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Report: Don Mattrick Leaving Microsoft for...Zynga? [UPDATE: It's Official]

The current president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division may be headed to the social games publisher.

It's official: Don Mattrick is CEO of Zynga. Here's his quote about the move from Zynga's press release on the hire.

"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," said Mattrick. "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."


Microsoft's Don Mattrick.

Here's one few saw coming. Don Mattrick, the current head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment division, may be on his way to another games publisher. That publisher? Troubled social games giant Zynga.

The report, which comes from sources exclusive to All Things D, states that Mattrick is close to accepting a top level position at the company, possibly a CEO role. Zynga founder Mark Pincus is the company's current CEO, though Pincus has had his hands full with layoffs and various controversies since the company went public.

Rumors of shakeups in Microsoft's games division have been kicking around for a while, though most assumed Mattrick would be absorbed into other levels of Microsoft, or possibly take the currently vacant CEO position at EA. Zynga wasn't really on anyone's radar, but it makes a degree of sense, since it would reunite Mattrick with his close friend Bing Gordon, who currently sits on the company's board.

We'll update this story if/when official confirmation arrives.

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234 CommentsRefresh
Posted by lilmoefow

the fuck?????

Edited by TheRealMoot

Didn't Zynga get closed down? Was that a thing?

And also; Holy F*ck. This is a shocker.

Edited by Yadilie

Time for Microsoft to shuffle the deck. Their turn after Sony.

Edited by TheGorilla

I hope it's true. Send Mattrick off to an irrelevant company. Like sending a spy to a radar post in Alaska.

Posted by radioactivez0r

"Well, I've done all I can here."

Posted by VarkhanMB

It seems odd, considering the XBONE was pretty much Mattrick's baby, that he would leave it for Zynga. I wonder if it's just someone looking out for himself and finding a better job (provided this is true), or if it's someone jumping ship on a product. I feel like there's a slight difference.

Posted by JayEH

Um.... ok.

Edited by MarkWahlberg

Yeah, I was under the impression Zynga wasn't around anymore. Huh.

Posted by Mesoian

Oh my fucking god, that's poetic.

Posted by iAmJohn

@therealmoot: No, they just keep closing down all their satellite studios, most recently killing off OMGPOP (Draw Something) and their Boston and Austin studios.

It makes sense that Matrick might be looking for an out after that report about Balmer's reorganization plans came out that suggests Matrick's position might not be so safe, but going to Zynga would be a turn for the weird.

Posted by hollitz

Confirmed: Farmville will now require always onli...oh yeah.

Posted by PurpleSpandex

Can't fuck up Zynga anymore then they have right?

Posted by wibby


Posted by dgtlmeatloaf

J. Allard?????

Edited by Nardak

Zynga still exists but the company has major financial troubles.

Basically I think that the company expanded too fast and then found out that the games that they developed didnt really produce enough income to support the staff that they had.

Also zynga should have probably concentrated on quality over quantity.

Posted by djou

I said it before and I'll say it again... WTH is going on behind the scenes at MS? The president of their company is leaving for a failing game publisher months before the launch of their first console in nearly a decade? Yikes!

Edited by Tennmuerti

Like i said in the forum post: seems fitting.

Posted by mustachioeugene

Time for them to start thawing out J. Allard

Posted by Video_Game_King

Was Don Mattrick the face of the Xbox One and all its new policies and whatnot? If so, then this sort of makes sense, I guess, since Zynga's into the casual market, too.

Posted by face15

If this turns out to be true then E3 will never be the same again. It's all about dat hair flip.

Posted by MeatSim

Weird choice for a new job if it's true.

Edited by JohnHenryEden

This is what people in the business call a "Future Endeavor"

Posted by NekuSakuraba

What the hell, right before a console release?! If this turns out to be true, it will be one hell of a story.

Posted by Milkman

This makes too much sense.

Posted by Harabec

This just seems... odd.

Posted by MindGrinder

Seems more appropriate for such a tool.

Edited by I_Stay_Puft

Say goodbye to that wavery hair, say hello to all that stress.

Posted by kimvidard

Ohhh, he is going to Zynga! Now I understand the nonsense he has been spurting for the last weeks. He was training for his new job.

It makes good sense after all.

Posted by Abendlaender

I'm actually not that surprised to see him leave. After the Xbone failure and his stupid remarks it was rather obvious to me that he will leave MS one way or the other. Why he would go to Zynga....I don't know. And tbh I don't really care.

Posted by plugger603

Too bad he didn't "leave" a month ago. Mr. Foot in Mouth

Posted by bacongames

I imagine that such a hard core policy change sort of fundamentally changes the direction of the machine or even what it's capable of doing. Given the shit he's received (and somewhat rightly so) and the reversal, I can see where he doesn't have it in him to keep going and instead go to a position that's probably better for him anyway.

I'm sure the internet will have 3 million metric tons of snark shipped in just for this occasion.

Posted by canucks23

I wonder if he was pressured to leave by MS, after the Xbone PR disaster around e3.

Posted by Nardak

@djou said:

I said it before and I'll say it again... WTH is going on behind the scenes at MS? The president of their company is leaving for a failing game publisher months before the launch of their first console in nearly a decade? Yikes!

Mattrick is the president of the "interactive entertainment business" but the board of directors includes following people:

Steve Ballmer is the "Chief executive officer". Don Mattrick is one of the senior leaders at Microsoft:

Edited by Smokey_Earhole

Mattrick to himself in the mirror this morning: "Abandon the motherfucking ship !!"

Posted by Sil3n7

I just see this guy driving sports cars and doing cocaine.

Posted by bassman2112

That is some of the funniest news I've heard in a while, and seems totally appropriate. Throw him from the (previously) teetering ship onto a sinking one.

Posted by PsychedelicET
Posted by Sooty

good riddance

Posted by cooljammer00

Was wondering when Mattrick would be pushed out, after the PR debacle of the Xbox One.

Posted by TadThuggish

Don Mattrick is God's mistake.

Posted by TadThuggish

sorry that's like the worst thing i've ever said

Posted by OurSin_360

Doesn't seem like the type of guy I'd want to hire to keep my company from sinking tbh. Xbone announcement is probably one of the worst in recent history, I'm sure microsoft wouldn't mind letting him go but i'm not sure why zynga would want him?

Edited by Sanj
(click to see animation)

Posted by SargeGulp

@thegorilla: Except he'll go from making millions of dollars to making millions of dollars, and not be in Alaska.

Posted by Rasmoss

There is no way he wasn't fired. I thought this had to come after all that has happened.

Posted by MetalGearSunny


Edited by Cubical

Good I saw this coming xbox started to suck when he took over back in 2010 or what ever it has been going downhill until we got to the new xbox crap. He don't know what people want. the xbox one in design and everything else was his final screw up.

That kinect crap mostly started under his control.

the xbox one design sucks balls and all this happend under his watch and direction.

Bring back J allard and peter moore!

J allard is the real deal that is why xbox 360 and the 1st xbox ruled and you could get the fucking oddworld games on the machine back then.

That is how you make and launch a fucking game console.

Posted by DeF

Seriously, could he have gone to a more perfect company? lol

Posted by paisan13

I never liked Don, but whats for sure is that he's not to blame for Microsoft's problems, he's just a spokesperson.