Total Interactive announced today that it has been picked by Activision Blizzard as the newly combined publisher's New Zealand distribution agent.

Total was already the local distributor for Vivendi (the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment), but the future of that relationship had been uncertain since Vivendi proposed to merge with Activision in December last year. The mega-merger was confirmed on 9th July, creating Activision Blizzard.

Activision was formerly distributed in New Zealand by SPI, who went into receivership at the start of June. (SPI was also the local agent for Nintendo.)

Blizzard Entertainment was a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivendi Games (which purchased it as part of Sierra On-Line in 1998). The developer and publisher is responsible for hit franchises including World of Warcraft, WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo.

Activision has the Guitar Hero and Call of Duty franchises in its stable, and Vivendi Games adds Spyro and Crash Bandicoot to the list.

Activision Blizzard claims itself to be "the world’s largest and most profitable pure-play video game publisher" and the only publisher with "leading market positions across all categories" of the video games industry. The new company is 52% owned by Paris, France-based Vivendi but it will retain Activision's offices in Santa Monica, California as its headquarters. Its CEO and Chairman are former Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Vivendi Games Chairman René Penisson, respectively.

Activision and Blizzard will continue to operate as separate entities under the new company. Clearly Activision doesn't want to meddle with Blizzard's winning formula, as the Irvine, California-based Blizzard gets to retain its autonomy and corporate leadership, headed by founder and President Michael Morhaime.

Activision Blizzard reported its combined net revenues for the quarter ended 30th June 2008 totalled NZ$1.4 billion, giving it a lead on rival Electronic Arts, which reported net revenues of NZ$1.1 billion for the same quarter.