The Ts are dotted, the Is are crossed and the deal is done: Activision Blizzard is now official, and officially the biggest kid in the playground.
The Washington Post made note of the most recent, and final, development in the merger between Activision and Vivendi that concluded yesterday with an overwhelmingly positive response from Activision shareholders, 92 percent of whom voted in favor of the deal. As a result of the merger, Vivendi Games, the parent company of Sierra and Blizzard, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision, which in turn will fall under the ownership of Vivendi SA, which now holds a 52 percent stake in the company.
The finalization of the Activision Blizzard deal means Electronic Arts is no longer unrivaled as the big dog in the fight. In fact, according to numbers on GameDaily, EA's valuation of $14.1 billion is dwarfed by that of Activision Blizzard, which comes in at $18.9 billion. The company has also been predicted to earn $1.38 billion in profits - yes, profits - during its first fiscal year, driven primarily by the strength of MMOG behemoth World of Warcraft. "It's good to have a duopoly instead of a monopoly," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. "This just makes the industry that much more interesting."
Despite the fact that almost nothing has been said about the new entity's plans for the future, its very existence will make things "much more interesting" indeed. For years, Electronic Arts has been the undisputed heavyweight champ. Activision, along with other companies such as Ubisoft and Take-Two, were major players, but they couldn't compare with the sheer mass and muscle of the EA juggernaut. As Pachter implied, the creation of a bigger and badder competitor with a world-wide reach will give EA a new and very immediate motivation to maintain, and hopefully even improve, its game.
Activision, meanwhile, will get a front-row seat on the Blizzard Gold Train, affording it greater opportunities for the development of future projects than it has ever had in the past. The balance of power in the videogame industry has simultaneously shifted and stabilized, which will inevitably lead to increased competition and innovation as they vie for the consuming public's attention - a very good state of affairs for gamers.