Print 6 comment(s) - last by laviathan05.. on Jul 10 at 9:49 AM

The idea was to give the Xbox more social gaming features

Microsoft's former Xbox head just made the move to CEO of Zynga last month, but as it turns out, he's been interested in the social gaming company for years.

Don Mattrick, the former president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, reportedly tried to buy Zynga back in 2010 to give the Xbox more social gaming features. Clearly, that never materialized, but Mattrick has kept a close eye on the company ever since.

Back when Mattrick was in discussions with Zynga for a possible purchase, the FarmVille creator was helping Facebook add "millions" of users to the social network, according to Bloomberg. Mattrick thought such popular casual, social games could be added to the Xbox as well, since their popularity was exploding at the time.

However, Zynga has since fallen far from its former title as the king of Facebook gaming. Now, is most popular for Facebook games, and Zynga has a list of problems on its hands. 

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. 

But Mattrick, who has stayed in touch with former Zynga CEO Mark Pincus since those talks in 2010, stepped in as Zynga's CEO last month in an effort to turn the company back around. But he'll still have to ultimately answer to Pincus, who has 61 percent of voting power over the board and will continue forward as Zynga chairman and chief product officer.

Mattrick was lured in by healthy compensation, though. According to Bloomberg, Mattrick will receive a $1 million salary, $5 million signing bonus, $25 million in restricted stock vesting over a three-year period, and additional shares worth $15 million. 

Mattrick had worked for Microsoft since 2007, but at the end of his career with the company, he proved 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.

Source: Bloomberg

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Book by it's cover
By Breakfast Susej on 7/8/2013 10:42:29 AM , Rating: 2
I know they say not to judge by this, but I seriously think Websters should consider putting this picture in the dictionary under "weasel".

Honestly I don't think I know of anyone on earth I have less trust for simply because of how they look than this guy. I wouldn't trust him even if he saved my life from invading aliens.

RE: Book by it's cover
By Arsynic on 7/8/2013 2:15:42 PM , Rating: 1
Oh please. Mattrick has street cred in spades in the games industry. He was a millionaire at 17 and was well known for the Test Drive series. He's a turn around specialist. He turned Xbox from a money-draining wannabe business to a real money-maker and the de facto sales leader in North America.

The whole PR fiasco surrounding Xbox One was unfortunate. I'm not sure how many companies know how to deal with leaks from a product that hasn't been announced yet. You cannot confirm or deny rumors about a product that hasn't launched yet. Because of this, the reversal should have been announced at the unveil in May or at E3.

Because of the negative rumors, a pall was cast over both big events.

Calling Mattrick a scumbag is just video game fanboyism at its finest. You don't like the product he represents so it's open season on ad hominem attacks.

By BRB29 on 7/8/2013 10:50:56 AM , Rating: 3
He wanted practice in destroying a company's PR. He figured let's get some EXP points with smaller companies like zynga first to rack up kill streaks before he goes for the big dog like MS.

Zynga = a classic PARASITE
By T2k on 7/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: Zynga = a classic PARASITE
By Mitch101 on 7/8/2013 11:50:28 AM , Rating: 3
I went to a Mobile development class and was all inspired to develop an app for mobile platforms until one guy stated in the class all he does every day is look at the top and new apps and write clones of them. Im sure there are whole groups that do the same like Zynga. Im a decent developer not a great one and I suspect if I created something original and good a great developer or team would steal my concept and in no way would I be able to compete at their level. They would reap the rewards of my originality or anyone else similar to me.

By laviathan05 on 7/10/2013 9:49:26 AM , Rating: 2
So this guy was desperate to buy Zynga when it was highly overvalued?

Microsoft should buy it now when it's struggling just to fire this guy properly.

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