Activision


Activision Publishing, Inc is an American video game publisher It was founded on October 1, 1979[4] and was the world's first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consoles Its first products were cartridges for the Atari 2600 video console system published from July 1980 for the US market and from August 1981 for the international market UK[5] Activision is now one of the largest third party video game publishers in the world and was also the top publisher for 2007 in the United States[6]

Its former CEO is Robert Kotick, who was the Chief Executive Officer of Activision, Inc since February 1991 until Activision and Vivendi Games merged on July 9, 2008 to create the newly formed company known as Activision Blizzard[7][8] On July 25, 2013, Activision Blizzard announced the purchase of 429 million shares from owner Vivendi, valuing US$234 billion, becoming an independent company[9]

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 11 New Activision
    • 12 Merger with Vivendi
    • 13 Post-merger developments
  • 2 Acquisitions and partnerships
  • 3 Studios
    • 31 Current
    • 32 Defunct
    • 33 Sold
  • 4 Notable games published
    • 41 1980s
    • 42 1990s
    • 43 2000s
    • 44 2010s
  • 5 See also
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

History

Activision's headquarters in Santa Monica, California, United States

Before Activision, third-party developers did not exist[10] Software for video game consoles were published exclusively by makers of the systems for which the games were designed[11] For example, Atari was the only publisher of games for the Atari 2600 This was particularly galling to the developers, as they received neither financial rewards nor credit for games that sold well[12]

Atari programmers David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller, and Bob Whitehead met with Atari CEO Ray Kassar in May 1979 to demand that the company treat developers as record labels treated musicians, with royalties and their names on game boxes Kaplan, who called the others "the best designers for the [2600] in the world", recalled that Kassar called the four men "towel designers" and that "anyone can do a cartridge" Crane, Miller, and Whitehead left Atari and founded Activision in October 1979[13] with former music industry executive Jim Levy and venture capitalist Richard Muchmore; Kaplan joined soon David Crane has said the name "Activision" was based on Jim Levy's idea to combine 'active' and 'television' The original name proposed for the company was VSync, Inc[14]

Unlike Atari, the company credited and promoted game creators along with the games themselves The steps taken for this included devoting a page to the developer in their instruction manuals[15][16][17] and challenging players to send in a high score usually as a photograph, but letters were acceptable in order to receive an embroidered patch[18][19][20] These approaches helped the newly formed company attract experienced talent In recognition of this step, Kaplan, Levy, Miller, and Whitehead received the Game Developers Choice "First Penguin" award in 2003

The departure of the four programmers, whose titles made up more than half of Atari's cartridge sales at the time,[14] caused legal action between the two companies not settled until 1982 As the market for game consoles started to decline, Activision branched out, producing game titles for home computers and acquiring smaller publishers

In 1982, Activision released Pitfall! on the Atari 2600 Designed and developed by David Crane, it was a huge success Many clones of the game were introduced, including stand-up arcade games On June 13, 1986, Activision purchased struggling text adventure pioneer Infocom Jim Levy was a big fan of Infocom's titles and wanted the company to remain solvent About six months after the "InfoWedding", Bruce Davis took over as CEO of Activision Davis was against the merger from the start and was heavy-handed in its management Eventually in 1989, after several years of losses, Activision closed down the Infocom studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts, extending to only 11 of the 26 employees an offer to relocate to Activision's Silicon Valley headquarters Five of them accepted this offer[21]

In 1988, Activision began involvement in software besides video games, such as business applications As a result, Activision changed its corporate name to Mediagenic to better represent all of its activities [22][23]

Mediagenic consisted of four distinct units

  • Activision:video game publisher for various platforms, notably the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Master System, the Atari 7800, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and Amiga
  • Infocom shut down and merged into Activision in May 1989
  • Gamestar:initially an independent company but purchased by Activision in 1986 Specialized in sports video games
  • Ten point O:business application softwares [24]

New Activision

Following a multi-million judgment on damages in a patent infringement suit, wherein infringement had been determined many years prior during the Levy era, a financially weakened Mediagenic was taken over by an investor group led by Robert Kotick After taking over the company, the new management filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization In the reorganization, Mediagenic merged with The Disc Company with Mediagenic being the surviving company Mediagenic, through its Activision division, continued to publish games for PCs and video game consoles, but stopped making strategic acquisitions After emerging from bankruptcy, Mediagenic officially changed its corporate name back to Activision in December 1992 and became a Delaware Corporation it was previously a California Corporation At that point, Activision moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley originally in Mountain View and later in Santa Clara to Santa Monica in Southern California and from then on concentrated on video gaming

In 1991, Activision packaged 20 of Infocom's past games into a CD-ROM collection called The Lost Treasures of Infocom, without the feelies Infocom was famous for The success of this compilation led to the 1992 release of 11 more Infocom titles in The Lost Treasures of Infocom II

Activision published the first-person perspective MechWarrior in 1989, based on FASA's pen-and-pencil game BattleTech A sequel, MechWarrior 2, was released in 1995 after two years of delays and internal struggles, prompting FASA not to renew their licensing deal with Activision To counter, Activision released several more games bearing the MechWarrior 2 name, which did not violate their licensing agreement These included NetMech, MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bears Legacy, and MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries The entire MechWarrior 2 game series accounted for more than US$70 million in sales[25]

Activision procured the license to another pen-and-paper-based war game, Heavy Gear, in 1997 The video game version was well received by critics, with an 8146% average rating on GameRankings and being considered the best game of the genre at the time by GameSpot The Mechwarrior 2 engine was also used in other Activision games, including 1997's Interstate '76 and finally 1998's Battlezone[25]

In June 2000, Activision Holdings was created as an holding company to manage more effectively Activision and its subsdiaries[26] Immediately after, Activision changed its corporation name from "Activision Inc" to "Activision Publishing", while Activision Holdings took Activision's former corporate name of Activision Inc[26]

Merger with Vivendi

In December 2007, it was announced that Activision would merge with Vivendi Games, which owned fellow games developer and publisher Blizzard, and the merger would close in July 2008 The new company was called Activision Blizzard and was headed by Activision's former CEO, Robert Kotick Vivendi was the biggest shareholder in the new group[27] The new company was estimated to be worth US$189 billion, ahead of Electronic Arts, which was valued at US$141 billion[28]

Post-merger developments

Sledgehammer Games was founded on November 17, 2009 by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey,[29] who left Electronic Arts subsidiary, Visceral Games[30][31][32]

The Sledgehammer Games micro site went live on December 8, 2009 with information on the studio development team, location, and current job openings Speculation on the studio's next game has been offered by industry sites, Kotaku and Gamasutra[33] The studio's first game was originally planned to be a first-person shooter in the Call of Duty series, with rumors of MMO aspects, as revealed on their website[34] on June 19, 2010 However, after the resignation of many Infinity Ward employees, Sledgehammer Games was brought in to help with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3[35]

On February 9, 2011, Activision announced that it was ending its once profitable Guitar Hero franchise, in the process doing a layoff of approximately 500 people At the same time it announced that it was discontinuing development of True Crime: Hong Kong, and that it was refocusing its efforts into a new online service named Call of Duty: Elite for its IP Call of Duty At the same meeting these announcements were made, Activision reported net losses of $233 million for fourth quarter 2010[36]

Activision has recently mid-2011 restarted its in-house development team, releasing Generator Rex: Agent of Providence in October 2011 for PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Xbox 360[37] The game was roundly ignored by critics, with no review scores available on Metacritic as of February 2012[38]

Acquisitions and partnerships

Year Acquisition
1997 Raven Software made an exclusive publishing deal with Activision and was subsequentally acquired by them This partnership resulted in Hexen II, Heretic II, Soldier of Fortune, its sequel and Quake 4 That same year, Activision acquired CentreSoft Ltd, an independent distributor in the United Kingdom and NBG Distribution a German distributor
1998 Pandemic Studios was founded with an equity investment by Activision Pandemic's first two games, Battlezone II: Combat Commander and Dark Reign 2, were both sequels to Activision games That same year, Activision also inked deals with Marvel Entertainment, Head Game Publishing, Disney Interactive, LucasArts Entertainment and CD Contact Data
1999 Activision acquired Neversoft, best recognized for their line of Tony Hawk skateboarding games That same year, Activision acquired Expert Software maker of Home Design 3D
2000 Activision made an equity investment in Gray Matter Interactive, to develop the follow-up to id Software's Wolfenstein 3D
2001 Activision acquired rights to Columbia Pictures' feature film Spider-Man That same year, Activision also acquired Treyarch
2002 Activision made an equity investment in Infinity Ward, a newly formed studio comprising 22 of the individuals who developed Medal of Honor: Allied Assault That same year, Activision acquired Z-Axis Games the studio behind Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX and Luxoflux Corporation
2003 Activision and DreamWorks SKG inked a multi-year, multi-property publishing agreement That same year, Activision also formed a partnership with Valve and acquired both Infinity Ward developers of the Call of Duty franchise and software developer Shaba Games LLC

Activision and Sega made a deal to publish the US releases of PC versions of some titles, especially Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut

Activision, along with several other game software publishers, was investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its accounting practices, namely the use of the "return reserve" to allegedly smooth quarterly results

2004 The company marked its 25th anniversary, and stated that it had posted record earnings and the twelfth consecutive year of revenue growth
2005 Activision acquired ShaderWorks, acquired game developers Vicarious Visions, Toys for Bob and Beenox
2006 Activision secured the video game license to make games based on the world of James Bond from MGM Interactive An exclusive agreement between the two begins in September 2007 with Activision's first game set for release in May 2008 being developed by Treyarch, Beenox and Vicarious Visions Also in 2006, Activision acquired publisher RedOctane the publisher of the Guitar Hero franchise
2007 Activision acquired the control of games developer Bizarre Creations

Activision acquired Irish multiplayer technology company Demonware[39]

2008 Merger with Vivendi Games who owned Blizzard and Sierra to become Activision Blizzard[40]
2008 Activision acquired UK games studio FreeStyleGames[41]
2009 Activision acquired Los Angeles based developer 7 Studios[42]
2010 Partnership with Bungie[43]

Activision announced that Sledgehammer Games will be making Call of Duty games

2011 Beachhead Studios is developing the ELITE website for the Call of Duty games
2014 Activision relaunches Sierra Entertainment as an indie game publisher and to re-release old Sierra games
2016 Activision acquires $46 million USD worth of assets from Major League Gaming to develop Activision's esports activities

Studios

See also: List of Activision Blizzard studios

Current

  • Beachhead Studios in Santa Monica, California, founded in February 2011
  • Beenox in Québec City, Québec, Canada, founded in May 2000, acquired on May 25, 2005
  • Demonware in both Dublin, Republic of Ireland and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, founded in 2003, acquired in May 2007
  • FreeStyleGames in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, founded in 2002, acquired on September 12, 2008
  • Fun Labs in Bucharest, Romania, founded in 1999
  • High Moon Studios in San Diego, California, founded as Sammy Corporation in April 2001, acquired by Vivendi Games in January 2006
  • Infinity Ward in Woodland Hills, California, founded in 2002, acquired in October 2003
  • Radical Entertainment in Vancouver, Canada, founded in 1991, acquired by Vivendi Games in 2005
  • Raven Software in Madison, Wisconsin, founded in 1990, acquired in 1997
  • Sledgehammer Games in Foster City, California, founded on July 21, 2009
  • Toys for Bob in Novato, California, founded in 1989, acquired on May 3, 2005
  • Treyarch in Santa Monica, California, founded in 1996, acquired in 2001
  • Vicarious Visions in Menands, New York, founded in 1990, acquired in January 2005

Defunct

  • The Blast Furnace in Leeds, United Kingdom, founded in November 2011 as Activision Leeds, changed rename in August 2012, closed in March 2014
  • Gray Matter Interactive in Los Angeles, California, founded in the 1990s as Xatrix Entertainment, acquired in January 2002, merged into Treyarch in 2005
  • Infocom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded on June 22, 1979, acquired in 1986, closed in 1989
  • Luxoflux in Santa Monica, California, founded in January 1997, acquired in October 2002, closed on February 11, 2010[44]
  • Shaba Games in San Francisco, California, founded in September 1997, acquired in 2002, and closed on October 8, 2009[45][46]
  • RedOctane in Mountain View, California, founded in November 2005, acquired in 2006, closed on February 11, 2010[47]
  • Underground Development in Redwood Shores, California, founded as Z-Axis in 1994, acquired in May 2002, closed on February 11, 2010[47]
  • Budcat Creations in Iowa City, Iowa, founded in September 2000, acquired on November 10, 2008, closed in November 2010
  • 7 Studios in Los Angeles, California, founded in 1999, acquired on April 6, 2009, closed in February 2011
  • Bizarre Creations in Liverpool, England, founded as Raising Hell Productions in 1987 and changed name in 1994, acquired on September 26, 2007,[48] closed on February 18, 2011
  • Neversoft in Los Angeles, California, founded in July 1994, acquired in October 1999, merged into Infinity Ward on May 3, 2014[49] and was officially made defunct on July 10, 2014[50]

Sold

  • Wanako Studios in New York City, founded in 2005, acquired by Vivendi Games on February 20, 2007, sold to Artificial Mind and Movement on November 20, 2008
  • Swordfish Studios in Birmingham, England, founded in September 2002, acquired by Vivendi Universal Games in June 2005, sold to Codemasters on November 14, 2008
  • Massive Entertainment in Malmö, Sweden, founded in 1987, acquired by Vivendi Universal Games in 2002, sold to Ubisoft on November 10, 2008

Notable games published

Main article: List of Activision video games

1980s

  • Fishing Derby 1980
  • Boxing 1980
  • Skiing 1980
  • Freeway 1981
  • Ice Hockey 1981
  • Kaboom! 1981
  • Stampede 1981
  • Barnstorming 1982
  • Enduro 1982
  • Chopper Command 1982
  • Pitfall! 1982
  • River Raid 1982
  • Robot Tank 1983
  • HERO 1984
  • Transformers series 1986–present
  • River Raid II 1988

1990s

  • Hunter 1991
  • MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat 1995
  • Quake series[a]
  • Interstate '76 1997
  • Battlezone 1998
  • SiN 1998
  • Vigilante 8 series 1998–2008
  • Tenchu: Stealth Assassins 1998
  • Civilization: Call to Power 1999
  • Tony Hawk's series 1999–present

2000s

  • X-Men series 2000–2011
  • Star Trek series 2000–2002
  • Call to Power II 2000
  • Minority Report: Everybody Runs 2001
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast 2002
  • Spider-Man film series 2002–2014
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy 2003
  • Call of Duty series 2003–present
  • True Crime series 2003–2005
  • Doom 3 2004
  • Rome: Total War 2004
  • Gun 2005
  • Guitar Hero series 2006–2011, 2015–present[b]
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series 2006–2013
  • Barbie series 2006
  • James Bond series 2007–2013
  • Crash Bandicoot series 2008–present
  • Spyro the Dragon series 2008–present
  • Prototype series 2009–2012
  • DJ Hero series 2009–2011

2010s

  • Blur 2010
  • Singularity 2010
  • Skylanders series 2011–present
  • Goldeneye 007: Reloaded 2011
  • Destiny 2014–present

See also

  • Los Angeles portal
  • Companies portal
  • Video games portal
  • List of video game companies

Notes

  1. ^ With the exception of the first Quake
  2. ^ With some exceptions

References

  1. ^ Fletcher, JC July 13, 2010 "Activision Publishing names Eric Hirshberg as new CEO" Engadget AOL Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  2. ^ "About Activision Publishing" wwwactivisioncom Activision Publishing Retrieved August 17, 2014 
  3. ^ "Activision Blizzard, Inc 2013 Annual Report Form 10-K" XBRL United States Securities and Exchange Commission March 3, 2014 
  4. ^ Activision – Investor Relations: Historical Timeline from Activision's official website
  5. ^ "Zoom" Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  6. ^ Jenkins, David July 24, 2007 "Activision Beats EA As Top Third Party Publisher In US" Gamasutra Archived from the original on August 11, 2007 Retrieved July 24, 2007 
  7. ^ "Bobby Kotick - Activision - Blizzard: Senior Corporate Management" Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  8. ^ Rosmarin, Rachel December 2, 2007 "Vivendi To Merge With Activision" Forbes Forbescom LLC Retrieved August 22, 2012 
  9. ^ Activision Blizzard Announces Transformative Purchase of Shares from Vivendi and New Capital Structure, Retrieved July 25, 2013
  10. ^ "Stream of video games is endless" Milwaukee Journal December 26, 1982 pp Business 1 Retrieved January 10, 2015 
  11. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Worley, Joyce; Katz, Arnie November 1988 "Video Gaming World" Computer Gaming World p 54 
  12. ^ "Classic Gaming Expo Distinguished Guest: ALAN MILLER" Classic Gaming Expo CGE Services, Corp 1999–2010 Archived from the original on February 8, 2012 Retrieved August 22, 2012 
  13. ^ Hubner, John; Kistner Jr, William F November 28, 1983 "What went wrong at Atari" InfoWorld Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News p 151 Retrieved March 5, 2012 
  14. ^ a b "DAVID CRANE INTERVIEW 1994" Video Game Ephemera Retrieved December 10, 2014 
  15. ^ Ice Hockey Instructions, page 4 Activision 1981
  16. ^ Pitfall! Instructions, page 4 Activision 1982
  17. ^ Chopper Command Instructions, page 4 Activision 1982
  18. ^ Ice Hockey instructions, page 3 Activision 1981
  19. ^ Pitfall! Instructions, page 3 Activision, 1982
  20. ^ Chopper Command Instructions, page 3 Activision 1982
  21. ^ "Down From the Top of Its Game: The Story of Infocom, Inc" PDF MIT December 15, 2000 Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  22. ^ https://booksgoogleca/booksid=oDoEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA34&lpg=PA34&dq=mediagenic+activision+divisions&source=bl&ots=bW8gBM1_xe&sig=Q99Dme4yB05X7U04oS5zex9SwzI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjB4P-ti6bQAhWn64MKHdrkDWQQ6AEIWDAN#v=onepage&q=mediagenic%20activision%20divisions&f=false
  23. ^ http://wwwgamasutracom/view/feature/1537/the_history_of_activisionphpprint=1
  24. ^ http://trademarkalertzcom/trademark/73761861-TEN-POINT-O
  25. ^ a b "Mechwarrior - History" Retrieved February 12, 2016 [unreliable source]
  26. ^ a b http://wwwshareholdercom/Common/Edgar/718877/912057-01-521517/01-00pdf
  27. ^ "Vivendi and Activision to create Activision Blizzard – World's Largest, Most Profitable Pure-Play Video Game Publisher" Press release Activision, Vivendi December 2, 2007 Archived from the original on April 9, 2008 Retrieved December 2, 2007 
  28. ^ Szalai, Georg July 8, 2008 "Activision-Vivendi to Shake Up Games Biz" AdWeek Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  29. ^ "Michael Condrey" MobyGames Retrieved December 19, 2009 
  30. ^ "News: Activision cracks EA with Sledgehammer" ComputerAndVideoGamescom November 18, 2009 Archived from the original on November 20, 2009 Retrieved December 19, 2009 
  31. ^ "Activision Publishing Hires Industry Veterans Glen A Schofield and Michael Condrey to Lead Sledgehammer Games – Yahoo! Finance" Financeyahoocom November 17, 2009 Archived from the original on November 27, 2009 Retrieved December 19, 2009 
  32. ^ Chalk, Andy November 18, 2009 "The Escapist : News : EA Vets Launch New Activision Studio" Escapistmagazinecom Archived from the original on November 21, 2009 Retrieved December 19, 2009 
  33. ^ "Sledgehammer Games Goes Online, Needs Help – Sledgehammer games" Kotaku December 8, 2009 Archived from the original on December 12, 2009 Retrieved December 19, 2009 
  34. ^ "Sledgehammer Games working on new Call of Duty" Extra Guy June 19, 2010 Retrieved June 19, 2010 
  35. ^ "Modern Warfare 3 on track for November" Fudzilla January 21, 2011 Retrieved January 27, 2011 
  36. ^ "Activision pulls plug on Guitar Hero, laying off 500 workers" Los Angeles Times February 9, 2011 Retrieved February 9, 2011 
  37. ^ "Activision is developing again" Retrieved August 1, 2011 
  38. ^ "Generator Rex: Agent of Providence" Metacritic Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  39. ^ Fohey, Rob March 6, 2007 "Activision confirms Demonware acquisition" GamesIndustrybiz Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  40. ^ "Blizzard Entertainment - Press Release" July 10, 2008 Archived from the original on July 12, 2008 Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  41. ^ Bramwell, Tom October 28, 2008 "Activision man confirms DJ Hero" Eurogamer Eurogamer Network Retrieved November 10, 2008 
  42. ^ "Activision Blizzard Announces Better-Than-Expected Second quarter CY 2009 Financial Results" Activision August 15, 2009 
  43. ^ Ashcraft, Brian "Halo Developer Joins Forces With Activision" Kotaku 
  44. ^ "Activision lays off about 200 employees, shuts down Santa Monica studio Luxoflux" Los Angeles Times February 11, 2010 Archived from the original on May 15, 2010 Retrieved May 2, 2010 
  45. ^ McWhertor, Michael "Activision Lays Off Shaba's Ranks, Closes Studio Update" Kotaku 
  46. ^ Martin, Matt October 9, 2009 "Activision confirms Shaba Studios closure" GamesIndustrybiz Retrieved February 12, 2016 
  47. ^ a b Plunkett, Luke "Activision Shutters Guitar Hero Creators, GH: Van Halen Developers Update" Kotaku 
  48. ^ Activision Acquires UK Game Developer Bizarre Creations from Activision's website
  49. ^ Fahey, Mike May 3, 2014 "Report: Neversoft Merging With Call Of Duty Developer Infinity Ward" kotakucom Retrieved June 16, 2014 
  50. ^ Phillips, Tom July 10, 2014 "Tony Hawk studio Neversoft bids farewell, burns eyeball effigy" Eurogamer Retrieved July 11, 2014 

External links

  • Official website


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