Microsoft's Don Mattrick to leave and take top position at Zynga? [Updated]

Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment unit, is leaving the company, according to a report over on AllThingsD. Multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed that the high-profile executive is close to snapping up a position at Zynga. The studio is currently struggling against waning consumer business on the web and Facebook while slowly transitioning to mobile. The company has had to work through layoffs and the closure of offices outside its San Francisco headquarters.

Should Zynga founder Mark Pincus appoint Mattrick as a new CEO, it would certainly reinforce his desire to revive Zynga and get the ball rolling again. As well as Zynga, the Microsoft executive has also been tied to Electranic Arts, another gaming giant that's facing a rough challenge - continuously rated as one of the worst companies by consumers.

One would immediate assume that the departure of Mattrick would be down to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's restructuring plans at the company, but sources suggest talks between Mattrick and Zynga have been ongoing for some time. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out since he's has been the face of the new Xbox One, as well as who Microsoft will look to replace him with should the exec leave Redmond. 

Update: Yahoo! reports that Zynga has appointed Don Mattrick as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective July 8th. Mattrick will report directly to the Board and was unanimously appointed CEO. Mattrick will join Pincus in a newly formed Executive Committee to manage the operations and affairs of the Company between Board meetings. Looks like it's official, folks.

Source: AllThingsD

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Good! Good job on almost destorying the Xbox one too douche.
  • Agree. Its a good thing for Ms that he's living
  • I second that.
  • If this was the guy who made the call to repeal the Xbox One DRM madness, I'd prefer to keep him...
  • No he is the same guy that told people if they wanted an offline console we have a solution for you it is called the xbox 360.. His comments are probably why he is leaving at this point.
  • LOL, do we have a source this was the reason? Besides, What should he'd said instead? "We dont have a product that benefits your demands." or is the point to take MS responsibility for one guy?
  • I'm sure it was a combination of the two making decisions to almost create the worst console launch in history, going Nazi about always online then getting punched in the back of the head by Balmer to fix it. As it if were not bad enough how MS gets bad press in their other product lines like windows phone and recently windows 8. This guy must of had the impression to make it a trend, at least they were consistently domainant and popular in the entertainment space this last thing actually has me holding on to my dollars to see which console I prefer at this point where as it would have been a no brainer for me to buy a xbox. I have to see how the kinnect can justify a console that is $100 more than a competing console that is graphically superior...
  • Graphically superior?? Ridiculous unfounded statement... You do know developers are stating the difference in power is less next gen then it was this gen and we all.know that turned out to be nothing, dnt believe Sony propaganda they are well know for fudging figures and lying.
  • Yup. Won't ever buy another Sony Computer. Lies, lies, lies
  • Didn't you watch the reveal? I mean those demonstrations done by Mr. Medi Yusef was awesome. I'm totally excited for the Kinect 2.0 and MS is probably more so than we are as they made it a necessary component of the xb1.
  • Agreed
  • I heard J. Allard is coming back. 
  • we could only that will never happen, he has what it takes to succeed Ballmer.
  • Don't toy with me like that! :'(
  • I read the same thing. Said he's been up at the campus a lot lately. And he was at the beginning of the XB1 introduction video. I'm pretty sure I'd cry tears of joy if he did.
  • Does anyone mind giving a brief description of J. Allard as well as his more high lighted accolades... I'm not familiar with this name. Thanks in advance.
  • hes the one who birthed xbox Live forcing it to be broadband only gaming and coined the phrase 'gaming on 56k is like sucking pizza through a straw.'
    he was also there during 360 launch and made it a household name.
  • Thank you for your prompt response. J. Allard sounds like an impressive individual.
  • He's also a huge influence from the old Zune days, and he was part of the development of the Courier tablet idea from a few years ago. Unfortunately, nobody ever thought that tablet or Zune-style would "pan out" so they nixed the projects. Allard is the type of consumer visionary the company needed to keep around, so if he's coming back then HALLELUJAH!
  • It's not all positive. J Allard was heavy on the dudebro, hipster lifestyle. I cringed everytime he called Microsoft his "tribe." He gave the infamous Sk8ter Girl presentation. And I still remember the painful attempt to look casual at E3 as he laid on the floor sideways, with his head propped by his hand, like he was a having a casual conversation just between friends.
  • Yeah, because being able to connect with the trendy, hipster lifestyle of our competing platforms (Apple) is such a horrible thing...
  • In all fairness, nobody is perfect. Taking the great information you guys provided into perspective, I would assume Mr. Allard's pros outweighs his cons.
  • Awesome, he needs to go. His handling of the Xbox One has been horrendous.
  • Couldn't agree more.
  • Breaking news!
  • DON'T LET HIM GO!!!!!!! Fire him before he can! .  I love the Xbox One but I hate that guy.
  • He probably got the corporate way of being fired.  They gave him the option of resigning or being let go.  No corporation wants to fire someone because it makes them look bad... as if they made a mistake hiring that person in the first place.  Also, less of a chance of being sued for wrongful termination.  Employees would rather quit than be fired too.
  • is this guy an idiot or what ? zynga is the most stupid company i ever seen. their games are bug fests and the company is about to die if you ask me . so who want to go to zynga anyways ?
  • Someone who has nowhere else to go.
  • It's probably a graceful exit. Instead of resigning he gets to move to the top position of another (smaller) company.
  • That's how it seemed. Good riddance, I say. Seemed petty. I wish Ballmer would get shown the door too. I'd like to see more people like Joe Belifore in charge.
  • Going to that company sounds like being named captain of the Titanic after it has already hit the iceberg.
  • LOL!!! I literally laughed out loud. Fitting description. Zynga, even though their trying to redo their whole operation, is still not a place I'd think anyone would be trying to head up for the revival. Probably had no offers on the table or not that many great ones. "Oh, your the guy behind the Xbox One debacle??? We're good." Lol.
  • It suits him words with friends is always online..
  • Failing upwards is always the best career moves for idiots.
  • this guy is a tool.  good riddance.  while you're at it mattrick, go buy a 360.
  • In other news: Drowning man boards sinking ship.
  • Zynga vs Microsoft... oh wow... Zynga sounds like a stupid place to go compared with his position. but with all the things that happened around xbox one. well Im sure someone can do a good job replacing him. i mean... xbox in next year im sure will innovate and be amazing. Im sure there are better people than him around! its not like he was the only man for the job.
    andd maybe he is just not important for the rumored reorganization Microsoft is going to get. I dont know, and i kinda dont care. I dont think Mattrick would be missed because the next person is going to be good/better.
    Look at Windows division, sinosfky stopped working at Microsoft and Win 8.1 looks amazing and works amazing and feels amazing. so its not like anyone is missing him or he was the only person that could be president. so Xbox and other entertainment products Im sure would be better and better over the years with next president or whatever name they give to next person in charge.
  • I kind of liked Sinofsky. Who am I kidding? He was one of the best things that happened to Microsoft!
  • This guy is the biggest dork on the planet. I think he'll be the next Elop though. Another Microsoft plant but this time to get Zynga to produce exclusives for Windows Phone.
  • no, not really. And who wants a game from Zynga anyways?
  • If they are anything like words with friends, I'll pass.
  • The man who killed the hype for the XboxOne. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
  • The way he handled questions such as "What can people who don't always have access to the internet do?" by replying "We have another item called the Xbox 360." completely blew me away. It was inappropriate to try and push an old item when you're about to release a new one and was just plain rude to anyone who doesn't have constant access to the internet. I myself don't have constant access to the internet when I head up to my cottage and his response really rubbed me wrong. As long as they can get someone who is encouraging, energetic and enthusiastic, I'll be happy with his departure.
  • Don't forget: "If you're backwards compatible, you're really just backwards." and then gave a stat that only 5% of people care about playing an old game on a new system.
    I get the architecture changed so the games can't be played, but always wondered if the 5% stat was really from research or from some tool just tossing out his dismissive, informal opinion.
    Meanwhile, my kids still play 360 Kinect games, none of which are slated for replacement on the One or I'd necessarily run out and buy. So, while the blu-ray capability on the One will allow me to ditch the blu-ray player from the receiver/entertainment center, I'm still having to cross my fingers that PDP makes some sort of Kinect, Kinect, Wii U sensor bar mount tower. I know...I know: #firstworldwoes, but my point is that this guy was too dismissive that a) you wouldn't need the 360 or b) you can easily hook them both up.
    In short, he rubbed me wrong as well.  Good riddance. On the flip side, maybe this would get more Zynga games to WP and Windows 8, giving more attention to the platform to others that care for their games. Today, they don't even recognize MS platforms on their site. (Look, moderators, I made a nice segue to steer the topic back to WP as opposed to Xbox!)
  • Well. If he is the cause of how badly the pr has been handled for the Xbox one launch, I'm pretty sure he was told his advancement opportunities with Microsoft was pretty limited. Honestly, I can't believe how badly this entire launch was handled. They never really did a good job at communicating the benefits to the proposed policies.
  • Dang, I must have erased part of my comment before I sent it. I meant as long as Microsoft can get someone encouraging, energetic and enthusiastic to replace him, I'll be happy with his departure.
  • LOL. Talk about a downgrade.
  • Agreed. Probably has a college buddy or two there and didn't have anywhere else to go.
  • It was about time!!!People like Don don't deserve any place on the Xbox team (or Microsoft Interactive Entertaiment) neither the salary that he has!!!There is no place for losers like him!
  • Is this career suicide. Zynga?
  • It'd be nice to see J. Allard return or see major nelson(Larry Hryb) get promoted. At the very least someone who can handle pr right and make up for the mess that was created over the last few months.
  • Yes! I'd love to see Larry get promoted!
  • He was such a pr mess during Xbox One announcement
  • Thank you for being the only news site that has told people that Microsoft is doing a reorg when reporting this.
  • LOL he was fired after the Xbox One mess. That's what really happened. The rest is the corporate way of sugarcoating that.
  • true. that.
  • Well, its official he is the CEO of Zynga. Just got announced. Wonder who's next in line for Xbox, their already a better candidate before they even started.
  • Good riddance.  Phil Harrison should go with him.  Those two douche bags really f'd up the message big time.
  • He did a good job for 360 in terms of sale. Good thing he's gone, X1 needs new leadership for its lifecycle, its been damaged enough already.
  • My money is on a new CEO for the entire services and entertainment division, and Phil Spencer spear heading the Xbox brand.
  • You mean President of the Entertainment and Devices division. Ballmer is the only CEO.
  • Yay!!! You did the worst PR I've ever seen. Maybe Zynga is more your league.
  • Is it not "electronic arts" spell it right
  • I'd like to see Aaron Greenberg named President of Interactive Entertainment Business replacing Mattrick. Aaron knows the biz and Xbox inside and out and he comes across as a real gamer.
  • I was hoping to see Zynga crash and burn.
  • This is the first step, you should be happy then. :)
  • This guy made a mistake with xbox one drm. Very big mistake.
  • I find it humorous that after Major Nelson wrote on Reddit that they were working on silencing Don Mattrick (a couple weeks back now) that they actually permanently silenced Don Mattrick.
    He's likely under permanent NDA to never talk about Xbox One stuff that he knows about but hasn't been said.
  • 50 Cent should replace him. Think about it.
  • I don't really know much about Don Mattrick's real history or significance at Microsoft, since I've not really paid attention to the Xbox until the past couple years. However, I'm not lost on the fact that the Xbox 360-- while insanely successful for the company-- has suffered from MANY version refreshes simply due to hardware failures and bugs, still annoys me when it takes 3-5 minutes before the network is ready to let me connect to Xbox Live (mostly for video apps), and on top of it all... we had to hear this guy dismiss us on concerns over the Xbox One. So at the end of the day, yeah, like we didn't see this coming, lol.
    I think Don should have a good time at Zynga... he can either put the final nail in that coffin -- F*** you Farmville! -- or he can be an Elop-type who partners with Xbox and Windows Phone to bring all those games to Xbox as exclusives. Either way, Microsoft wins.
  • Bye bye Zynga is all I have to say... The board really didn't do their homework...
  • Couldn't have been a more perfect match for this douchebag. Good job almost dragging Microsoft back to "Evil Empire Micro$oft" with the terrible PR. Good riddance.
  • Maybe we can get better games for gold subscribers we get tower defense while ps+ members get bf3.
  • Congrats to him. Better get it while you can. Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.
  • We have a job for those without's called CEO of Zynga.
  • Major Nelson for President!!
  • Even if he is not in the Xbox team, I like Panos Panay.
    He is intelligent and he communicates well.
  • good riddance he was a douche this time around anyways go kill off zynga Don! and Larry Hyrb For President of IEB!