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Activision Blizzard fires current Chief Financial Officer, Dennis Durkin announced as new CFO

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UPDATE: It’s been reported by Reuters that Spencer Neumann, the CFO of Activision Blizzard, has been poached to work as the CFO Netflix. Netflix is expected to announce the news in the next few days.


Activision Blizzard has filed a report with the SEC on New Years Eve stating they want to fire their current Chief Financial Officer over incidents unrelated to the finances or corporate decisions. Activision Blizzard wants to terminate the contract of Spencer Neumann, who has been the Chief Financial Officer of the company since May 2017. 

The SEC filing states that “on December 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (the “Company”) notified Spencer Neumann, the Company’s current Chief Financial Officer, that the Company intends to terminate Mr. Neumann’s employment for cause unrelated to the Company’s financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures.”

The filing says it’s unrelated to the company’s finance reporting, but does not elaborate on what’s the reasoning behind this decision. The SEC report also states that Activision Blizzard is allowing Neumann to file a report to counter the firing if he wants, but is on paid leave until that can happen.

The company announced that Dennis Durkin will take over as Chief Financial Officer effective Jan 1, 2019. Durkin has been with the company since 2012 — he was originally the Chief Financial Officer, then became the Chief Corporate Officer of the company. Now he returns to being CFO going forward. 

This news comes as Activision Blizzard didn’t have the best year in 2018, with Destiny 2 underperforming, Blizzard’s lower revenue from services, and Black Ops 4’s sales not fully matching the expectations some analysts had. 

We’ll update as more information is shared. 

SOURCE: Activision 

Activision

Modern Warfare is now the best selling Call of Duty in its first year

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Activision Blizzard has announced it’s Q3 2020 Financial Results, which continue to exceed expectations as people move to gaming avenues during this time.

Activision has stated that generated over $1.2 billion in revenue from microtransactions across all of their titles, a new record for Q3.

The company also announced that Modern Warfare is now the best selling premium Call of Duty in its first year ever, with almost two-thirds coming digitally. Warzone also continues to see incredible success, on PC as well, with PC microtransaction sales four times higher this year.

“Our teams continue to execute our growth plans with excellence during incredibly challenging circumstances,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “We are on a path to deliver sustained long-term growth across our fully-owned franchises. With confidence in our ability to continue to execute, we are raising our outlook for the year and remain enthusiastic for our growth prospects next year.”

Activision says that monthly active users for Modern Warfare & Warzone saw “three times as many” this year compared to Q3 2019.

Here’s the higlights from Activision on the quarter, which is quite impressive:

  • Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® and Warzone™ saw more than three times as many MAUs as the prior title in the year-ago quarter. Console MAU grew strongly and PC MAUs grew over ten-fold year-over-year. Across PC and console combined, hours played were approximately seven times higher year-over-year.
  • We again saw substantial year-over-year growth in premium game sales as Warzone players chose to upgrade to the full Call of Duty experience. Modern Warfare first-year premium sales are the highest in Call of Duty’s history, with two-thirds of units sold digitally.
  • Call of Duty console and PC in-game net bookings were four times the year-ago level.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will release on November 13 into the largest and most engaged community in franchise history at the time of launch, and will support cross-platform play across PC, current-generation, and next-generation consoles. Anticipation for the release is high, with far more players engaged in the game’s public testing than for the year-ago title.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War arrives Nov. 13.

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Call of Duty League

CDL Commissioner Johanna Faries set to be lead both CDL and OWL

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This week has been an interesting week for Activision Blizzard’s Esports division and leagues.

It was first reported earlier this week that Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez is in talks with Immortals to reacquire the OpTic Gaming brand. With that, H3CZ would also acquire the CDL LA Spot.

Since H3CZ is a part of NRG has Co-CEO with the Chicago Huntsmen, Activision’s rules state one organization cannot own two spots in the same league. Rumors of who H3CZ plans to sell the spot to is rampant, but no official information has been disclosed.

Late on Thursday, Esports Observed also reported that Pete Vlastelica, the Commissioner of the Overwatch League stepped down from his role.

Now, EsportsObserved reports that Johanna Faries, current Commissioner of the Call of Duty League, is expanding her role to become ‘Head of Leagues’ at Activision Blizzard. In this newly created position, she will lead both Overwatch League and Call of Duty League’s league administration and broadcast operations.

Brandon Snow, current Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports, is expanding his role to include marketing & analytics for the league. The former Chief Marketing Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports left in early September to be VP of DC Comics division of WarnerBros.

Both these new roles will take effect October 12, per EsportsObserved.

The first season of the Call of Duty League ended on August 31 with the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend. The event featured the most viewers in Call of Duty esports history, capping off a dynamically changing year with the on going pandemic.

Call of Duty League’s second season is set to kick off in 2021 with some major changes. The league announced that it will return to a 4v4 format, leaving one player on each roster looking for another starting role. They also announced that matches will be played on PC using controllers going forward instead of extending the esports partnership with PlayStation.

Activision has not announced these changes officially at this time.

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Activision

Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer

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Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.

In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.

Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.

The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.

In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.

In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.

The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.

Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.

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