Xbox Chief Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft for Zynga

It’s official, folks, Don Mattrick is leaving Microsoft and taking on a new role as the CEO of Zynga. Mattrick will helm the struggling social game company, who recently announced plans to lay off 500 employees. Zynga founder, Mark Pincus announced Mattrick’s new role today. Polygon has the whole text of Pincus’ announcement, but here’s the gist:

Today is a big day. I’m excited to announce that Don Mattrick will be joining us as Zynga’s new CEO and member of our Board. I wanted to let you all know why I made the decision to recruit Don and what I think it means for all of us.

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all that we have achieved together as a company. We have pioneered social gaming and helped make Play a core part of millions of people’s lives. But Zynga has so much more potential ahead, the opportunity to be an Internet Treasure and deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games.

Mattrick has had a rough go lately, as the face of Xbox. The consumer backlash against the Xbox One’s DRM policies, and some highly publicized gaffs have tarnished his image. But Xbox Live subscription numbers and the Xbox 360 install base ballooned during his tenure as the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division. You can be sure Zynga hopes to use some of his know how to help its social gaming business bounce back.

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer touted Mattrick’s accomplishments in an email sent to all Microsoft employees. He also touched on the Xbox brand going forward. More information will certainly be coming down the pipeline soon!

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Monday, July 1, 2013
To: Microsoft – All Employees
Subject: Don Mattrick’s Next Chapter

Zynga announced today that Don Mattrick would be its new CEO, effective July 8. This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success. Don’s directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday.

Since joining IEB more than six years ago, Don and his team have accomplished much. Xbox Live members grew from 6 million to 48 million. Xbox 360 became the No. 1 selling console in North America the past two years. We introduced Kinect and have sold more than 24 million sensors. We released fantastic games, and, most importantly, we expanded Xbox to go beyond great gaming to deliver all the entertainment people want — sports, music, movies, live television and much more.

In the past month, the IEB team showed for the first time here on our Redmond campus, and again at E3, how we are going to continue to transform entertainment with Xbox One. I am incredibly proud of the work and vision culminating in Xbox One.

I’m particularly excited about how Xbox pushes forward our devices and services transformation by bringing together the best of Microsoft. The consoles are incredible all-in-one devices with built-in services that consumers love, including Bing, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer, SkyDrive and Skype. And, just as important, Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music and SmartGlass light up Windows PCs, tablets and phones.

Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry. The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.


[Via: Microsoft, Polygon]

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