Vivendi-owned online gaming heavyweight Blizzard and U.S.-based Activision announced a partnership that will result in a $18 billion video gaming company — Activision Blizzard.

An excerpt from NY Times:

The deal combines Activision and Vivendi Games, companies with different areas of strength in the booming video game business. Activision’s emphasis is on making games for consoles, like the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360.

Vivendi’s strength is in online games, like World of Warcraft, which its Blizzard Entertainment unit has built into a worldwide phenomenon with more than nine million players worldwide.

The new company is expected to have a combined turnover of $3.8 billion for 2008, which puts it at par with the leader in the game publishing industry, Electronic Arts (EA).

The gaming industry is one of the most popular and mercurial of businesses. Both Activision and Blizzard have had their share of bad times.

Gaming companies are eyeing the accelerated development in graphics technologies combined with the proliferation of portable devices with media rich capabilities. With immensely successful titles under its belt, Activision Blizzard should provide good competition to EA.

Will the combined entity be able to succeed in churning out winning titles?

More information:

Vivendi buys out Activision (BlogCritics)

Vivendi to Buy Major Activision Stake (AP)

Vivendi to Buy Activision Stake, Forming Game Venture (Bloomberg)