Don Mattrick Leaves Xbox One, Microsoft To Become Zynga's CEO

This marquee event, by some, has been described as a rat jumping from a sinking ship only to run into a burning building. If you don't know what I'm talking about, there were rumors running strong and rampant that a certain key figure in Microsoft – responsible mostly for how people view the Xbox One today – leaving the company just a few months before the launch of the console, to pursue a top executive position over at Zynga. Well, the rumors turned out to be true.

The story originated on All Things Digital about Mattrick being one of the executives effaced from the Microsoft employment pool as part of their restructuring. Well, shortly after the story went live on All Things D, Zynga sent out word that Don Mattrick has become the new Chief Executive Officer at the billion dollar casual gaming giant.

According to Mattrick...

"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."

Zynga hasn't had it off easy, though. The company has undergone quite a bit of turmoil and a lot of financial ebbs and flow as the company recently came off a 520 worker layoff, as reported by USA Today. The event caught a lot of attention on Reddit where former employees talked about the fallout that occurred just a month ago. This followed on Zynga's shutdown of several games, including Fishville and Treasure Isle.

Don Mattrick's previous position at Microsoft was the president of the Interactive Entertainment Business, where he helped “grow” and “expand” the Xbox brand. Mattrick's job was to oversee a lot of what the Xbox brand became, including Kinect, Xbox Live and, of course, the Xbox One.

Mattrick recently became famous for saying that if you didn't have a good enough internet connection to use the Xbox One, there's a product called the Xbox 360. At least he encouraged consumers to keep it in the Xbox family, eh?

Mattrick was continually lambasted by the community for the botched and unclear vision put forward by Microsoft regarding the Xbox One and its policies. Nevertheless, the company eventually reneged on the DRM that caused public outcry, but it came at a cost to the brand's reputation.

However, Don Mattrick's antics at Microsoft have been completely absolved in the eyes of Zynga's chairman and head honcho, Marcus Pincus, one of the top five worst CEOs in business today, who wrote...

"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.”

It will be a fascinating thing to see how well Mattrick works out at Zynga, especially considering that he basically upchucked from Microsoft during a period where the Xbox brand could really use a public facelift in the marketing and public opinion department.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.