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Some believe he was actually fired for his Xbox One statements

Microsoft's Xbox Head, who has made some controversial statements regarding the new Xbox One, is reportedly leaving the Windows giant for a top spot at Zynga. 

Don Mattrick, the president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, will leave Microsoft to take on a position at social gaming company Zynga -- possibly as CEO. His new spot at the company is expected to be announced as soon as today. 

For Zynga, this could be a great move. The company has had troubles ever since its initial public offering (IPO) back in 2011. It filed its Form S-1 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 1, 2011 and began trading December 16, 2011 at $10 per share. However, stock fell throughout 2012, hitting as low as $2.27 per share by October. 

One of Zynga's core problems is that it's having a hard time taking on the mobile space. Its Web business has been declining faster than expected, and its mobile efforts aren't enough to fill the gap. Also, its casual, social games don't seem to have long-term viability. It has had to axe 18 games in recent months -- including PetVille, FishVille, Mafia Wars 2 and Vampire Wars -- due to reduced popularity (and to make room for new games).

Just last month, Zynga was forced to lay off 18 percent of its workforce (about 520 employees) by August 2013. The latest layoffs will affect all parts of the social gaming company, and it will even have to close its offices in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. However, it will save the company about $70 million to $80 million. 


With Mattrick at the helm, who will work closely with Zynga's current CEO Mark Pincus, the gaming company could turn things around. 

Mattrick has been at Microsoft since 2007, but lately, he has proven to be a bit of a controversial figure at the company. When gamers learned of the new Xbox console's -- Xbox One -- new "always-on" digital rights management (DRM) system, many expressed anger toward the idea. Not everyone has Internet access at all times, meaning that the new system would pose a problem for many gamers who are either in rural areas with slow connections, travelling or experience Internet issues with providers. 

When gamers lashed out about the new always-on issue, Mattrick advised that they don't buy an Xbox One.

"Some of the advantages that you get, of having, a box that is designed to use an online state, so, that, uh, to me is the future-proof choice, and I think people, could've arguably gone the other way if we didn't do it and fortunately we have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity, it's called Xbox 360," said Mattrick. 

Surely, Microsoft wasn't happy that its entertainment head was telling consumers not to buy its latest product. That's why many rumors currently circulating say that Mattrick was actually fired from Microsoft, much like what happened to former Xbox Creative Director Adam Orth. 

Orth was fired for arguing with gamers about their ability to play offline. 

Just a week after Mattrick made these comments about the Xbox One, Microsoft dropped its always-on requirement and the used games restrictions for the Xbox One. This meant that gamers no longer needed to have an Internet connection to play an offline Xbox One game (they will only need to go through a one-time setup over the Internet when the console first boots up), and gamers can trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like they do now. 

It's hard to say if Mattrick is leaving on his own accord or got the boot for his actions, but more details should arise later, and we'll update this piece as they do.

UPDATE: Monday, July 1, 2013 @ 5:00 P.M. - 

Zynga announced in an email to all employees that Mattrick is the company's new CEO, and Zynga's current CEO (Mark Pincus) will now be the Chief Product Officer and will remain Chairman of its Board of Directors. 

“This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Don’s directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday. Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry.”

Zynga's stock price jumped 10.43 percent to $3.07 this morning after rumors of the new CEO started circulating. The stock then gained another 3.58 percent reaching $3.18 per share in after-hours trading once Mattrick's new position was actually announced.

Source: All Things D



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By Boze on 7/1/2013 3:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
Free-to-play sucks??

Have you actually played the F2P powerhouses out there?

League of Legends is one of the most fun games I've played in years. I haven't had as much fun playing it since I got into the World of Warcraft Friends & Family Alpha, and its competitiveness brings back memories of my Quake days.

Path of Exile is a great FREE Diablo clone, that I sadly find more fun.

Companies are focusing on fun first, and then adding extras that are worth purchasing.

I've played League of Legends for almost two years now and I've spent about $350 on it. That would be about the same was if it were $14.99 a month.

I have yet to purchase anything for Path of Exile and I still have a great time playing it.

I haven't even mentioned paid games that have gone free-to-play like EverQuest II. The bronze version sucks, but for $5 you can upgrade to Silver and you have a really amazing game experience all the way up to level 90.

The good F2P games are out there. You may not like their genres:

MOBA
Dungeon Crawler
MMORPG

But they're still great games. Those are just the ones I've played. I'm told Planetside 2 and Warframe are awesome F2P FPS games. I wouldn't know since I'm too old to play those games well, but my younger friends say they're great.


By flyingpants1 on 7/1/2013 4:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
lmfao


By MrBlastman on 7/1/2013 5:07:36 PM , Rating: 3
I have zero interest in League of Legends or DOTA type gameplay. It just... doesn't float my boat.

I have played f2p games, however, like Rise of Flight or Mechwarrior Online. Arguably, Team Fortress 2 counts as well (but I bought the Orange Box--so I paid outright for it). TF 2 I spent... 40 bucks--the original purchase and never another dime and have 1600 hours in the game over five years on the competitive scene.

Rise of Flight, on the other hand, I've spent a bit more, probably 70 - 90 bucks on the sim total but the developers continued to add great content and missing features, constantly listening to the community. It is we very well-done sim and you can tell the developers care about it.

Mechwarrior Online, however, has developers that piss on the community, ignore them and come up with asinine ideas instead of listening to the players who consantly come up with intelligent solutions to obvious problems. Maybe that will change one day. Who knows? I spent 60 bucks on it and that's all I plan on spending for a while.

So, long story short, I refuse to EVER pay monthly for any game. I believe in spending 40 - 60 bucks, one time, to get a finished product that has an enjoyable length of gameplay (20 - 100+ hours). I don't understand how people can spend 300 - 500 bucks on games. It just... well, is senseless to me; ludicrous almost to even try and comprehend it--in my mind at least. Yet, like yourself, they do.

Go figure. It just isn't my philosophy, I suppose.

Take for instance, the titles I've played over the last week... In the past week I have been playing through the original System Shock (on original Roland SC-55 hardware), Fallout 1, Quake 1 (modded with Darkplaces and stuff like parallax mapping) and Falcon 4.0 BMS. From that, you can tell I'm more of a "hardcore" or classical gamer rather than a modern "eat what I'm fed" kind of player.

quote:
Companies are focusing on fun first, and then adding extras that are worth purchasing.


The problem is here: Why not just produce a product and charge a one-time fee of 40 - 60 bucks for this content (and a complete game) than nickel and diming people to death over time for little itty bitty things? With free to play you run the risk of walking into pay-to-win.

Team Fortress 2 is probably the best done free-to-play yet, in my eyes. You can buy the game and get everything eventually (or trade for it) while playing the base game and having zero advantage over anyone else. The things you buy are purely cosmetic, having zero effect on the competitive portion of it. The difference, though, is the game was complete and finished at the time it was released.

So I suppose you're right on one point, I don't like the genres of most f2p games... i.e. I have zero interest in MOBAs or MMOs.


By TakinYourPoints on 7/1/2013 7:09:50 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Team Fortress 2 is probably the best done free-to-play yet, in my eyes. You can buy the game and get everything eventually (or trade for it) while playing the base game and having zero advantage over anyone else. The things you buy are purely cosmetic, having zero effect on the competitive portion of it. The difference, though, is the game was complete and finished at the time it was released.


DOTA 2 does this and it is a much much better game than TF2. TF2 actually devolved with the addition of different weapons. DOTA is a better designed game that only has cosmetics, no extra usable items to grind or purchase.

quote:
I have zero interest in MOBAs


If you are in any way interested in competitive, deep, challenging gameplay, you should give it a shot. FPS are childs play that really don't require much skill compared to something like DOTA or Starcraft. I just got too bored after things moved from the Quake model to CoD and anything after BF2.


By MrBlastman on 7/1/2013 7:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you are in any way interested in competitive, deep, challenging gameplay, you should give it a shot. FPS are childs play that really don't require much skill compared to something like DOTA or Starcraft. I just got too bored after things moved from the Quake model to CoD and anything after BF2.


Oh I love competitive play. I did it back in StarCraft 1 and won the Cases 2v2 ladder (hardcore players at the time played there--kali, and not Bnet) and also played Supreme Commander for the 3 - 6 months it remained good online. Age of Empires 2 as well. You name it. Been there, done that.

I wouldn't knock the oldschool FPS games, however. They require a lot of skill, just not as much thought as say StarCraft or Supcom but in a different way.

CoD and BF 2+ well, suck.

The MOBA model just doesn't float my boat. I suppose it is all those bad nightmares I got from playing Total Annihilation: Kingdoms back in the day (was a top player there, too).


By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 5:37:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Free-to-play sucks??


It can and usually does.

Battlestar Galactica Online is one I've recently tried. The "cash shop" implementation is so horrible, I can't believe people actually play the game. It's straight up Pay 2 Win. The entire game is designed so that without paying real money regularly, you cannot enjoy the content.

Huxley, that awesome mech game? Same deal. You can grind for weeks and weeks, or you can pay money and be a god overnight. Which would you choose?

Subscription games generally have higher quality than free to play. Because people are investing money, and expect more from the game because of it.

quote:
Have you actually played the F2P powerhouses out there?


Yup. Just for every good one, there's 10 that suck.


By Boze on 7/1/2013 11:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah just like for every 100 retail games, 99 of the suck. Keep paying $60 if you want, I'll play my F2P games that I enjoy and pay only when I want to.


By TakinYourPoints on 7/2/2013 1:23:37 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. There is a huge amount of crap whether it is full retail or not, this doesn't mean that F2P is inherently bad. Proof is in the fact that some of the best games out right now are F2P.


By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 1:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah just like for every 100 retail games, 99 of the suck. Keep paying $60 if you want, I'll play my F2P games that I enjoy and pay only when I want to.

F2P games are usually online only. That means whenever they feel like shutting down, say goodbye to your game and whatever money you have spent. On top of that, they normally have ads which are annoying.

It's preference but I don't like F2P games mostly because it exploits kids.


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