Blizzard: We wanted to merge with Activision

I remember quite a few gamers lamenting Activision’s and Vivendi’s plans to merge when the news was announced back in early December. Lowered quality across the board, along with developers forced to get new franchise installments out at least once a year — a concern that isn’t entirely unfounded — were the main concerns on people’s minds. Quite a few people also wondered how this merger might affect Blizzard, a developer whose ethos seems almost entirely opposite to that of Activision’s.

Well, according to COO Paul Sams, Blizzard has been totally fine with the merger: in fact, they’re the ones who originally suggested Activision to Vivendi in the first place.

“What people don’t realize is that Blizzard is absolutely, positively supportive of doing this,” Sams told GamesIndustry.biz. “I think maybe people believe that Activision and Vivendi got together and sat in a room, and thought it would be great, and then informed us.”

“The Vivendi people were there, but the reality is that in Vivendi Games, Blizzard is the crown jewel, so we needed to be on board and believe in it. And honestly, when [Vivendi] said to us they were thinking about exploring the possibility of something like this, we said that if we were going to do something like that, it should be with Activision – those words came from our mouth.”

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime has also confirmed that we “shouldn’t notice any difference” in how the developer operates post-merger. It’s nice to know that Blizzard will retain its freedom, but what about Vivendi’s other studios that don’t share its “crown jewel” status? I’m specifically referring to Sierra Entertainment, who will have to pitch every game — even those currently in development — to Activision executives that will decide whether or not to drop them.

Does Blizzard’s support of Activision allay some of your worries over the soon-to-be-completed merger?

Justin Villasenor