Xbox Boss Don Mattrick Is Leaving Microsoft For Zynga [Update: It’s Official]
UPDATE: It’s official. Zynga has just announced that Don Mattrick has joined the company as its new CEO. Founding CEO Mark Pincus will remain on as Chairman of the Board and Chief Product Officer. Here’s what Pincus had to say about Mattrick taking over:
“Don is unique in the game business. He can execute in multiple domains – hardware, software and network, and he’s been the person responsible for game franchises like ‘Need for Speed,’ ‘FIFA’ and ‘The Sims.’ He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams. He deeply understands the value of a network and the importance of creating lifelong consumer relationships. He turned Xbox into the world’s largest console-gaming network, growing its installed base from 10 to 80 million and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits. And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6 to 50 million active members in 41 countries. Going forward, I’ll continue in my role as Chairman and Chief Product Officer. I’m excited to partner with Don and the rest of our team to return Zynga to its leadership role in inventing and growing Play as a core human experience.”
And here’s what Mattrick himself had to say about his move to Zynga:
“In its short history, Zynga has redefined entertainment and brought social gaming to the mainstream. More than 1 billion people across web and mobile have installed Zynga games, and franchises like FarmVille and Words With Friends have become a part of people’s daily lives I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started. Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential. I’m proud to partner with Mark to deliver high-quality, fun, social games wherever people want to play.”
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
In late May, Don Mattrick was on stage at Microsoft’s campus to unveil the Xbox One. Now a little over a month later, he’s no longer with Microsoft.
All Things D reports that Mattrick, who was previously the President of the Xbox division at Microsoft, has resigned. News of Mattrick’s resignation hasn’t been confirmed by MIcrosoft just yet, but multiple sources have reportedly confirmed the news to All Things D.
So, where is Mattrick headed? The report says that he may be joining Zynga as its new CEO. Current Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus will apparently work closely with Mattrick to navigate the social game maker out of its current troubles.
Of course, all of this is unconfirmed so Mattrick may be headed somewhere else, and that somewhere else might be Electronic Arts. The company has been in need of a CEO after former CEO John Riccitiello stepped down earlier this year. Mattrick, who previously served as President of Worldwide Studios at EA until 2006, would be an especially good choice to head up EA as he already has extensive knowledge of its culture and portfolio.
No matter where he ends up, it seems pretty much guaranteed that he’s out at Microsoft. The sudden departure is unexpected, and has led many in the gaming community to question it. Some think he may have been forced to resign after mishandling the Xbox One unveiling and its subsequent E3 showing. It also didn’t help that he embarrassed the company by turning around the Xbox One’s DRM policies only two weeks after announcing them. According to sources speaking to All Things D, however, the talks between Microsoft and Zynga have been going on for quite some time. It’s unlikely then that Mattrick’s handling of the Xbox One unveiling had anything to do with his resignation.
We won’t know anything for sure until more information is known, and even then, Mattrick will probably stay quiet. Much like former Windows boss Steven Sinofsky before him, he’ll probably just say it was time for him to go despite the suspicious circumstances surrounding his resignation.
We’ll update this story as soon as we hear official word from Microsoft. It’s said that an announcement could come later today after the markets close.