It’s a story that has been developing throughout the day and has now been confirmed. Don Mattrick, the now former president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, is joining Zynga as the new CEO – replacing Mark Pincus who remains with Zynga as the chairman of the board and chief product officer.
Mattrick isn’t new to the gaming industry as he co-founded Distinctive Software, Inc. with Jeff Sember in 1982. The company would eventually be bought by Electronic Arts in 1991 which is when Mattrick began to hold different positions throughout the company before retiring in 2006. In 2007 he joined Microsoft as a senior vice president – overseeing the Xbox 360 and PC divisions.
Kotaku reports that there aren’t immediate replacements yet, but it’s possible that Steve Ballmer is the new Xbox boss due to a memo sent to Microsoft employees, notifying them that they are to report to Ballmer, at least for now. Kotaku posted the email sent to the employees:
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.
If he isn’t the boss, it’ll be interesting to see who takes the reigns.