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New Zynga CEO? Don Mattrick Quits Xbox One To Head Troubled Social Gaming Company [REPORT]

By Sanna Chu on July 1, 2013 2:41 PM EDT 0

Don Mattrick
Xbox One head, Don Mattrick, leaves Microsoft for troubled social gaming company, Zynga. (Photo: Reuters)

Zynga could be getting a new CEO. Don Mattrick, the president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business -- which consists of Xbox and all of Microsoft's gaming and entertainment -- is leaving the company, All Things D reported. One of the reasons for Mattrick's exit could be to take a top job at Zynga, the troubled social gaming company that recently fired 520 of its employees. Mattrick could possibly be the new CEO of Zynga, working closely with founder and current CEO Mark Pincus.

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After All Things D broke the story of Zynga's possible new CEO, Zynga shares rose close to 10 percent, to $3.05, per All Things D. However, that figure is still down 68 percent since its public offering in late 2011.

Last month, Zynga announced that it will lay off 520 employees, or 18 percent of its workforce. The "Farmville" maker also closed down a few office locations, including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, per CNN Money. In October 2012, Zynga cut five percent of its employees, closed its Boston offices, and proposed closures of its Japan and UK studios.

All Things D noted that if Pincus were to give up his position to Mattrick, it will show a deep commitment on Pincus' part to reviving Zynga.

Mattrick going to Zynga will be a great thing for the flailing social gaming company, but quite a blow to Microsoft. Under Matrrick, the Xbox 360 installed base grew from 10 million to nearly 80 million worldwide and Xbox Live membership increased from 6 million to nearly 50 million, according to Mattrick's bio. Mattrick led the development of Xbox One, the all-in-one entertainment system with improved Kinect sensor and cloud connectivity.

As the head of Microsoft's interactive entertainment, Mattrick was the public face of Xbox for recent Xbox One events such as the nationally televised unveiling in May, and the E3 update in June. As such, he also had to bear the brunt of the criticism launched against Microsoft for requiring an Internet Connection to play games.

At E3, Sony showed up Microsoft by reaffirming its old DRM (Digital Rights Management) policies, resulting in Microsoft abandoning its plans and reverting back to its old DRM policies as well.

The Next Web noted that it's hard not to associate Mattrick with the recent backlash towards the Xbox One console. Though it's not stated why Mattrick has left Xbox for the troubled Zynga.

Follow @SannaChu

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