Some fairly large news dropped yesterday over in Redmond, Washington as Don Mattrick, former president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business and public face for E3 events, has left the company to take on the role of Chief Executive Officer at the troubled social games company, Zynga.
It’s an interesting move and one that many would call leaping from the frying pan directly into the fire. It’s been a rough couple months for Mattrick and his Xbox Division in regards to their next generation gaming console as messages have been confusing, PR has been a struggle, and more recently, the company has done a complete 180 with their online policies.
On the other hand, Zynga has also been going through a rough stretch ever since it joined the Nasdaq Stock Market with staff being let go or departing the company, studios shutting down, and revenue declining. Excuse the pun, but they could also use a 180 switch as well.
Then again, perhaps this move is what both studios need most. No word yet on Mattrick’s replacement but for now, it appears that the energetic (and current Microsoft CEO) Steve Balmer will have Don’s former team reporting directly to him. Mattrick also reached out to his new employees at Zynga in a statement which you can read here.
I doubt we’ll ever find out what really happened, if Microsoft was the one kicking him out the door, if Zynga parked a truckload of cash outside Mattrick’s office, or if he ultimately did want a change of pace. Either way, it’ll be very interesting to see what direction these two companies go in as we slowly head towards the back half of 2013.