Activision Blizzard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Activision Blizzard, Inc.
NASDAQ-100 Component
Industry Video games
Interactive entertainment
Founded 2008 (as Activision, Inc.)
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Coordinates 34°01′10″N 118°27′09″W / 34.0195°N 118.4524°W / 34.0195; -118.4524Coordinates: 34°01′10″N 118°27′09″W / 34.0195°N 118.4524°W / 34.0195; -118.4524
Area served
Key people
Brian Kelly (Chairman)
Mike Griffith (Vice Chairman)
Robert Kotick (President and CEO)
Products Activision:
Call of Duty series
Skylanders series
Spyro the Dragon series
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series
Guitar Hero series
Blizzard Entertainment:
Warcraft series
StarCraft series
Diablo series
Heroes of the Storm
Revenue Decrease US$ 4.41 billion (2014)
Decrease US$ 1.183 billion (2014)
Decrease US$ 817 million (2014)
Total assets Increase US$ 14.746 billion (2014)
Total equity Increase US$ 7.513 billion (2014)
Number of employees
6,690 (Feb. 2015)
Subsidiaries Activision
Blizzard Entertainment
Footnotes / references

Activision Blizzard, Inc. is the American parent corporation[4] for Activision and Blizzard Entertainment, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, United States. In 2014, Activision Blizzard was the fifth largest gaming company by revenue.[5] Intellectual Property published by Activision Blizzard include the multimillion-dollar video game franchises of Call of Duty, StarCraft, and Warcraft.


Merger into Activision Blizzard (2007–2008)[edit]

In December 2007, Activision announced that the company and its assets would merge with fellow games developer and publisher Vivendi Games. René Penisson, formerly a member of the Management Board of Vivendi and Chairman of Vivendi Games, would serve as Chairman of Activision Blizzard. Robert Kotick, once head of Activision, was announced to become President and CEO of Activision Blizzard.

In April 2008, the European Commission permitted the merger to take place, approving that there weren't any antitrust issues in the merger deal.[6] On July 8, 2008, Activision announced that stockholders had agreed to merge. The deal closed on July 9, 2008, and the total transaction was an estimated $18.9 billion.[7] Vivendi was the majority shareholder, with a 52% stake in the company.[7] The rest of the shares were held by institutional and private investors and continue to be traded on the NASDAQ stock market, for the first 10 trading days post closing as ATVID, and subsequently as ATVI. Jean-Bernard Levy replaced René Penisson as chairman of Activision Blizzard.[8]

Growth and new titles (2009–2012)[edit]

By 2010, Activision Blizzard was the largest video games publisher in the world.[9] The 2011 release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 grossed $400 million in the US and UK alone in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time.[10] By 2011, Activision Blizzard was the third year in a row that the Call of Duty series broke the biggest launch record; 2010's Call of Duty: Black Ops grossed $360 million on day one; and 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 brought in $310 million.[11]

In 2011, Activision Blizzard debuted its Skylanders franchise.[12] With this launch, the press has credited the company with inventing a new "toys-to-life" category.[12][13][14] The first release Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was nominated for two Toy Industry Association awards in 2011: "Game of the Year" and "Innovative Toy of the Year".[15] Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and its sequels were released for major consoles and PC, and many were released on mobile devices as well.[12]

On March 30, 2012, Worlds, Inc. filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal Court alleging Activision Blizzard, Inc et al. had infringed on several patents.[16]

Restructuring (2013)[edit]

Activision Blizzard does not publish games under its central name and instead uses its subsidiaries to publish games, similar to how Vivendi Games operated before the merger.[17] The merger made Activision parent company of Vivendi Games' former divisions until July 25, 2013.

While Blizzard retained its autonomy and corporate leadership, other Vivendi Games divisions did not. For example, long-time label Sierra ceased operation. With the merger, there was a rumor that if a Sierra product did not meet Activision's requirements, they "won't likely be retained."[18] Some of Sierra's games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Prototype have been retained and are now published by Activision.[19] Also, due to the closure of Sierra, the Sierra Community Forums servers have been shut down as of November 1, 2008[20] until Sierra was reopened on August 7, 2014.

Shortly after the conclusion of the merger, Thomas Tippl, CFO, alluded to future layoffs stating that the company "will exterminate some of our overlap through redundancy – but we will treat people fairly and respectfully in that process."[21] Also, games such as Brütal Legend, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, World in Conflict: Soviet Assault, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Zombie Wranglers, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust and Wet were all dropped from the publisher to be picked up by other companies.

Split from Vivendi (2013)[edit]

On July 25, 2013, Activision Blizzard announced the purchase of 429 million shares from owner Vivendi for $5.83 billion, dropping the shareholder from a 63% stake to 11.8% by the end of the deal in September.[22] At the conclusion of the deal, Vivendi was no longer Activision Blizzard's parent company,[23] and Activision Blizzard became an independent company as a majority of the shares are owned by the public. Robert Kotick and Brian Kelly own a 24.4% stake in the company. In addition, Kotick remains the President and CEO, with Brian Kelly taking over as the Chairman.[22]

On October 12, 2013, shortly after approval from the Delaware Supreme court, the company completed the buyback, along the lines of the original plan.[24] Vivendi sold half its remaining stake on May 22, 2014, reducing its ownership to 5.8%,[25] which subsequently helped finance Vivendi's takeover of EMI via Universal Music Group.

Recent years (2014–2015)[edit]

In 2014, Activision Blizzard was the fifth largest gaming company by revenue.[5] Activision Blizzard joined the S&P 500 on August 28, 2015.[26]

The company released the next iteration of the Skylanders franchise in September 2015, which added vehicles to the "toys to life" category.[27] On September 15, 2015, Activision and Bungie released Destiny: The Taken King, the follow up to the Destiny saga. Two days later, Sony announced that the game broke the record for the most downloaded day-one game in PlayStation history, in terms of both total players and peak online concurrency.[28]

On October 21, 2015, Activision Blizzard announced the establishment of a new esports competitive video game division headed by Chairman Steve Bornstein and Senior Vice President Mike Sespo of Major League Gaming.[29]

On November 2, 2015, the company announced that it would acquire social gaming company King, creator of the popular casual game Candy Crush Saga, for $5.9 billion.[30]

At an Investor Day presentation on November 6, 2015, Activision Blizzard announced the formation of Activision Blizzard Studios, a film production subsidiary dedicated to creating original films and television series. Headed by former The Walt Disney Company executive Nick van Dyk, Activision Blizzard Studios would look to produce films based on the Call of Duty franchise as well as an animated television series based on Skylanders called Skylanders Academy.[31]


Game Studios[edit]





Patent infringement lawsuits[edit]

On March 30, 2012, Worlds, Inc. filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal Court alleging Activision Blizzard, Inc et al. had infringed on Worlds, Inc. US Patents Nos. 8,082,501;7,945,856; 7,493,558; and 7,181,690. Worlds, Inc. a small publicly traded IP firm asked for damages arising out of the Activision infringement, including enhanced damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284. Further asking and enjoining Activision and their respective officers, agents, employees, and those acting in privity with them, from further infringement. The infringement covers the highly successful Call of Duty franchise among several other yet to be named game titles.[16]

During pre-trial oral arguments Activision Blizzard lead counsel was quoted on the record stating "billions were at stake"[37] in regard to the claims made by Worlds, Inc.

The case was heard on October 3, 2014 in Massachusetts Federal Court with Judge Denise Caspar presiding. As of December 31, 2014, Judge Denise Caspar had yet to rule on which of the claims would proceed to trial.[38]

As of June 29, 2015, Worlds Inc. asserts the federal court that on Friday issued a Markman ruling related to the company's infringement suit against Activision "ruled that the majority of our patent claims construction language means precisely what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office interpreted the claims to mean in the patents they granted to us," thereby leaving the company "in a strong position for a jury trial." Worlds hopes to receive a trial date at a July 30 scheduling hearing.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Activision - Corporate Info". from Activision's official website. 
  2. ^ "Activision Blizzard - Annual Report 2013" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Vivendi. Retrieved April 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Activision - Blizzard: Our Company". 
  5. ^ a b "The Top 25 Public Companies Generated $54.1Bn Game Revenues in 2014, Up 10.4% Year-on-Year". NewZoo. April 20, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander. "EU greenlights Activision-Vivendi merger". 
  7. ^ a b Thang, Jimmy. "Activision/Vivendi Games Merger Approved: Stockholders support Activision Blizzard venture". 
  8. ^ Thorsen, Tor; Sinclair, Brendan (May 5, 2009). "Vivendi CEO Activision Blizzard's new chairman". Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  9. ^ Tim Bradshaw, Maija Palmer (June 30, 2010). "Computer games industry hits at tax rethink". Financial Times. Retrieved June 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ Crecente, Brian (November 11, 2011). "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Shatters All Sales Records". Kotaku. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ "MW3 Breaks Black Ops Launch Record". November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c M. Ewalt, David (July 29, 2011). "Bobby Kotick On Hatching Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure". Forbes. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Skylanders story". April 16, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  14. ^ Takahashi, Dean (June 5, 2012). "With Skylanders Giants, Activision could dominate toys and video games (video and gallery)". VentureBeat. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ Appell, Adrienne. "Toy Industry Unveils Nominees for 2012 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards; Announces Inductees into Toy Industry Hall of Fame". Toy Industry Association. 
  16. ^ a b "Worlds vs. Activision Original patent infringement". 
  17. ^ "Activision Blizzard Inc details.". p. 2. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Blizzard stay autonomous in Activision merger, Sierra not so lucky - Strategy Informer". 
  19. ^ Sinclair, Brendan. "Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, more dropped by Activision". 
  20. ^ "Sierra Community Forums - Closure Announcement". Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. 
  21. ^ "INTERVIEW - Thomas Tippl | Gaming Industry | Interview by MCV". 
  22. ^ a b "Activision Blizzard Announces Transformative Purchase of Shares from Vivendi and New Capital Structure". Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ Seppala, Timothy J. (October 13, 2013). "Activision Blizzard completes buyback from Vivendi Universal in multi-billion dollar deal". Engadget. Retrieved August 29, 2015. 
  24. ^ Makuch, Eddie (October 12, 2013). "Activision Blizzard completes buyback from Vivendi". GameSpot. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Vivendi to sell 41.5 million Activision Blizzard shares". Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  26. ^ Takahashi, Dean (August 27, 2015). "Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard joins the S&P 500". VentureBeat. Retrieved October 23, 2015. 
  27. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (June 3, 2015). "Skylanders SuperChargers adds vehicles to the list". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  28. ^ Parfitt, Ben (September 18, 2015). "Destiny: The Taken King claims PSN's records". MCV - UK. Retrieved October 23, 2015. 
  29. ^ Morris, Chris (October 22, 2015). "Why Activision-Blizzard just launched a new eSports division". Fortune. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Activision Blizzard to Buy King Digital, Maker of Candy Crush". The New York Times. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  31. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (November 6, 2015). "Call of Duty Movie, Skylander TV Show Headline New Activision Blizzard Film Studio". IGN. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Activision Acquires U.K. Game Developer Bizarre Creations". from Activision's website. 
  33. ^ Sinclair, Brendan. "Budcat put down". 
  34. ^ Fritz, Ben (February 11, 2010). "Activision lays off about 200 employees, shuts down Santa Monica studio Luxoflux". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 
  35. ^ Fahey, Mike (May 3, 2014). "Report: Neversoft Merging With Call Of Duty Developer Infinity Ward". Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  36. ^ Phillips, Tom (July 10, 2014). "Tony Hawk studio Neversoft bids farewell, burns eyeball effigy". Eurogamer. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  37. ^ Patent Plays (February 13, 2014). "Where's The Next Billion-Dollar PAE Play?". Seeking Alpha. 
  38. ^ Patent Plays (October 3, 2014). "With Cameras Rolling, Worlds Inc. Battles Activision Blizzard October 3". Seeking Alpha. 

External links[edit]