What does this mean for Blizzard’s falling numbers?
On December 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard announced that Chief Financial Officer, Spencer Neumann had been placed on paid leave and intended to terminate his contract if he could not demonstrate why he should keep his job. Although Activision Blizzard says Neumann’s termination had nothing to do with falling declining share value, he was replaced with Activision Blizzard veteran Dennis Durkin.
Activision Blizzard had a pretty bad year.
While the Call of Duty franchise is wildfly popular, their attempt to capitalize on the battle royale craze was not as fruitful as they would have liked. The franchise’s sales have been on the decline. While Activision boasted a successful Black Ops 4 launch, raking in $500 million during its first 72 hours, Black Ops 2 pulled in the same amount during its first 24 hours.
Destiny 2 did not pull in the numbers expected either. The second installment of Destiny left much to be desired, according to fans, with quite a few Destiny YouTubers and Twitch streamers abandoning the franchise to focus on other games.
At BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard announced the next Diablo installment, Diablo Immortal, to be a mobile game, effectively pissing off fans.
Popular World of Warcraft addon, Weak Auras claimed that WoW subscriptions went from 3.4 million at the launch of Battle for Azeroth to 1.7 million in October. Blizzard has not released subscription numbers since 2015 and Weak Auras’ numbers are based on an API that they allege “leaked player subscription end dates.”
While gaming, in general, has had a pretty lackluster year, Activision Blizzard has been particularly not good. And although Neumann’s termination is said to not have to do with falling share prices, but for not fulfilling his legal obligation to his contract, his performance as CFO with Activision Blizzard was clearly unimpressive.
Dennis Durkin, Neumann’s replacement, previously served as Activision Blizzard’s CFO from March 2012 to May 2017. CEO Bobby Kotick said of Durkin, “He is a seasoned leader known for driving financial and operational excellence. We missed having him in a more day-to-day operational and financial role and are glad to have him back as CFO.” Under Dirkin’s leadership, Activision Blizzard was able to:
buyback of Vivendi sharesin 2013
acquire mobile gaming developer King in 2016.
see the company’s stock price grow over 400
What could this change in leadership mean? It could mean a return to focus on gamer satisfaction with beloved franchises and more acquisitions of smaller developers with popular games. Hopefully both. What do you hope will come out of the change in leadership? Tell us in the comments below.