Activision was founded by former music industry executive Jim Levy, venture capitalist Richard Muchmore, and former Atari programmers David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead.
Activision is an American publisher, majority owned by French conglomerate Vivendi SA. Its current CEO and president is Bobby Kotick. It was founded on October 1, 1979 and was the world's first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consoles. Its first products were cartridges for the Atari 2600 video console system published from July 1980 for the US market and from August 1981 for the international market (UK).
Activision is now one of the largest third party video game publishers in the world and was also the top publisher for 2007 in the United States. On January 18, 2008, Activision announced they were the top US publisher in 2007, according to the NPD Group.
On December 2, 2007, it was announced that Activision would be acquired by Vivendi, with Vivendi contributing its gaming division plus cash, in exchange for a majority stake in the new group. The merger between Activision and Vivendi Games took place on July 9, 2008, with the newly formed company known as Activision Blizzard. Activision will still exist as a subsidiary owned by Activision Blizzard, and it will still develop and publish games such as Call of Duty and the Prototype series, along with some of Vivendi's owned IPs, such as the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon series.
As of June 15, 2010, Activision and Microsoft, specifically the Interactive Entertainment division, have an exclusive multiyear agreement; Don Mattrick announced this on June 14, 2010 during Microsoft's 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo conference. On February 9, 2011, Activision announced that it was cancelling the Guitar Hero franchise, and would no longer be developing or publishing future titles for the series and eventually clarified that the series was merely taking a break.
- Beenox in Quebec City, Canada, founded in May 2000, acquired on May 25, 2005.
- DemonWare in both Dublin, Republic of Ireland and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, founded in 2003, acquired on May 2007.
- FreeStyleGames in Leamington, England, United Kingdom, founded in 2002, acquired September 12, 2008.
- High Moon Studios in San Diego, founded as Sammy Entertainment in April 2001, acquired by Vivendi Games in January 2006.
- Infinity Ward in Encino, California, founded in 2002, acquired in October 2003.
- Neversoft in Los Angeles, founded in July 1994, acquired October 1999.
- Radical Entertainment in Vancouver, Canada, founded in 1991, acquired in 2008.
- Raven Software in Madison, Wisconsin, founded in 1990, acquired in 1997.
- Sledgehammer Games in Foster City, California, founded July 21, 2009
- Toys For Bob in Novato, California, founded in 1989, acquired May 3, 2005.
- Treyarch in Santa Monica, California, founded in 1996, acquired 2001.
- Vicarious Visions in Albany, New York, founded in 1990, acquired January 2005.