Activision is an American video game publisher, majority owned by French conglomerate Vivendi SA. Its current CEO is Eric Hirshberg. 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, along with some of Vivendi's owned IPs, such as the Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Prototype 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.