In quite a surprising move today, Activision and Vivendi Games have announced that the two companies will be combining forces to form a new gaming powerhouse called Activision Blizzard. Activision, best known for publishing the Call of Duty and Guitar Hero series, along with Vivendi Games, owner of Blizzard Entertainment and the world's most successful MMO World of Warcraft, call the merger as "creating the world's largest, most profitable pure-play videogame publisher." As the new name suggests, Blizzard Entertainment will play a more prominent role in the company.
In more RPG-centric news, Blizzard Entertainment has stated that under the terms of the agreement there will be no difference in Blizzard’s operations as a result of the merger. The company name Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and logo will be retained, as well as all day-to-day operations will go on as they were before the merger. A Blizzard representative posted this statement regarding games on the company's WoW forums: "This will not impact Blizzard’s games. We remain committed to providing the same high-quality game content and support that we always have. Development on Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II, as well as on our unannounced games, is continuing as normal."
The transaction has not fully gone through as of yet and is still subject to the approval of Activision shareholders, customary closing conditions, and regulatory approvals. Both companies expect the transaction to be completed by mid 2008.