Activision Blizzard quietly restructures

Publisher splits business into four units specifically focused on Call of Duty, Blizzard, owned IP, and licensed properties.

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Activision has been tinkering with its organizational structure in recent months, dedicating a business unit to Call of Duty and shuffling the executive deck. However, changes at the company have gone beyond the level of tinkering, according to The Los Angeles Times.

After Guitar Hero sales tanked in 2009, the franchise no longer warrants its own business unit.
After Guitar Hero sales tanked in 2009, the franchise no longer warrants its own business unit.

The paper reported on its Web site today that Activision has quietly undergone a complete restructuring, partitioning off its business into four separate units. The Call of Duty and Blizzard Entertainment divisions will remain unchanged, but the rest of the company's business has been segmented into one unit for owned properties like Guitar Hero and one for licensed games like the Marvel Comics and Transformers titles. Previously, the Guitar Hero franchise was a business unit unto itself. According to the Times, the publisher considers the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater line an owned property and has placed it in that division.

The publisher's executive reshuffling has also been more extensive than previously revealed. Former Activision Publishing president and CEO Mike Griffith is now the company's vice chairman and advisor to CEO Bobby Kotick. Thomas Tippl is filling Griffith's old role on an interim basis, the report says, and now oversees Blizzard president Mike Morhaime. As for the newly established business units, the licensed games group will be headed up by Activision Value veteran Dave Oxford, with executive vice president of owned properties Maria Stipp taking over the owned properties line.

According to the Times, Kotick explained the moves to employees in an internal memo, saying, "This is an important change as it will allow me, with Thomas, to become more deeply involved in areas of the business where I believe we can capture great potential and opportunity."

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