Print 42 comment(s) - last by Florinator.. on Jul 3 at 11:59 AM

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 TakinYourPoints on 7/1/2013 5:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not all F2P is bad. One of the best games in years, DOTA 2, is free to play.

By stm1185 on 7/1/2013 6:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
All these F2P games people are listing as being good are competitive multiplayer titles. Even then MOBA genre titles with mid range production values. These are not AAA titles. If that is what you want gaming to look like well you are probably getting it.

I want Mass Effect, I want KoA:Reckoning, I want AAA single player games telling a good story, and that is dying in this business model. Banning used game sales, and adding the ability to share games digitally, could have helped. But MS couldnt get their message across over the idiots of the internet and the Sony fanboys.

So now it continues on just like on the current gen, except as the smaller players realize they can't take the risk on new AAA single player; all we end up with is endless sequels from the same few studios with enough bankroll and fanboys to guarantee a return.

By jnemesh on 7/1/2013 6:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
Once and for all: IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CUSTOMER TO PROP UP A FAILING BUSINESS MODEL!!! Ok, now that I have that off my chest...The problem here is that the game industry is trying to produce games like movies...multimillion dollar budgets with 1000s of people working on a single project. THIS is why we get derivative, lackluster games. THIS is why we have been getting Halo 4, Gears of War 3, Call of Duty 7 (or 8, I lost count), etc. Because with millions of dollars on the line, the LAST thing a company wants to do is take a we get the same thing in gaming that we do at the theaters...derivative rehashes of the SAME GAME...with prettier graphics.

The future of gaming is NOT in EA's hands, or in Blizzard-Activision's (Blactivision?) It's in the hands of the indie developer who decides to make something NEW and INNOVATIVE, risks be damned! This is where we get games like Fez, and Journey, and BattleBlock Theater!

I could CARE LESS if CliffyB goes broke because of used games! If he goes broke, he DESERVES it, as do the companies that put out "AAA" titles that are nothing more than DLC farms (EA, I am looking at YOU!). If they can't compete in the current marketplace, they DESERVE all of the failure we can heap upon them!

By TakinYourPoints on 7/1/2013 7:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
If most AAA gaming is unsustainable then so be it. Most of it is trash anyway. For ever The Last Of Us you get garbage like CoD or Bioshock or Halo.

That some of the best games are free-to-play games that follow the Magic The Gathering model (the best and most sustainable model for multiplayer gaming in existence) should say something. Writing off F2P completely makes no sense.

By TakinYourPoints on 7/1/2013 7:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing Blizzard is really screwing up with Starcraft 2 is not making the multiplayer a F2P component. Allow people to buy the single player if they want but have the multi be F2P. The active player base would skyrocket (TF2's more than quadrupled once it went F2P) and they would have sustainable income over the life of the product. Blizzard spends over a decade supporting their products, they should monetize that properly rather than having most sales at the initial release and then drop off over time.

All that said, they're already going F2P with Hearthstone, and I believe that they're going to do that if/when Blizzard All-Stars comes out. Maybe they'll eventually do this with SC2.

By stm1185 on 7/1/2013 10:52:44 PM , Rating: 1
Oh gawd Magic the Gathering and Shitty Indie games help up as the future. That is just depressing. Someone needs to think of the children. We can't let a generation grow up playing through horrible indie crap like Journey! It's not right!

By wallijonn on 7/2/2013 11:17:25 AM , Rating: 2
Someone needs to think of the children. We can't let a generation grow up playing through horrible indie crap like Journey! It's not right!

Too late. That generation is willing to pay $1 for a 96kb song to play monaurally on their phones. They're willing to pay $1 for "Angry Birds". That's the action the game companies want. Only problem is that that is the only game that the vast majority of customers will buy in their phone's lifetime.

By half_duplex on 7/3/2013 9:54:39 AM , Rating: 2
More like F2L (lose) or F2T (try).

It's like an online dating site, you get to look at pics. You can fap for free, but if you expect to communicate with a human being... get out your CC.

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