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Published on July 2nd, 2013 | by Cameron Woolsey

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Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft, Joins Zynga as CEO

Don Mattrick has left Microsoft and has joined Zynga Inc. as chief executive officer, Zynga confirmed in a press release.

Mattrick’s new position as CEO and member of the board will become effective starting July 8. Zynga founder Mark Pincus will remain chairman of the board and chief product officer.

“Don is unique in the game business,” Pincus said. “He can execute in multiple domains — hardware, software and network, and he’s been the person responsible for game franchises like Need for Speed, FIFA and The Sims. He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams. He deeply understands the value of a network and the importance of creating lifelong consumer relationships. He turned Xbox into the world’s largest console-gaming network, growing its installed base from 10 to 80 million and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits. And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6 to 50 million active members in 41 countries. Going forward, I’ll continue in my role as Chairman and Chief Product Officer. I’m excited to partner with Don and the rest of our team to return Zynga to its leadership role in inventing and growing Play as a core human experience.”

Mattrick, who departed Electronic Arts in 2007 to join Microsoft as president of the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business department, unveiled the Xbox One during E3 in early June in Los Angeles. The event caused backlash from consumers over controversial DRM policies, and the company has since reversed its standing.

But the social media gaming giant Zynga  is not itself completely clear of consumer ire, as it had been forced to deal with its own controversy. Nearly a year ago, the company’s stocks fell 41 percent, all the while it faced a lawsuit from Electronic Arts for copyright infringement.

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Mark Pincus (left) and Don Mattrick
– GlobeNewswire

Mattrick, however, seems unphased by the company’s rocky position, and said Zynga has “redefined entertainment and brought social gaming to the mainstream.”

He continued, “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.”

In a memo to company employees, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Mattrick’s move to Zynga is a “great opportunity.”

“Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry,” Ballmer continued. “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.”

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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit



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