Game publishers Vivendi and Activision have announced they will merge into one super-company.
The deal is valued at $18.9 billion and makes Activision Blizzard (as the company will be called) the largest third-party game publisher on earth: If the deal is approved by the proper legislative bodies, Activision Blizzard (owned by Vivendi) will eclipse Electronic Arts as the king of the publishing hill.
"This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector," said Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. "By combining Vivendi's games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry."
Brilliant move: Now Activision Blizzard has a leading rythym game francise (Guitar Hero), shooter francise (Call of Duty), RTS line (Warcraft and Starcraft) as well as by far the biggest MMO (World of Warcraft), putting the company in the perfect place to compete with EA, after their acquisition of Bioware and the news that Bioware is working on an MMO.
But how will this affect you, the gamer? Mike Morhaime, Blizzard's co-founder, president and CEO, told Gamespot that Blizzard's quality will be maintained, in spite of the merger:
"No one at Activision or Vivendi has any desire to change that. Why would they? Activision runs an autonomous studio system. Their studios operate with a lot of creative freedom, and it's been very successful for them. That's something that may be different from the [way] other large publishers operate. But both Activision and Blizzard respect the talent that creates games, and this is going to be able to provide us with a stable, secure infrastructure with which we can take care of our people making games."
We shall see.