It seems Xbox leader Don Mattrick will not be sticking around for the Xbox One release, with an official announcement stating he will be moving to Zynga, the popular social gaming franchise. While there is an air of question to why Mattrick decided now was the time to pack up and accept a leadership role at another company, we can see the boost and challenge it will be for the new CEO.
Zynga has passed its heyday and everyone, from investors to onlookers, knows the company is in trouble. Facebook games are not making as much revenue and many question the company’s business model and strategy, with lacklustre profits and pretty poor an unoriginal games released by the company over the past few years.
Mattrick’s Move To Zynga
Mattrick has a few reasons to move to Zynga, one that has been reported quite a lot is the restructuring in Microsoft has unsettled the Xbox Division leader, who could lose his role as the company looks to merge together multiple divisions to work more cohesively together.
The second is Mattrick has had major slip ups in the Xbox One unveiling, first was the DRM and used game policy fiasco, which many gamers and developers said could have actually made some brilliant steps in the gaming world. Mattrick decided to step back from this move however, possibly out of unpopular opinion and possibly because of the challenges facing the Xbox One if they brought these policies into place.
Mattrick could simply be looking elsewhere for a job, he has had positions lined up before, including the CEO of Electronic Arts after their CEO left a year ago. Mattrick decided to take on Zynga instead of EA or any other company wanting him and he will have a hard time at the mobile gaming company, as 95% of his pay is in stock.
Zynga does have major problems Mattrick will have to sink into and try to figure out a solution. The mobile startup has been releasing knock off trash for the past year with no real originality coming from the studio. This has been on top of the company axing OMGPOP and other studios in a move to keep revenue from slipping. We heard from some OMGPOP staff Zynga is so unstructured and under they were glad to leave.
This is a big issue and Mattrick will have to start focusing the remaining studios on quality design and games that really make people continue playing. The ideas need to be new and the IP needs to be groundbreaking. We have already talked about Zynga possibility stepping away from the mobile centric games, to more core experiences gamers have to pay for to play.
Mattrick is obviously experienced in this field more than the mobile microtransactions one, but with the new Xbox One they were embracing the new free-to-play and MMO models as well. We may see Mattrick push for an MMO that can make the company continuous income, as World of Warcraft and Runescape have for Blizzard and Jagex, respectively.
Whatever the case, something has to be done for Zynga to improve. The stock shot up as news came about Don Mattrick’s move into the CEO spot, but it is still under what the original IPO price was, something Mattrick will have to aim for to be successful.