Update: Zynga has officially announced Mattrick as their new CEO.
“I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started,” Mattrick said in a statement. “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 letter posted to Microsoft’s website, CEO Steve Ballmer described Mattrick’s career change as “a great opportunity for [him].”
Meanwhile, Zynga founder Mark Pincus gushed excitedly about bringing Mattrick onboard.
“Don is unique in the games business,” said Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga. “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 60 million active members in 41 countries.
“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.”
Original Story: Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, is reportedly leaving the company for Zynga—possibly as CEO—according to All Things D.
All Things D’s report suggests an official announcement regarding Mattrick’s departure might be announced as early as today.
Mattrick, who joined Microsoft in 2007 after leaving his role as president of Electronic Arts, has largely been the face associated with Xbox One. The Microsoft exec unveiled the console during Microsoft’s Xbox Reveal event in May, and personally defending the system’s Internet connection requirements in the wake of the reveal. Mattrick also issued the official statement in which Microsoft detailed their complete reversal of Xbox One’s online policies.
The report from All Things D suggests that the move has nothing to do with perception and reception issues concerning the Xbox One, nor rumors of massive restructuring at Microsoft. All Things D’s sources suggest the talks between Mattrick and Zynga have been in the works for a while.
Expect more on this story as it develops.