Don Mattrick leaving Microsoft for Zynga

Xbox One executive leaving Microsoft for Farmville creator.


Update: Don Mattrick has left Microsoft and joined social gaming giant Zynga as its new CEO, the company has confirmed. The former president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division and overseer of the upcoming Xbox One will join the Farmville developer on June 8, and will take a seat on the company's board, Zynga confirmed in a press release.

Mark Pincus and Don Mattrick.
Mark Pincus and Don Mattrick.

Zynga founder and former CEO Mark Pincus will remain chairman of the board and chief product officer at the company. "Don is unique in the game business," said Pincus. "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."

"I joined Zynga because I believe that [Pincus'] pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started," added Mattrick. "Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer responded to news of Mattrick's exit via an e-mail to all employees. "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."

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

Original Story: Xbox president Don Mattrick is leaving Microsoft and is close to taking the role of CEO at social gaming giant Zynga, All Things Digital reports.

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Sources close to All Things Digital said the official announcement of Mattrick's appointment could be made as early as today, and that the executive has been in discussions with Zynga about the role for some time. The site adds that Mattrick has also been one of the front-runners to step into the currently vacant CEO position at EA.

As president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business department, Mattrick recently unveiled the Xbox One to the world at the company's May reveal of its next-generation console, but had to publicly change the console's heavily criticized policies after consumer backlash.

He joined Microsoft from EA in 2007.

Zynga, which is responsible for the social gaming title Farmville, has had a shaky time since it made the company public.

Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

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