Ten Deals That Shook The Industry

| 25 Jul 2008 16:53

Activision's merger with Vivendi and Electronic Arts' continued efforts to swallow up Take-Two are the big news of the day, but the history of the videogame industry is filled with ground-breaking deals between major players - and not all of them end happily.

The joining of Activision and Vivendi is the biggest, and the tussle between EA and Take-Two may very well be the most painfully protracted, but as a report by MCV shows, big deals between industry powerhouses is nothing new. Its list of "Top Ten Deals That Shook The Industry" includes many that are well know, one or two that aren't and a few that some people very likely wish they could take back.

The first deal on the list, for instance, is Take-Two's purchase of DMA Designs from Infogrames for $11 million, a purchase that looked relatively harmless on the surface but that gave new Take-Two entity Rockstar a chance to publish Grand Theft Auto 2 for the PlayStation 2 - ultimately leading to Grand Theft Auto III, the first step in a re-envisioned series of games that would become one of the most successful and financially lucrative videogame franchises of all time.

Vivendi subsidy Havas also makes the list for its 1998 purchase of Sierra Online and Blizzard. While the Sierra part of the deal didn't add up to much, the acquisition of World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment was a huge boost to Vivendi's gaming efforts, and would later be the catalyst for the creation of Activision Blizzard.

Perhaps the most transformative deal on the list comes from all the way back in 1988, with an arrangement between Sony and Nintendo to develop a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. When former Nintendo Chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi decided the terms of the development contract were unacceptable, he killed the deal and allied his company with Philips instead, opening the door for Sony to continue its work on the technology with an eye toward building its own standalone console that would in 1994 be unleashed upon the world as the PlayStation.

It's a fun and interesting read, and you can see it all at

Disclosure(s): Strauss Zelnick, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., is the head of ZelnickMedia, an investor in both Take-Two and Defy Media, LLC, our parent company. This article was published without approval or consent of ZelnickMedia or Take-Two.
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