Activision Publishing, Inc.


Activision, Inc. was founded in 1979 by four programmers at Atari, Inc. after they wanted more money and recognition for the games that they created for the Atari 2600. A sales sheet, intended to list what type of games sold best so the programmers would make more like those, showed that the four of them made over 60% of the company's sales at the time, over $60 million. Atari president Ray Kassar dismissed their contract renegotiations and at that point they left.

David Crane, Alan Miller, Robert Whitehead, Larry Kaplan, and former record industry executive Jim Levy founded Activision and their games would have a biography and their signature at the end of the instruction booklets. This took off and Activision made millions in sales. It also marked the start of third-party publishing and development, as previously the owner of the hardware also made all the games for it.

The name of the company was chosen because they wanted a name that was higher up alphabetically than Atari in order to show that it was superior.

In 1984, sales began to fall as the video game crash happened (in late 1983), there was a split on the direction of the company on whether to keep going with video games or computer games. Over the next few year, key employees at Activision left and formed their own companies. Many of these new companies chose names alphabetically above Activision (such as Accolade, Acclaim, and Absolute Entertainment). With sales dropping and Jim Levy's style of crediting individuals in the games becoming less effective, he left the company in 1985.

In 1989, they started focusing on other computer software and changed their name to Mediagenic.

In 1991, Mediagenic filed for bankruptcy, eventually they changed their name back to Activision and in 1993, they surfaced again. Since then, Activision has been turned into the second largest publishing company in the United States.

In 2000, Activision reorganized into a holding company organizational structure. The reorganization was made effective by a merger between Activision, Inc. (the surviving company) and ATVI Merger Sub, Inc. a subsidiary of Activision Holding Company, Inc., which in return was a subsidiary of Activision, Inc.

The merger resulted in all shares of Activision Holding Company, Inc. owned by Activision, Inc. to be canceled and retired, followed by Activision, Inc. changing its name to Activision Publishing Inc. and Activision Holding Company, Inc. to Activision, Inc. The newly Activision Publishing Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision, Inc.

In 2008, the company was acquired for $18.8 billion dollars by Vivendi, a media conglomerate. The new name of the company is Activision Blizzard, Inc., as Vivendi already owned Blizzard Entertainment. The idea of this acquisition was to make Activision Blizzard, Inc. the biggest and most profitable game publishing company in the world.

Also Known As

  • Activision, Inc. (from 1992 to Jun 08, 2000)
  • Mediagenic (from 1988 to 1992)
  • Activision, Inc. (from 1979 to 1988)
  • VSYNC, Inc. (from 1979 to 1979) -- Name of first incorporation.


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