In the most shocking and important news of the year publishers Activision and Vivendi have merged, dethroning Electronic Arts as the world’s biggest games publisher.
The shock power-shifting deal is worth $18.9 billion and sees the two form into Activision Blizzard, ‘the world’s largest pure-play online and console game publisher’.
This deal comes a few weeks after EA’s boss said there would be no more big mergers in the industry.
You can see straight away from the name then that Activision’s motives are clearly for the World of Warcraft cash bounty, while Vivendi’s other IP’s include Crash, Spyro, F.E.A.R. and Timeshift. Activison of course is the owner of the massive Guitar Hero and Call of Duty franchises, developer Bizarre Creation and film licenses such as Spider-Man and James Bond.
The goliath company will also have access to Blizzard’s stellar properties Diablo and StarCraft.
Activision Blizzard says it expects to make around 70 percent of its revenues from its library of IP-based franchises, boasting that it has “the most diversified and broadest portfolio of interactive entertainment assets in its industry”.
Jean-Bernard Levy, CEO of Vivendi 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. We are excited about the opportunities for Activision Blizzard as a broader entertainment software platform.”
Robert Kotick, Activision’s chairman and CEO added: “This is an outstanding transaction for Activision and our stockholders, as well as a pivotal event in the continuing transformation of the interactive entertainment industry. By combining leaders in mass-market entertainment and subscription-based online games, Activision Blizzard will be the only publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry and reach the broadest possible audiences.”
Well, bloody hell then. This really has been a shocking year for the games industry, hasn’t it? Peter Moore and Ken Kuturagi jump ship, Bungie leaves MS, GTA slips… we don’t know how much more our heart can take.
We can only see this move as a good thing for gamers though. The increased competition will surely keep EA on its toes and perhaps we’ll see less lazy franchise updates from both companies from now on. We hope so, anyway.