The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, but it is now as clear as it has ever been that the games industry is going the route of the rest of the successful consumer industries and consolidating the hell out of itself.
Activision has been clawing at some kind of strategy to truly compete with Electronic Arts as the industry's biggest 800-pound gorilla, and I suppose it was inevitable that the strategy was less a finely-tuned procedure and more a desperate sledgehammer swing.
Blizzard and Activision (now the catchy Activision Blizzard) hardly seem like a natural fit for one another; it is a merger borne entirely out the desire for market capitalization. One spends years on finely-tuned PC games and could have easily prospered as an independent; the other shuffles internal studios to ensure every major franchise has at least one yearly iteration. Then there's Vivendi, a.k.a. Sierra, which makes stuff too.
This just gives me all the more appreciation for the absolutely insane maneuver Bungie recently pulled off. Good show, fellows.
The new Blevendivision is projected to out-earn EA in revenue. Maybe in response EA will go completely apeshit and start buying. It already owns 20% of Ubisoft and was being awful threatening a couple years back. Plus, there have been ongoing reports of Take-Two being receptive to buyers.
We're on our way to being a real entertainment industry like Hollywood and the music biz, where a few monolithic merger-formed entities dominate. We're on our way to joining other industries with bizarre monikers like PricewaterhouseCoopers and the now-trimmed AOL Time Warner.
How is a small publisher or independent developer going to be able to compete (and stave off acquisition) if their larger competitors just keep joining forces in a financial dick-waving competition? There's already BioWare/Pandemic (now part of EA), Square Enix, Namco Bandai, Sega Sammy, Foundation 9 (with its merged or acquired studios) and so on.
IGN merged with a company that provides multiplayer tech to the games it reviews, and is owned by a company looking to get back into full video game publishing. Turner-owned paid game download service GameTap has its own fully-staffed editorial news and review division. CNET/GameSpot fires people who aren't nice enough on the games. Shacknews is 25% owned by Maarten Goldstein, a Dutchman (do those people make video games?).
Anyway, get ready for Tony Hawk's StarCraft: Ghost Extreme Vulture Racing.