Former Xbox head Don Mattrick leaves Zynga

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For many, Don Mattrick is the reason that the Xbox Brand lost favour with “core” gamers – and that could be true. Since he left to go helm the mobile ship, SS Zynga, Microsoft’s public image has turned around considerably. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Mattrick was able to bring new fortunes to Zynga…which he’s now left too.

Effective yesterday, Mattrick is no longer the mayor of Farmville, with former boss and founder Mark Pincus returning to the steward the mobile-first company. In a lengthy joint statement, Pincus and Mattrick shot off PR-friendly, easily digestible sound-bites.

“Don joined us in a very important time in our evolution. I sincerely thank him for his leadership in better serving our players in a mobile first world and for delivering world class quality and value to our consumers,” said Mark Pincus. “The team’s hard work for our mobile players has resulted in bookings growing from 27% mobile bookings when Don joined to 60% by the end of last year.”

“Now that we are a mobile first company, it’s time to renew our focus on our founding mission to connect the world through games and our vision to make play and social games a mass market activity. I am returning to the company that I love in order to accelerate innovation in the most popular categories like Action Strategy and strengthen our focus on our core areas like Invest and Express. I look forward to partnering with our leaders to intensify our focus on social experiences for the millions of consumers who play our games.”

The split, it seems, was amicable.

“When I joined the company in July 2013, Mark and I shared a vision of building a meaningful company that redefines entertainment in an increasingly mobile world. I am proud of the progress we have made together. I believe the timing is now right for me to leave as CEO and let Mark lead the company into its next chapter given his passion for the founding vision and his ability to couple our mobile progress with Zynga’s unique strengths.

As a company, Zynga is in a stronger position today to serve mobile consumers and take advantage of the unprecedented growth opportunity across our industry. I am excited about the company’s trajectory and wish the best for Mark, Zynga and NaturalMotion as I plan to return to Canada to pursue my next challenge,” said Don Mattrick.

Zynga’’s stock last year was down a full 21 percent. Despite that, Mattrick took home a staggering $57,814,391 pay package in 2014, which according to Google (and not my own faulty maths) is around 684, 528,170 South African Rand. So while you may all deride him for ruining yet another company, I’m sure he’s busy crying soft tears in to tissues made of raw silk in the 7th bathroom of his Canadian mansion.

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Last Updated: April 9, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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