Yesterday, Zynga confirmed that Don Mattrick had been appointed CEO of the company after leaving Microsoft’s Xbox One division. Mattrick’s departure comes just weeks after the Redmond reversed a number of unpopular and controversial Xbox One policies.
“The timing seems awful to me. I could see Mr. Mattrick departing for greener pastures a year after the Xbox One launches, but to exit 5 months before the new platform arrives strikes me as strange,” IDC research manager Lewis Ward told GamesIndustry International.
“I think this news will make some revisit and question the wisdom of the entire Xbox One strategy, at least among those who follow console platforms closely. One can only assume MS performed an internal review of how the Xbox One chose its misguided DRM and connected console strategy (before the post-E3 ‘Xbox 180’) and found the buck stopped with Mattrick.”
Meanwhile, independent analyst Billy Pidgeon noted that Redmond’s Microsoft’s turnaround on the initial digital policy for Xbox One provided a great opportunity for Don Mattrick to leave.
“Microsoft can announce a new Xbox business leader and the executive shift will play as part of the strategic change for Xbox One without much negative effect on the impending launch,” he explained.
EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich believes a post-Mattrick Xbox division will manage to do just fine without the exec.
“Don’s been an industry pioneer and a key catalyst to Microsoft’s success in video games. He’s leaving behind a well-crafted and very skilled team of executives that are perfectly capable of carrying the torch. It can take months from initial engagement to when an executive decides to leave a company to join another. Any near-term events were probably unrelated to his decision, but we’ll truly never know,” he said.
“The fact that Don and the Microsoft team took an active listening approach to their consumers and reversed key business policies as quickly as they did speaks a lot to Don’s integrity and work ethic. A lesser person may have kept these issues unresolved or passed them along to his successor or subordinates… I don’t think anyone anticipates Don’s departure to impact the Xbox One’s launch.”