Former Xbox Head Don Mattrick Leaves Zynga

by Kyle Hanson

Don Mattrick should be well known among gamers these days. As the former head of Xbox, Mattrick made a name for himself largely thanks to the disastrous unveiling of the Xbox One. The stumbles of the console as it was shown off to the world were largely placed at the feet of Mattrick, who had a few gaffes of his own in later interviews. Soon after Mattrick left Microsoft to become the CEO of casual game developer Zynga. He became that company’s CEO during a particularly tumultuous time, hoping to right the ship before it was too late. His plans seem to have failed though as today came word that Don Mattrick would be stepping down as Zynga CEO, allowing the company’s founder Mark Pincus to regain the title.

The changes came abruptly, taking effect immediately upon their announcement. Mattrick had this to say about the matter “I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as C.E.O. 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.” Founder and returning CEO Mark Pincus later said that Mr. Mattrick was not fired, and that the two had agreed that it was time for this change to occur.

Zynga made a name for itself with Facebook games such as Farmville. Soon after achieving great success with these casual games, the company began to have financial troubles as their audience shifted to other games, especially on mobile platforms. Don Mattrick made efforts to shift the company’s strategies toward the mobile arena, but last year still saw 51% of Zynga’s revenue coming from Facebook. Last year’s revenue totaled $690 million, which is down significantly from $1.28 billion in 2012, the year before Mattrick became CEO, and resulted in a loss of $226 million.