Diablo® III

My report on the history Blizz

Had to do a paper for my business class.
I decided to go for the history of Blizzard gaming.
This history is not full and does omit some very important events in the companies history. However the information in it is all correct and sourced.
If you're interested in the company at all this can give you a little insight, but as I said there is much more than just this.
Enjoy or don't. Thanks for reading.
(Don't judge me too harshly, I wrote this in 3 1/2 hours :p)

“From small business to global giant: Blizzard Entertainment”

Blizzard Entertainment is one of the world’s largest and most popular gaming companies. Blizzard did not start that way though. Three friends who attended UCLA turned their passion for playing video games in to a successful worldwide company.
Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime attended UCLA together. After graduating and weighing their options, the three decided to found the company Silicon & Synapse in February of 1991. Mike Morhaime borrowed $15,000 from his grandmother. $10,000 went to the company; he would live off the other $5,000 for the next 2 years [2]. The roots of Blizzard Entertainment had started to grow.
In the early days of the company the three aspiring programmers had never actually made their own game. As a solution they started off by porting popular games [2]. Porting is the process of making software meant for one device or system work on another, i.e. PC to Mac. The Lost Vikings, released in 1992 was their first published work. Although they were not making games themselves yet, the experience was teaching them the tools necessary to be able to.
In 1994 the company made the name change to Blizzard Entertainment, commonly referred to as Blizzard. Shortly after, they released their first title they had developed themselves, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. It was a strategy game released on the PC and allowed users to play head to head online; setting a new standard in Blizzard’s multiplayer gaming.
While enjoying their success and after winning many awards for their work on games the previous year the owners made a big decision, to sell the company. Blizzard was sold to Davidson & Associates [3] for $6.75 million [4], an amazing amount for the company at that time. Although Blizzard was sold, all 3 owners would keep working and be left in charge of everything. Morhaime later said the reason they sold was that he could not physically keep track of everything anymore [4]; the company had grown too big.
In 1995 Blizzard expanded and bought Condor Inc., changing the name of the company to Blizzard North. The programmers in this division were to be focused on making Blizzard’s next hit, Diablo. Diablo would debut a new system called Battle.net, this service would allow users to connect online to a massive community and play with as many other gamers as they wanted. Diablo would be released in 1996 and be the top selling game in 1997, but the company was going to face more changes.
“In 1996, Davidson & Associates was bought in a stock swap valued at approximately $1 billion by a company called CUC International Inc. [3]” In 1997 CUC merged with a company called HFS, ultimately forming the Cendant Corporation, Cendant and Blizzard did not play well together. Cendant dealt primarily with things different from gaming, like hotels, realty, and shopping clubs [3]. This created great creativity and control problems, leading to a number of employees leaving Blizzard to start their own company. Despite the rifts Blizzard kept making games the public enjoyed and the company remained profitable.
In 1998 Cendant sold its software companies including Blizzard. After being thrown around between sub divisions it ended up in the Vivendi Games division [3]. This turned out to be very good for Blizzard, not only did it free them of creative restraint but in 2000 Cendant’s CFO plead guilty to several charges of fraud and testified against his boss.
Now having freedom Blizzard released Diablo II in 2000. The game was successful beyond what they thought possible. It boasted an intricate new online system for users to play together, and offered servers around the world; not just in America. In 2000 Diablo II was named the fastest selling pc game of all time by Guinness World Records [5].
In December of 2001, Vivendi bought Universal Studios [6]. This moved Blizzard to their new gaming label Vivendi Universal Games.
In 2004 Blizzard got ready to release their greatest game ever, World of Warcraft (WoW). The game would be an MMO, (Massive Multiplayer Online) require an internet connection and allow users to gather in servers of up to 100,000 players at once. The anticipation was so great that when Blizzard supplied a local store with 2,500 copies for launch there was a near riot because over 7,000 people showed up, including from other stats, to buy it [7]. WoW quickly took the new record for fastest selling PC game ever, selling 280,000 copies in its first day.
Blizzard had made a very wise decision with WoW. Not only did users purchase the retail game but they then paid a monthly subscription fee to play it. Sales records had not only been broken but Blizzard was also collecting $14.99 a month from each of those sales.
In 2008 Blizzard would make its most recent major corporate change. It would be in the form of a massive $18 billion merger between Vivendi and powerhouse Activision, resulting in Activision Blizzard. The irony of this deal was that Activision had passed on buying Blizzard back in 1995 for only $7 million [8]. In an interview with the president of Activision he said,
“"I was talking to [Blizzard founder] Mike Morhaime the other day and I said, 'You know, I could have bought you for seven million and instead it was seven billion.' [Laughs]
He said, 'Yeah, could you imagine if I had just held out for the seven billion instead of the seven million? [9]'”
Since their merge Blizzard has continue to come out with numerous popular titles including expansion sets for WoW, StarCraft 2 and most recently Diablo III. They have broken the record for fastest selling game 8 times and the record for most sold PC ever twice. Their most recent records were the fastest selling expansion ever for their WoW expansion this year, and the fastest selling PC game ever with Diablo III selling 6.4 million copies in its opening month back in May.
Despites Blizzard success their parent company is having trouble. Vivendi is currently trying to sell %61 of its shares for $8.9 billion [10], they have stated if they do not find buyers soon they will open the stock to the public.
Blizzard is a versatile company that has been able to prove one thing time and time again; they can make games that people love. Even in the face of turbulence they find some way to pull through and deliver to the public, this will not be an exception.

Sources:
[1] Clayman, David. "The History of Blizzard." IGN. IGN, Oct. 2010. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/10/22/the-history-of-blizzard?page=1>.
[2] Blizzard ENT. "Blizzard Entertainment - History Retrospective." Blizzard Entertainment - History Retrospective. YouTube, 08 Mar. 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2012.
[3] "Gale Directory of Company Histories: Blizzard Entertainment." Gale Directory of Company Histories: Blizzard Entertainment. Gale Directory, n.d. Web. <http://www.answers.com/topic/blizzard-entertainment>.
[4] "Co-Founder Looks at Chaos in Early Stages and Future Challenges." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 1994. Web. 02 Dec. 2012. <http://articles.latimes.com/1994-03-13/business/fi-33584_1_video-game-development>.
[5] "Diablo 2." The 100 Greatest Games Of All Time. Empire Online, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. <http://www.empireonline.com/100greatestgames/default.asp?p=72>.
[6] Blizzard Entertainment - History Retrospective. Blizzard ENT, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. <http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/b20/timeline.html>.
[7] Andrews, Scott. WoW Archivist: Vanilla WoW's Launch Event Was out of Control. Joystiq, 2012. Web. <http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/09/21/wow-archivist-vanilla-wows-launch-event-was-out-of-control/>.
[8] McElroy, Griffin. "Activision and Blizzard Parent Merge in $18 Billion Deal." N.p., Dec. 2007. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://www.joystiq.com/2007/12/02/activision-and-vivendi-merge-in-18-billion-deal/>.
[9] Turi, Tim. "Activision Could Have Bought Blizzard For $7 Million." Game Informer, 2010. Web. 04 Dec. 2012. <http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2010/01/18/news-kotick_3a00_-activision-could-have-bought-blizzard-for-_2400_7-million.aspx>.
[10] Gera, Emily. "Vivendi Selling 61 Percent Stake in Activision Blizzard worth $8.1 Billion." Polygon, July 2012. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://www.polygon.com/gaming/2012/7/2/3131508/vivendi-selling-61-percent-stake-in-activision-blizzard-worth-8-1>.
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A bit much to read.
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