First Xbox, then Zynga, wherever will Mattrick go to next?
The infamous Xbox One reveal debacle came to a head when, shortly after confirming that Microsoft would be going back on the controversial DRM and internet connectivity policies that had made their third console so reviled months before it even hit the market, the then head of the Xbox division, and also commonly considered to be a destructive force within it (overseeing the dilution of Xbox’s focus from being a core console to a media device, Kinect, the shuttering and cancellation of multiple first party studios and franchises, and of course, the original Xbox One) announced that he would be leaving Microsoft and joining Zynga instead. Zynga is a major casual and social games company, behind titles such as Farmville, and it was in a period of decline when Mattrick took over two years ago.
But now, it seems that he will already be quitting it. Mattrick is stepping down from his position as CEO of the company, and in his place, it seems like Zynga’s founder and chairman of the board of directors, Mark Pincus, will return as CEO. he was the CEO before Don Matrick as well.
“I want to thank Don for his incredible efforts and leadership. He has laid groundwork that will benefit our players and company into the future,” said Pincus in an announcement.
“This hard work for our mobile players has resulted in bookings growing from 27 per cent mobile when Don joined to 60 per cent by the end of last year,” he added. “Further, to deliver unique and differentiated value to our mobile players, Don and the team acquired NaturalMotion. NaturalMotion has surprised and delighted the world with Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing resulting in more than 160m installs.”
“Now that we are a mobile first company, it’s time to renew our focus on our founding mission to connect the world through games and our vision to make play and social games a mass market activity,” Pincus continued. “I am returning to the company that I love in order to accelerate innovation in the most popular categories like Action Strategy and strengthen our focus on our core areas like Invest and Express. I look forward to partnering with our leaders to intensify our focus on social experiences for the millions of consumers who play our games.”
It does not appear as if Mattrick was forced out or anything, either- it sounds like he decided to quit of his own volition, if his own statement is anything to go by.
“When I joined the company in July 2013, Mark and I shared a vision of building a meaningful company that redefines entertainment in an increasingly mobile world. I am proud of the progress we have made together. I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as CEO and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths.
“As a company, Zynga is in a stronger position today to serve mobile consumers and take advantage of the unprecedented growth opportunity across our industry. I am excited about the company’s trajectory and wish the best for Mark, Zynga and NaturalMotion as I plan to return to Canada to pursue my next challenge.”
On the whole, it is probably for the best that Mattrick has decided to quit- in spite of the official statement, he was a destructive force at Zynga too, losing them a grand total of $287 million while at his tenure there. Although I am no fan of Zynga’s, the livelihood of a lot of people employed by it depends on the company’s health, so let’s hope that Pincus can turn the firm around somewhat.