Microsoft's Xbox chief departs for Zynga after used game controversy

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Microsoft hopes to take a dominant role in the living room this fall with the launch of the Xbox One, but Don Mattrick, the executive who recently introduced the new game console and media center to the world, has reportedly left the company ahead of that launch for a position at Zynga.

Mattrick


Mattrick is expected to take a major role, possibly even chief executive, at social game maker Zynga, according to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD. The report suggested that Mattrick's departure was not related to a recent consumer uproar over Microsoft's initial plans to include aggressive digital rights management restrictions on the Xbox One.

Those initial plans would have restricted sharing and buying used games, and required the console to be connected to the Internet at all times.

But in a rare public reversal last month, Mattrick himself penned an open letter to consumers explaining that Microsoft had changed its stance on Xbox One DRM. When the console ships this fall, it will no longer require a persistent online connection, and the Redmond, Wash., company will not restrict sharing or trading of disc-based games.

In the wake of Mattrick's departure, Microsoft reportedly does not have a replacement lined up. As such, it's not believed that the exit is related to a "major restructuring" being planned by the Windows maker.

If Mattrick ends up at Zynga as is rumored, he comes to the company following a tumultuous period since its initial public offering in 2011. Just a month ago, Zynga announced it had laid off 18 percent of its workforce, or 520 employees.

As for Microsoft, the Xbox One represents the company's biggest push yet to become the go-to provider of living room entertainment. One of the key features of the upcoming console is the inclusion of an HDMI input port, which will allow the Xbox One to control other devices in the living room, like an external cable box.

Using Microsoft's Kinect sensor, the Xbox one promises to allow users to control their living room using motion and voice. And by allowing high-definition video to simply pass through the console, Microsoft will be able to provide users with its own entertainment experience without the need to obtain the necessary licenses from content providers and cable companies.

While Microsoft pushes ahead with its third-generation Xbox console, Apple is rumored to be considering its own set-top cable box that would go beyond the company's current Apple TV. Apple's supposed vision is to do away with the clunky interface seen on current cable boxes, making television easier to use.

There have also been reports that Apple is working on a full-fledged television set that could integrate a number of services all in to one device. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook himself hinted in an interview last year that he sees the living room as an industry ripe for change.

"When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," Cook said. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member
    Y'know, tacking on a little bit about Apple in the last paragraph doesn't make it an Apple story. Why not just leave out the padding?
  • Reply 2 of 53
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,969member
    *snort*
  • Reply 3 of 53
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member


    Better to leave now than get fired later. I wonder how many people cancelled their pre-orders and ordered a PS4. Microsoft seriously damaged the XBOX's reputation and for me, it's not reversible.

  • Reply 4 of 53
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    rayz wrote: »
    Y'know, tacking on a little bit about Apple in the last paragraph doesn't make it an Apple story. Why not just leave out the padding?
    What else are they going to talk about, new iWatch trademark filed in Mogadishu? Apple has nothing but lukewarm crap lined up for the rest of the year (at least).
  • Reply 5 of 53
    zoffdinozoffdino Posts: 192member


    Err... isn't Zynga in a trouble of their own? Its stock has drop from $10 at IPO to $3 a couple days back. Why leave a behemoth with at least some life left for a startup with almost no life left?

  • Reply 6 of 53
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,969member
    macvicta wrote: »
    Apple has nothing but lukewarm crap lined up for the rest of the year (at least).

    lol, sarcasm.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    koopkoop Posts: 337member


    I have been a Playstation/Nintendo fan for as long as I can remember. I had a brief stint with the Xbox 360 for a year or two, but how can people consider the Xbox One right now? Weaker specs, $100 more and terrible Execs like Don Mattrick bailing off the sinking ship he created. Xbone is nothing but a trojan horse for Microsoft's ecosystem which is why they spent over half their time talking about television with the Xbone. If you wanted to talk about media/TV and propping up your ailing Windows empire with your only successful consumer brand that isn't a monopoly, you do it AFTER  you talk games and gaming. The media features should have been discussed months after the reveal and E3. 


     


    Yeah they backtracked on DRM and Used games, but that's because the Xbox was 110% uncompetitive with the PS4. The gap was so wide between the value of one product to the next, they had zero choice. None. Gap is narrowed, but definitely not closed. Either way, can't wait to play shooter #13483 and Open World Murder Everyone Game #293 when these things launch. 

  • Reply 8 of 53
    rednivalrednival Posts: 331member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Better to leave now than get fired later. I wonder how many people cancelled their pre-orders and ordered a PS4. Microsoft seriously damaged the XBOX's reputation and for me, it's not reversible.



     


    It damaged it with people that read AppleInsider and follow tech blogs but nothing like this is irreversible.  Honestly, if Microsoft ran as tight a ship with Windows and admitted mistakes as quickly, Windows 8 would have been corrected a long time ago and the Wintel may not be on life support.    Most people will see an Xbox One and a PS4 this holiday season for the first time and pick one or the other based on what is, not what might have been.


     


    It will be interesting to see what happens, but I think the only thing nearly assured is that Microsoft will have an uphill battle going into 2014.  I do believe Sony will have an early lead at the end of 2013, but I don't expect it will be the huge lead many people expect.  (And I reserve the right to be wrong)

  • Reply 9 of 53
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,969member
    [quote name="rednival" url="/t/158324/microsofts-xbox-chief-departs-for-zynga-after-used-game-controversy#post_2355823"]
    Most people will see an Xbox One... ...and pick... ...based on what is...[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, an Orwellian nightmare.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    I fear the whole "lukewarm crap" thing too, even though I'm buying the new iPhone anyway. I guess I'm gearing up to be pre-disappointed, but at least I'll understand that I made the choice to be taunted for a phone that doesn't follow my eyes, or isn't waterproof, or is missing some other feature that everyone else seems to have. It should be a lot like my iPad, so there's no learning curve, and I mostly only use a phone to make calls, anyway.

    All that said, I really hope that this guy isn't working on the promise of stock options, given Zynga's "give back your options or be fired" move a little while back.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    Microsoft's pushing of Xbox is the best strategy they have had in years. Maybe they saw how Apple came along with iPhones and iPads, devices seemingly unrelated to Window's core market in the business world yet having a great effect on businesses approach to technology almost from day one, witness the number of 'Fortune 500 testing/using iPhone/iPad' in every keynote. The Xbox strategy is to disrupt Apple's disruption, come in from underneath where people aren't really looking or most of those who see laugh it off. It's not just movies that could be disrupted, Skype is a biggie and MS is adding services fairly frequently, imagine what a well done Xbox phone would do if good enough to be attractive to the Xbox market.

    Granted there's not much chance of pulling it off but Apple should perhaps have done more to head it off, games on Apple TV an obvious and oft voiced move.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,707member
    bdkennedy1 wrote: »
    Better to leave now than get fired later. I wonder how many people cancelled their pre-orders and ordered a PS4. Microsoft seriously damaged the XBOX's reputation and for me, it's not reversible.

    I never wanted one in the first place, and the reversal didn't change my mind!
  • Reply 13 of 53
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    Zynga? That's a major step downwards. Zynga just did a major lay off didn't they?
  • Reply 14 of 53
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,069member


    Are people that desperate to get that CEO title that they would leave (for whatever reason) to take that top job at an imploding company like Zynga?

  • Reply 15 of 53
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,707member
    koop wrote: »
    I have been a Playstation/Nintendo fan for as long as I can remember. I had a brief stint with the Xbox 360 for a year or two, but how can people consider the Xbox One right now? Weaker specs, $100 more and terrible Execs like Don Mattrick bailing off the sinking ship he created.

    How many specs does a fancy DVR/PPV box need? How much power do you need for Halo: Yet Again?
  • Reply 16 of 53

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post


    Err... isn't Zynga in a trouble of their own? Its stock has drop from $10 at IPO to $3 a couple days back. Why leave a behemoth with at least some life left for a startup with almost no life left?



     


    Yup... but given Zynga's sleazy reputation (seriously - they yanked stock options from their employees - even the employees who had stock granted to them)? 


     


    Seems like a match made in Hell. They kinda deserve each other.

  • Reply 17 of 53

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoffdino View Post


    Err... isn't Zynga in a trouble of their own? Its stock has drop from $10 at IPO to $3 a couple days back. Why leave a behemoth with at least some life left for a startup with almost no life left?



    For the last two years anyone who acts as spokesman for a new MS hardware device is duck-marched out the back door soon after. There will be no face of Microsoft other then Uncle Fester. Mattrick had the good foresight to shop his resume around before he went on stage.


     


    For anyone who may have missed it, There was a short interview with Mattrick after the introduction of the new Xbox and he kept shaking his head "no" while his mouth was saying yes, yes, yes. Funniest interview ever.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Beauty of Bath View Post



    Microsoft's pushing of Xbox is the best strategy they have had in years. Maybe they saw how Apple came along with iPhones and iPads, devices seemingly unrelated to Window's core market in the business world yet having a great effect on businesses approach to technology almost from day one, witness the number of 'Fortune 500 testing/using iPhone/iPad' in every keynote. The Xbox strategy is to disrupt Apple's disruption, come in from underneath where people aren't really looking or most of those who see laugh it off. It's not just movies that could be disrupted, Skype is a biggie and MS is adding services fairly frequently, imagine what a well done Xbox phone would do if good enough to be attractive to the Xbox market. Granted there's not much chance of pulling it off but Apple should perhaps have done more to head it off, games on Apple TV an obvious and oft voiced move.


     


    Apple's not interested in the console game market. It's a shrinking niche market. What Apple does have to offer is an easy access to one's TV without dealing with a Windows OS... or any OS for that matter.,, and that includes games, but not games foremost.


  • Reply 18 of 53
    troehltroehl Posts: 30member


    Talk about a demotion, this doesn't make any sense at all. Zynga is a body shop churning out flash games that made a couple of high profile purchases to try and get away from it's Facebook dependence. I.e. Words with Friends. Their IPO was a debacle and they are laying off people in droves. I'm sure there may be some challenge in trying to rescue them but really, what is there to rescue?? They must be offering him one hell of a package/golden parachute in order to lure him there to try and give the company some form of legitimacy. It's still a sinking ship though...

  • Reply 19 of 53

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Penguinisto View Post


     


    Yup... but given Zynga's sleazy reputation (seriously - they yanked stock options from their employees - even the employees who had stock granted to them)? 


     


    Seems like a match made in Hell. They kinda deserve each other.



     


    Yeah, Zynga's a cockroach on it's back but still moving its legs. Zynga resonates well with the image of Uncle Fester. 


     


  • Reply 20 of 53
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Are people that desperate to get that CEO title that they would leave (for whatever reason) to take that top job at an imploding company like Zynga?



    It's not desperation. It's the opposite. Some are supremely confident in their abilities and see a troubled company as a great challenge. Call it ego. Call it hubris. All the great leaders have it. Unfortunately, many not so great leaders have it too.


     


    Those who don't have it just mock from the bleachers.

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