Xbox Head Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft; Is Now Zynga CEO

By Ishaan . July 1, 2013 . 2:20pm

Following a report earlier today that Xbox head Don Mattrick had parted ways with Microsoft to join game publisher Zynga, both companies have confirmed this is indeed the case. What follows is an e-mail Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent out to employees regarding leadership changes to the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business group:


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.




Mattrick will be taking over as Zynga’s CEO, while former CEO and co-founder Mark Pincus will now be the company’s Chief Product Officer and also remain on as Chairman of the board. Said Pincus to Zynga employees:


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.


As I reflect on the past six years, I realize that I’ve had the greatest impact working as an entrepreneur with product teams, developing games that could entertain and connect millions.


I’ve always said to Bing and our Board that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I’d do all I could to recruit and bring that person in. I’m confident that Don is that leader.


At the age of 17, Mattrick founded Distinctive Software, Inc., which was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1991. Prior to joining Microsoft, Mattrick served as the President of Worldwide Studios at EA.


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  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    Why does the company email sound like an advertisement? Wouldnt the workers already know the great and marvelous things that Microsoft and they themselve stand for?

    In any event, Im sad to see him go. He had a nice smile and always appeared whenever I thought of Xbox. Who will be their new face now? I wonder if they are trying to sway Reggie FillsAimer to come over to this side, or maybe get someone from a new and established start up technology sector job.

    • Solomon_Kano

      They’re totes gonna snatch Reggie. They’re also courting Jack Tretton if that doesn’t work out, for some reason.

      • mirumu

        They could just promote Phil Harrison…

        *tries to keep a straight face*

        • Solomon_Kano

          Hahaha. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they do…

          • mirumu

            I was going to reply to Ishaan, but I see his post has disappeared.

            In some regards perhaps he probably would be a good choice, but the position asks for a PR guru and on numerous occasions he’s been found wanting in that area. He does seem very honest, but I’m not sure that’s an asset in such a role.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Yea, after how E3 turned out for them, I wonder if they’re gonna want somebody honest as their mouthpiece. Nigh everything he said ran afoul of their PR line. So I could certainly see them not wanting him out front.

            Now the question becomes do they promote anyone or just look outside the company?

          • mirumu

            With the big reorganization under way at Microsoft right now anything’s possible. I expect this probably relates to why Mattrick moved on in the first place. Could be that position won’t even exist soon. If I recall correctly it was created for Mattrick in the first place.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Ah, that would make sense. Mattrick would know that’s coming in his position, so he could have exited in advance of his spot being liquidated.

        • Lightthrower

          Agent Harrison? Sony infiltration complete!

    • Shane Guidaboni

      HA! Like Reggie would ever go over to Microsoft. That guy loves Nintendo.

      • Freud_Hater

        That’s because his body is ready~

  • Sounds like a perfect career move for a guy with a proven track record of anti-consumer policies. I’m sure Zynga is glad to have him!

  • Bob Obb

    The guy responsible for Xbone leaves? Here’s my shocked face :O

  • ahaha zynga… seriously though I don’t know anything about zynga, as for Don im sure there will be another MS suit that will come along and blame nuclear submarine dwellers in the coming future so all will be right as rain

  • John Diamond

    it’s like leaving your iphone for your ngage

    • Juan Andrés Valencia

      Hey! Pathway To Glory was awesome.

  • Reize

    Hey, uh, guys? April was three months ago.

  • Symbol de Au

    Oh…so it was never real life.

    • TheExile285

      Ok, your avatar is awesome!

  • DesmaX


  • Hraesvelgr

    I never thought Don Mattrick was that great on stage or anything, but going from Microsoft to Zynga seems a bit of a bad move. I wonder if he was unsatisfied.

  • malek86

    Yeah, dunno the reasons, but I’m just gonna assume he was given the boot. Otherwise, I see no point in him leaving a company that, for any blunders it could make, would still likely keep you employed at least another 20 years, compared to a company that could go down any minute.

    Well anyway, I’m curious to see who’s gonna be the next big chief. I wonder if they’ll promote someone or if they’ll hire from outside.

  • Warboss Aohd

    who in dere right mind would go work fer Zynga?

    • Ferrick

      Don mattrick

    • People who don’t give a shit about quality games and just are in it for profits.

  • Chris Yuen

    Not mine, but yea. “So what about those without internet connection (e.g military personnel posted overseas)?” “Well…the XBox 360 is a offline device…” Sony is really going to miss this guy.

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      good work…..senpai

    • Göran Isacson

      His work is indeed done, and I salute him for it. I also wish him all success in applying his… “special” brand of hard work to Zynga.

      Give us one hell of a show =3

    • OOOHHH My goodness. I laughed so hard with this image. Where did you find this?

    • Pockystix

      let’s hope that after he’s done running Zynga into the ground, he’ll go work for GREE(d)

    • artemisthemp

      Is that ingame footage from Call of Duty: Ghost? Or wait there is no dog

  • Rumor was he was going to be the new CEO for EA

  • ShawnOtakuSomething


  • Freud_Hater




  • Fidelis

    I thought the captain was supposed to drown with his ship.

  • transferstudentx

    abandon ship

  • This is all a plot to kill two birds with a Howitzer. And I am behind it 120%.

  • Daniel Kursave

    I could totally be wrong, but wasn’t the ps3 the top selling system the past few years? I thought America was becoming more neck and neck recenty

  • MasterScrub

    That guy always seemed like a total scumbag to me.

    Perfect CEO material! Maybe if we’re lucky he’ll run Zynga into the ground.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Well, Zynga has essentially been run into the ground already, so I don’t think that’d take much.

  • Altin

    So I guess this is what hell looks like.

  • Not a good sign when the ceo jumps ship right before a launch of the next system.

    • Hraesvelgr

      He wasn’t CEO.

      • mirumu

        It’s amazing someone actually downvoted you there. I guess it’s possible to dislike facts, but still.

  • NightzeroAX

    Can’t wait to see what Angry Joe has to say about this.

  • Richard N

    First they got rid of the “deal with it” guy and now they’re getting rid of him? Microsoft has no tolerance for people screwing up.

  • Prima

    yeahhh I kinda thought that might happen once “xbox 360 is our offline device” left his mouth…

  • Donatetimo

    Sony: secret weapon Don work is done

  • CirnoLakes

    Why is this so funny?

  • SirRichard

    The face of corporate arrogance is joining Zynga, because they really need that kind of help right now.

  • Aristides

    I wonder if Microsoft will remain fascist after his departure… yup probably :P

  • EX+

    I guess he knew the ship was sinking. But the ship is probably gonna sink faster. Why? Rumour: Steve Ballmer is the new Xbox boss

  • souio

    Can’t wait for my Webcam always on in order to play FarmVille!

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