Publishing executive

On its own, Activision had a boffo year, as hits including “Call of Duty 4″ and “Guitar Hero 3″ sent revenue up 92%. But Kotick took that success even further, engineering the largest merger in videogame history by combining his company with “World of Warcraft” maker Vivendi Games to create Activision Blizzard.

“You should quickly start to see the impact of Blizzard’s online gaming expertise on us and our know-how (on) Vivendi’s console gaming business,” observes the CEO, who will lead the combined company.

When Kotick took over 18 years ago, Activision was an industry also-ran. Today he is arguably the most powerful exec in the American videogame biz. He attributes much of that success to powerful franchises such as “Call of Duty,” “Guitar Hero” and Tony Hawk skateboarding and hopes for a similar response to James Bond products this fall.

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