Year formed: 1979
Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.
Studios: Beenox (Quebec City); Bizarre Creations (Liverpool, England); Infinity Ward (Encino, Calif.); Luxoflux (Santa Monica, Calif.); Neversoft (Encino, Woodland Hills, Calif.); Raven Software (Middleton, WI); RedOctane (Sunnyvale, Calif.); Shaba Games (San Francisco); Toys For Bob (Novato, Calif.); Treyarch (Santa Monica, Calif.); Vicarious Visions (Troy, N.Y.); Z-Axis (Foster City, Calif.)
Activision has just finalized a merger with Vivendi's games division, but for the period discussed here, Activision and Vivendi were considered separate entities.
According to the NPD group, Activision was the top-selling publisher in the US for the calendar year of 2007, and during our study period the company's revenues doubled and profits tripled.
But the publisher had the third-highest revenues this year, keeping it in the third-place spot for a third year in a row.
Several mega-smash releases powered those sales: Call of Duty 4 sold over ten million copies, and Guitar Hero III moved more than three million.
Licensed titles were an important part of the company's strategy: movie-based titles Spider-Man 3, Transformers, and Kung Fu Panda made strong contributions to Activision's bottom line.
To cap things off, the Vivendi merger will bring even more strength in intellectual property and development mojo -- via Blizzard -- under the Activision label.
Survey respondents gave somewhat mixed impressions of the publisher, offering no clear consensus. Some praised the company's franchise branding, marketing, Q/A, and management, and many readers were hopeful about the merger.
But a few readers noted that innovation could be better at the publisher, and some unfavorably compared Activision's focus on sequels in a few key franchises to the approach used by "the old EA."
Activision/Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare