By Rory Cellan-Jones
Technology correspondent, BBC News
World of Warcraft is played by more than nine million people
The companies behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are merging in a deal which could shake up the global video games industry. Activision and Blizzard have said they will form "the world's most profitable games business" in a deal worth $18.8bn (£9.15bn).
US-based Activision also makes hit console games such as the Tony Hawk series and Guitar Hero.
Nine million people pay a monthly subscription to play World of Warcraft.
Blizzard is the biggest player in online gaming and Warcraft is the global market leader of what are known as massively multi-player online role-playing games, or MMORPGs.
It is currently owned by the French media group Vivendi.
As part of the merger plan, Blizzard will invest $2bn in the new company, while Activision is putting up $1bn.
The merged business will be called Activision Blizzard and its chief executive will be Activision's current CEO Bobby Kotick. Vivendi will be the biggest shareholder in the group.
Jean-Bernard Levy, Vivendi chief executive, said: "This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector.
"By combining Vivendi's games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry."
The two firms are hoping that their different strengths will combine to form a business which is powerful on every gaming platform and in every territory.
Blizzard is strong in Asia, where its Starcraft series has proved hugely popular.
Starcraft, a strategy game first released in 1998, is played by millions of South Koreans in gaming cyber-cafes, and by professional gamers on television.
Activision has developed a presence on all three new generation game consoles - Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii - with franchises such as Spider-Man and X-Men.
The games software industry has been through turbulent years, with companies changing ownership and going in and out of business in rapid succession.
Activision was formed in 1979 and went through bankruptcy and a series of alliances and mergers before becoming successful.
Blizzard had been through a number of owners before ending up in the hands of Vivendi in 1998.
In my opinion this doesn't bode well.. I love Call of Duty and some other games from Activision however Blizzard i think should stay its own company solely focused on blizzard games like Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo
This could go either way IMO.
Both do have unique strengths as suggested above but in our capatalistic society corporate competition is the best policy to keep companies effiecient, effective ,challenged and reasonably priced.
As apposed to one universal global gaming monopoly
This could be good or bad. It is hard to say. I think it is basically a way for Blizzard to extend itself, without footing the WHOLE bill for a new company. So, Blizzard will chug away at their franchises (Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo...) and will also be involved with a completely different market (consoles) and styles of games.
Well the key is that you want competition so that we can have great but affordable products. However, in the gaming industry, the cost of creating a revolutionized product is high and is the reason we get very short games or not so complete products. Perhaps this merger will help bring more solid products for its consumers.
However, mergers are done stricly on a financial standpoint...only if it makes sense financialy. So, we may not see any difference as consumers... unless they feel the pressure from speculations of high demand and so on.
i am glad to see this new company is able to compete directly with ea now in terms of market share. hopefully this will force both companies to ramp up quality and lower prices in an effort to outsell the other.
maybe now activision will make sc:ghost for the consoles lol...
"Yeah...and maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot."
--Ash, "Army of Darkness"
I'll have more to say on this merger later, probably in a proper article/column. But for now, I'll just say that I'm pretty surprised by this. It's like Exxon/Mobil for crying out loud. I'd get ready for a slew of headlines in the next year regarding Blizza-Vision buying up developer studios.
Im reading more about it and like as sengoku said, its pretty vivendi buying activision (we can call it a "merger of equals", but look at where Chrysler is..).
I was jk about Ghost, I was pretty pissed about the game (although I probably would've played it) when it was announced for the "next gen" consoles and would not go to PC (which gen? the xbox/ps2?). Kinda glad they cancelled it and totally surprised that they were developping SC2 for so long (started about a year after ghost started dev?).
crysis is sc:ghost!!! the nano suit stole all the abilities from sc:ghost, blizzard wasnt gonna give it to us so crytek did, and for pc too! now when sc:ghost does, if indeed it does, come out what special powers will u have? psionic speed? cloak? super strength? *yawn* been there done that!
tip my hat to crytek. And to RobWright for reminding me of one of my favorite movies!
Just looks to me like another US company that will eventually be absorbed by foreigners. Hell, we've sold off everything else good that this country produced, why not sell of its gaming industry as well...