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Activision Blizzard is reportedly firing its Chief Financial Officer

Activision
Activision (Image credit: Windows Central)

According to Yahoo Activision Blizzard is poised to fire its Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann for an "unspecified reason."

Activision Blizzard has had a bit of a turbulent year, owing to a steady to decline in that all-important monthly active user (MAU) count, with weak growth across many of its major properties. Despite setting sales records in 2018, franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft seemingly aren't hitting engagement targets for Activision Blizzard. A stint of poor decisions among its "Games as a Service" titles has arguably begun alienating core fans, particularly in its Blizzard subsidiary, while stiff competition from Fortnite seems to be impacting Call of Duty. Activision shares are down 26 per cent in 2018, and could decline even further.

Call of Duty and Warcraft are two of Activision Blizzard's biggest franchises.

Yahoo reports that Activision's CFO's firing is "unrelated to the Company's financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures," but beyond that, no reason has been given. A separate report from HollywoodReporter states that Neumann is expected to move to Netflix following his departure.

Recent rumors have suggested that Activision Blizzard's finance department has been instrumental in creating chaos within the Blizzard subsidiary, with reports and rumors that finance has actually been involved in creative decisions, which simply wasn't the case in previous years. Whether or not Neumann was involved in that is unknown, but it's not a stretch to speculate. It'll be interesting to see how Activision Blizzard moves forward in 2019, after what was widely regarded as a very challenging 2018 for the mega-publisher.

More: Is Activision finally devouring Blizzard?

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

7 Comments
  • Sounds like the CFO butted heads with the wrong creative director.
  • Laugh Out Loud
  • Ironically, we will be reading similar stories about Netflix in the not-so-distant future. So he's heading to a comfortable situation. 😉
  • Hardly. The CFO is being poached by Netflix. The firing is a way to make him a scapegoat of their stock doing so poorly. The tell is you don't give out a preannouncement that you are going to do something like fire your CFO (long before you have kicked him to the curb) other to stop the bleeding stock price for a moment. And I doubt Netflix saw he was being fired in their local newspaper and said they just had to pick him up as their new CFO right away. I am sure there have been meetings going on for some time now. As for his role in gaming numbers, the CFO (and his team) may have had a hand in determining metrics that made some gaming decisions but, I highly doubt he was involved with teams that decided to make games that are not enjoyable for people to play. The games are still being bought at record levels just not being played (engagement) as much after they are bought. The GAAS model is not the issue. They have been doing GAAS in some form forever, long before GAAS was considered a thing. You note World of Warcraft (picture above) and that is nothing but GAAS for over a decade. And for some reason after making the company billions you think it was a bad model. No, it says more to me about developers choices to do/change things than anything else. Especially little things that have gamers who have played previous iterations of the franchises (and are the ones that you expect to engage a lot) finding they don't care for at all. The way they handle shooting or sprinting, AI, missing maps, XP, headquarters, delayed features, etc... are examples in COD WW2 that bother players and are a bigger detriment than any GAAS issue. By the way, their stock now ticking up a little now at 46.8 has had the company value drop considerably more than 26% (for the year it is closer to 36%). It has been a drastic drop from a high of 83.39 back in September they are now down around 43.9% in overall value in those short months Just think both EA and Activision are closing on being 50% less valuable then they both were when those rumors were flying around that Microsoft was looking into buying EA (back in Jan 2018). I still think that would be a bad move but, if Microsoft is still interested (if they ever were) in spending the money on EA or even a bigger company like Activision they sure saved a lot potential coin by waiting to do it now.
  • Interesting info mate.
  • I never meant to imply GAAS was a bad model. I wanted to say shitty GAAS is a bad model. It's not like they're taking the money they made from WoW and stuffing it into a mattress, it cash flows development and salaries. If they invest millions into an expansion and it doesn't deliver on its service model in terms of subscriber revenue then it's bad GAAS. Just because it was good in previous years doesn't suddenly make all the bad shit they've been doing lately "OK." Also the features you talk about being a "bigger detriment" are actually all part of the GAAS, imo. I realize now that I actually agree with you completely, I just worded the article poorly cus it was new years and I was a bit hungover. The point I was intending to make is that their GAAS efforts recently have been bad, vs. what they were previously. Putting RNG into every level of WoW rather than just raw, quality content has pushed players away from the service, for example. I've updated the wording a bit with a sober mind.
  • LOL Jez. Typing whilst hungover is never a good thing neither is calling whilst drunk as I've seen / heard countless people do so and it's never ended well. In case this comment comes to bite me in the rear end someday, let me just qualify one thing.. well two things - I don't drink let alone smoke and don't ever plan to do so.