Zynga appoints Xbox boss Don Mattrick as new CEO

2 Jul 2013

The head of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment division Don Mattrick has been appointed new CEO of online gaming firm Zynga, taking over from CEO Mark Pincus.

Mattrick brings more than 30 years of experience in building entertainment products to Zynga.

Zynga, the FarmVille creator, announced a restructuring programme last month that will see 18pc of its workforce – some 520 people – laid off. San Francisco-headquartered Zynga employs 2,900 people worldwide, including around 100 people in Dublin.

Despite being one of the highest-profile companies to come out of Silicon Valley in recent years, Zynga has had a rocky IPO.

Not only that but gaming is moving to become a multi-screen experience, driven by the increasing sophistication of smartphones, tablet devices and event TVs.

Mattrick’s expertise in building major platforms and audiences could prove crucial to Zynga’s future, said Pincus.

“Don is unique in the game business,” said Pincus, who is also Zynga’s founder, chairman and chief product officer. “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 10m to 80m and transformed that business from deep losses to substantial profits.

“And he has grown the Xbox Live player network from 6m to 50m active members in 41 countries. Going forward, I’ll continue in my role as chairman and chief product officer. 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,” Pincus said.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist. He joined Silicon Republic in 2002 to become the fulcrum of the company’s news service He was recipient of the Irish Internet Association’s NetVisionary Technology Journalist Award 2005 and Siliconrepublic.com has been awarded ‘Best Technology Site’ at the Irish Web Awards seven times. In 2011 he received the David Manley Award commending him for his dedication to covering entrepreneurs. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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