Don Mattrick

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Don Mattrick
Mattrick in 2010
Donald Allan Mattrick

(1964-02-13) February 13, 1964 (age 59)[1]
Years active1982-present
Known forDistinctive Software, Inc; Electronic Arts; Microsoft; Zynga

Donald Allan Mattrick (born 13 February 1964) is a Canadian businessman who previously served as the CEO of social gaming company Zynga[2] and the president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.[3] Before joining Microsoft in 2007, Mattrick worked at Electronic Arts for 15 years[4] as the president of Worldwide Studios. In 1982, he founded Distinctive Software, which was later acquired by Electronic Arts in 1991 and renamed to EA Vancouver.

Distinctive Software, Inc.[edit]

In 1982, Mattrick and Jeff Sember co-founded Distinctive Software (DSI), creating the video game Evolution on the Apple II. Sember sold his equity stake in DSI to Mattrick in 1986. Paul Lee joined the board in the same year. In 1989, Paul Lee invested in DSI, becoming the only other shareholder, also taking on a full-time operating role as both the CFO and COO. In 1991, Mattrick was the chairman and the majority owner of DSI while Canadian businessman Tarrnie Williams served as CEO. In the prior year, DSI had received two unsolicited acquisition offers. Instead of accepting, Mattrick chose to reach out to Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, to discuss synergies between the two companies, leading to the subsequent acquisition of DSI by Electronic Arts (EA) which was accomplished through a pooling of interest transaction in July, 1991. Prior to the acquisition, DSI was the largest independent game developer in North America and had 75 full-time employees working on various projects with companies like Konami, Broderbund, IBM, Disney, Mindscape and Accolade.[5]

Electronic Arts[edit]

Mattrick served in a variety of leadership positions at Electronic Arts and, prior to leaving the company in 2005,[6] served as the president of Worldwide Studios for Electronic Arts where he oversaw EA's global studios and research and development in several major sites, including Redwood Shores, California (Silicon Valley), EALA in Los Angeles, EA Tiburon in Florida, EA Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Montreal, and EA UK in Chertsey, England.


Following his retirement from Electronic Arts in February 2007, Mattrick was asked by Robert J. Bach to serve as an external advisor to the Entertainment and Devices Division. In July 2007, Mattrick officially joined Microsoft as a senior vice president overseeing the Xbox 360 and PC gaming businesses,[7] with his oversight apparently leading to an increase in video game installations and Xbox LIVE subscriptions.[8][9]

Mattrick is also largely credited for his work in developing Kinect for Xbox 360. Mattrick unveiled Kinect under the code-name of "Project Natal" at E3 2009 on stage with Steven Spielberg.[10][11]

In October 2010, Mattrick was promoted to president of the Interactive Entertainment Business, overseeing a range of consumer businesses including Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Kinect, Music, and Video, as well as PC and mobile interactive entertainment.

In August 2011, Fortune magazine named Don Mattrick one of the "Smartest People in Tech 2011", and cited his role in developing and releasing Kinect.[12] In May 2012, Don Mattrick was named one of CNN Money's top 10 brilliant technology visionaries.[13]

On May 21, 2013, Mattrick unveiled the new Xbox One, the successor to the Xbox 360, an all-in-one entertainment system. He later dismissed criticisms of the system's "always on" internet connection by saying "We have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity; it's called Xbox 360."[14]

Mattrick left Microsoft on July 1, 2013 to join Zynga as CEO and would eventually be replaced by Phil Spencer as Head of Xbox in 2014.[15][16]

In Power On: The Story of Xbox, a web series documentary on Xbox released in December 2021, Mattrick commented on the Xbox One's controversial and unpopular launch strategy, admitting that the Xbox One reveal event was too focused on TV features and that he and his team "could have done a better job of reassuring people that we were committed to excellence in gaming."[17]


On July 1, 2013, it was confirmed that Mattrick was leaving Microsoft to join social game company Zynga as CEO.[18] Wall Street investors thought positively of Mattrick's appointment[19] and Zynga's shares greatly rose the day the news was made public.[20] On his first quarterly financial earnings call with Zynga, on July 25, 2013, Mattrick predicted volatility for the company over the coming 6 months to one year, stating a need to "get back to basics" and "take a longer term view on our products and business."[21]

By 2015, Zynga was struggling to achieve the success in the mobile market they intended, largely seen in their falling and stagnating stock price.[22] On April 8, 2015, it was announced that Mattrick would immediately resign as Zynga's CEO, and was replaced by founder Mark Pincus.[23]


  1. ^ "Don Mattrick". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on July 19, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Aditya Dey. "Don Mattrick is the new CEO of Zynga, offered $50mn Salary Package". Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Microsoft Announces New Leadership Promotions". Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  4. ^ Don Mattrick corporate bio at
  5. ^ Geoff Mair interview with Don Mattrick, March 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Gabriel Madway. "Electronic Arts realigns management". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  7. ^ "Don taking over for Peter Moore". Archived from the original on 2009-12-23. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  8. ^ Steve Ballmer email to employees on Don Mattrick transition Archived 2013-07-02 at the Wayback Machine. (2013-07-01). Retrieved on 2013-07-14.
  9. ^ "Microsoft Investor Relations - Press Releases". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  10. ^ "Microsoft unveils hands-free gaming". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  11. ^ "E3 Expo 2009: Don Mattrick". Archived from the original on 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  12. ^ "Smartest People in Tech 2011". Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  13. ^ "10 brilliant technology visionaries". fortune. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  14. ^ "Gamers Without Internet Can Stick With Xbox 360, Says Microsoft". IGN. Archived from the original on 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  15. ^ Graser, Marc (2013-07-01). "Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft's Xbox for Zynga". Variety. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  16. ^ Graser, Marc (2014-03-31). "Microsoft Game Studios' Phil Spencer Takes Charge of Xbox". Variety. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  17. ^ Xbox, Pure (2021-12-13). "Don Mattrick Discusses The Failures Of The 2013 Xbox One Launch". Pure Xbox. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  18. ^ Crossley, Rob. "Confirmed: Xbox One boss Don Mattrick 'resigns'". Computer and Video Games. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  19. ^ Steven Russolillo. "Zynga's New Chief Gets Thumbs Up on Wall Street". WSJ. Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  20. ^ David Lieberman (July 1, 2013). "Zynga Shares Zoom After It Taps Former Microsoft Entertainment Exec To Be CEO"., Deadline New York.
  21. ^ Wall Street Journal, "Zynga's Outlook Troubles Investors", July 25, 2013
  22. ^ Why CEO Don Mattrick is done at Zynga Archived 2019-02-07 at the Wayback Machine, VentureBeat
  23. ^ Takahashi, Dean. "Zynga replaces CEO Don Mattrick with a familiar face — founder Marc Pincus". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.

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