Before Activision was formed, video games were actually published by the makers of the systems the games were designed for. Because of this, developers received nothing in return for games selling well.
This changed when Jim Levy (former music industry executive) and several Atari programmers including Alan Miller, Larry Kaplan, Bob Whitehead, and David Crane formed Activision, which was the first third-party publisher for video game consoles. Levy realized that Atari's policy was not to credit video game developers and took the first steps to giving them some recognition by devoting a page in the instruction manuals to the developers themselves and even challenging players to send in high scores so they could receive a patch.
In the year 1988, Activision began to branch out to other types of software, causing them to change the company's name to Mediagenic. Eventually, the company began to struggle financially and nearly went bankrupt. That's when one Robert Kotick stepped up to the plate to take over the company. The new management filed for a reorganization, which merged Mediagenic with The Disc Company. The company continued to create games for the PC and home consoles until they finally emerged from bankruptcy and changed their name back to Activision in 1992. From this point on the company chose to focus on nothing but video games.
In 2013, Chinese company Tencent acquired a 25% share of Activision Blizzard.Vivendi
It was announced in December of 2007 that Activision was merging with Vivendi Games, which owned the video game publisher/developer Blizzard. In April of 2008, the European Commission gave permission for the merge to happen. Activision needed this approval because the Commission wanted to make sure there weren't any antitrust issues in the deal. On July 8th of the same year, stockholders agreed to merge and the deal closed the following day. The name of the company was changed to Activision Blizzard and is currently headed by the former CEO Robert Kotick.
As a result of the merger, the developer Sierra ceased operations and a rumor went out saying that the company would be "retained" if they didn't meet Activision's requirements. Another effect of the merger was the Chief Financial Officer Thomas Tippl revealing that the company would be laying off employees. Also, the following games were dropped by Activision to be picked up by another publisher:
|1997||Acquired CentreSoft Ltd. and NGB Distribution. Also made a publishing deal with Raven Software|
|1998||Made deals with Marvel Entertainment, Head Game Publishing, Disney Interactive, LucasArts Entertainment, and CD Contact Data|
|1999||Acquired Neversoft and Expert Software|
|2000||Made an investment with Gray Matter Interactive|
|2001||Acquired rights to the filmSpider Manand also acquired Treyarch|
|2002||Made an investment with Infinity Ward and acquired Z-Axis Ltd. and Luxoflux Corporation|
|2003||Acquired Infinity Ward and Shaba Games LLC. Publishing agreement with DreamWorks SKG. This was also the year that Activision was investigated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission|
|2005||Acquired Vicarious Visions, Toys For Bob, and Beenox|
|2006||Acquired video game licenses for James Bond and acquired RedOctane, Inc.|
|2007||Acquired control of Bizarre Creations and Demonware|
|2008||Merged with Vivendi and acquired FreeStyleGames|
|2009||Acquired Seven Studios|
|2010||Established partnership with Bungie|
* = Studios no longer in existence due to mergers or just closing down
** = Studios that were sold to other studios