but required the blessing of Activision shareholders. The game publisher said that 92 percent of shareholders approved the deal, which is expected to close tomorrow.

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.

Game industry analyst Michael Pachter said that the merger should be a positive development for consumers. For years, the industry's biggest player has been Electronic Arts, known for titles such as the popular Madden football franchise. So large is EA that it has often gotten the first pick of projects, such as landing deals to make tie-in games for the Lord of the Rings movies, he said.

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."

Activision is most famous right now for the Guitar Hero series. The Santa Monica-based publisher just rolled out two new versions of that billion dollar guitar franchise last week -- one centered around the career of rock band Aerosmith, another designed to be played on the mobile Nintendo DS game device.

Vivendi's game studio Blizzard is most famous for World of Warcraft, the online PC game that has about 10 million fans paying a monthly subscription fee to take on roles in the sword-and-sorcery game's virtual realm of Azeroth.

The two companies haven't talked much about what consumers can expect from the merged company, though, for what it's worth, Activision made a song inspired by World of Warcraft available as a free download for Guitar Hero III last month.

The merged company will likely have fresh announcements about what to expect from the merged company at the video game industry's major annual trade show, E3, which kicks off in Los Angeles next week.

By Mike Musgrove  |  July 8, 2008; 4:14 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Since EA and Blizvision are in different game markets, I fail to see how this will change anything for consumers. Blizzard makes a hell of a lot of money from it's own titles, and focuses on quality of the finished product, not deadline to finish the product. That leaves it out of movie tie ins. Movie tie in generally need to be done quick, so they can be released at the same time as the movie.
This leads to movie tie in's being wide, but not deep.
I'm sure the impact of destroying EA's "Monopoly" will be felt around the world~

Posted by: Garrett Moffitt | July 9, 2008 11:25 AM

Well, we probably will not hear any news at E3 this year considering Activision Blizzard is not "Officially" attending. There may be reps at the event, but likely nothing will come out about their plans.

Posted by: Kroven | July 9, 2008 5:19 PM

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