Don Mattrick

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Don Mattrick
Mattrick in 2010
Donald Allan Mattrick

(1964-02-13) February 13, 1964 (age 58)[1]
Known forDistinctive Software, Inc; Electronic Arts; Microsoft; Zynga

Donald Allan Mattrick[2][3] (born 13 February 1964) is a Canadian businessman best known for being the former CEO of social gaming company Zynga,[4] as well as a member of its board of directors. Previously, Mattrick was the president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.[5] In this role, he was responsible for a collection of consumer businesses including Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox One, Kinect, TV Music and Video services, Microsoft Mediaroom, PC and Mobile Interactive Entertainment as well as the manufacturing and supply chain for Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2007, Mattrick served as the president of Worldwide Studios for Electronic Arts, where he worked for 15[6] years. In 1982, Mattrick founded Distinctive Software, which was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1991 and subsequently became EA Vancouver.

Distinctive Software, Inc.[edit]

In 1982 at age 17, Mattrick and Jeff Sember co-founded Distinctive Software (DSI) by creating a multi-level game that was called Evolution on the Apple II. Sember sold his equity stake in DSI to Mattrick in 1986 and Paul Lee joined the board in the same year. In 1989 Paul Lee invested in DSI becoming the only other shareholder and he also took on a full-time operating role as CFO/COO driving finance and operations. In 1991, Mattrick was chairman and the majority owner of DSI while Tarrnie Williams served as CEO. In the prior year, DSI had received two unsolicited acquisition offers but Mattrick declined both and instead chose to reach out to Trip Hawkins (founder of Electronic Arts) to discuss synergies between the two companies. Three months later this led to the acquisition of DSI by Electronic Arts (ERTS) which was accomplished through a pooling of interest transaction in July, 1991. Electronic Arts was a NASDAQ listed company with a valuation of approximately $200M at the time of the deal - Mattrick and Lee converted their DSI shares into ERTS shares as a result of the transaction. 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.[7]

Electronic Arts[edit]

Mattrick served in a variety of leadership positions at Electronic Arts and prior to leaving the company in 2005,[8] 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 Robbie Bach to serve as an external advisor to the Entertainment and Devices Division. In July 2007, Mattrick then officially joined Microsoft as a senior vice president overseeing the Xbox 360 and PC gaming businesses.[9] In the six years Mattrick oversaw the division, the Xbox 360 installed base grew from 10 million to more than 76 million worldwide and Xbox LIVE membership increased from 6 million to over 48 million.[10][11]

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.[12][13] Kinect which is a "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" for Xbox 360 launched in November 2010 worldwide and sold over 8 million units in the first 60 days, making it the fastest-selling consumer electronic device, according to Guinness World Records.[14] By early March 2011, the device reached 10 million in device sales.[15] The product has been seen as highly innovative and has won numerous awards including being named one of the top inventions of the year from Time magazine.

In October 2010, Mattrick was promoted to president of the Interactive Entertainment Business, a role that had him reporting directly to the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer. In this role he was responsible for a collection 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" largely highlighting his ability to turn around the Xbox business and drive new consumer innovations like Kinect.[16] In May 2012, Don Mattrick was named one of CNN Money's top 10 brilliant technology visionaries.[17]

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."[18] Shortly thereafter, on June 19, 2013, Mattrick wrote an update on Xbox Wire to address feedback on Xbox One connectivity requirements and sharing limitations. Mattrick stated, "An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games" and "Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today." These changes may have come at the expense of most of the features that had been heavily promoted as unique and innovative by Microsoft, including Family Game Sharing, Digital loaning and sale of games, and disc-less game play.[19] The changes have been noted as being "ostensibly ... a direct reaction to the huge popular backlash against the Xbox One's policies that reverberated through E3."[20]


On July 1, 2013, it was confirmed that Mattrick was leaving Microsoft to join social game company Zynga as CEO.[21] Wall Street investors applauded Mattrick's appointment[22] and Zynga's shares jumped 10.4 percent on the day the news was made public and another 5.9 percent in after-hours trading following the official announcement.[23] 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."[24]

By 2015, Zynga was struggling to make the intended gains in the mobile market and had seen its share prices fall.[25] On April 8, 2015, it was announced that Mattrick had resigned as Zynga's CEO, "effective immediately," and was replaced by founder Mark Pincus, who called the departure "amicable."[26]


  1. ^ "Don Mattrick". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on July 19, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Mr. Donald (Don) Allan Mattrick, Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office
  3. ^ "E3 Expo 2009: Don Mattrick". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Microsoft Announces New Leadership Promotions". Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  6. ^ Don Mattrick corporate bio at
  7. ^ Geoff Mair interview with Don Mattrick, March 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Gabriel Madway. "Electronic Arts realigns management". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  9. ^ "Don taking over for Peter Moore". Archived from the original on 2009-12-23. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Microsoft Investor Relations - Press Releases". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  12. ^ "Microsoft unveils hands-free gaming". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  13. ^ "E3 Expo 2009: Don Mattrick". Archived from the original on 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  14. ^ Kinect Confirmed As Fastest-Selling Consumer Electronics Device Archived 2011-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Kinect Sales Surpass Ten Million". Archived from the original on 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  16. ^ "Smartest People in Tech 2011". Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  17. ^ "10 brilliant technology visionaries". fortune. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
  18. ^ "Gamers Without Internet Can Stick With Xbox 360, Says Microsoft". IGN. Archived from the original on 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  19. ^ "Your Feedback Matters – Update on Xbox One". Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  20. ^ "Xbox One: Then and Now". IGN. Archived from the original on 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ David Lieberman (July 1, 2013). "Zynga Shares Zoom After It Taps Former Microsoft Entertainment Exec To Be CEO"., Deadline New York.
  24. ^ Wall Street Journal, "Zynga's Outlook Troubles Investors", July 25, 2013
  25. ^ Why CEO Don Mattrick is done at Zynga Archived 2019-02-07 at the Wayback Machine, VentureBeat
  26. ^ 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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