Company History and Profile
Activision and Blizzard Entertainment have been longstanding brands within the gaming industry for some time. Activision started out in 1979 as the world’s first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consoles such as Atari, Nintendo, and Sega, in addition to developing both gaming and business applications for personal computers. One of their earliest major hit games was Pitfall, which was designed for the Atari 2600 series gaming console. This project was so successful; it resulted in the production of several clones, including stand-up arcade games. After losing a multi-million dollar judgment on damages involving a patent infringement, Activision went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and reorganization in 1991. It was during this time when they decided to concentrate solely on a video gaming production strategy, eventually developing popular games such as Sonic, Guitar Hero and the current Call of Duty Series. From 1997 to 2007, Activision acquired multiple companies geared towards strengthening their position relative to their gaming strategy, but have also kept their foot in the door for expanding their market into other entertainment ventures. Beginning in 1998, Activision launched strategic partnerships with comic and movie producers Marvel Entertainment, Disney Interactive, and LucasArts Entertainment. In 2001, Activision acquired the rights to the Columbia Pictures’ feature film Spider-Man, and had signed a multi-year publishing agreement between DreamWorks SKG in 2003. Blizzard Entertainment began in 1991 as a company called Silicon & Synapse, also designing games for Sega-Genesis, Super Nintendo, and DOS- and Mac- compatible games for personal computers. The company established the Blizzard Entertainment label in 1994, when they became one of the most popular and well respected makers of computer games. Blizzard’s main focus is on creating well-designed, highly enjoyable entertainment experiences, and by doing so, has maintained a reputation for quality within the gaming industry. Released in 1994, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans became their first in a series of role-play strategy games to win accolades as one of the best games of that year. Multiplayer computer games were still relatively new at this time, and Blizzard began to take advantage of the opportunities that this niche had to offer. They are now the leader in the field of massively multiplayer online games (MMORPG), with more than 11.5 million monthly subscriptions. Blizzard has additionally developed a trio of popular PC games, including the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo series, creating a culture that champions both productive and experimental creativity which inspires devoted players. Jeff Green, editor-in-chief of the online gaming magazine 1Up.com notes, “[Blizzard people] are essentially design geniuses, making games easy enough for casual players and deep enough to attract and hook hard-core players. Simple to learn, difficult to master is the holy grail of game design, and Blizzard does this every single time.” In late 1998, Blizzard Entertainment became a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Vivendi, grouped into its Vivendi Universal Games division. From 2000 to 2007, Blizzard Entertainment released several games under their trilogy series, consistently exceeding sales projections and becoming the unprecedented leader within the gaming industry. On December 2, 2007, it was announced that Activision would be acquired by Vivendi, with Vivendi contributing its gaming division plus a cash investment, in exchange for a majority stake in the new group. In 2008, Vivendi Games merged with Activision, using the Blizzard brand in naming the resulting company, Activision Blizzard. SWOT Analysis
Activision Blizzard’s balance sheet was initially considered to be its most valuable strength when the merger between the two companies transpired;...
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