Mattrick in 2010
February 13, 1964|
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Known for||Distinctive Software, Inc; Electronic Arts; Microsoft; Zynga|
Don A. Mattrick (born 13 February 1964) is the former CEO of social gaming company Zynga, as well as a member of its board of directors. Previously, Mattrick was the President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. 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 years. At the age of 17, Mattrick founded Distinctive Software which was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1991 and subsequently became EA Canada.
Distinctive Software, Inc.
In 1982 Mattrick, at age 17, co-founded Distinctive Software (DSI) with Jeff Sember by creating a multi-level game 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 USD 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.
Mattrick served in a variety of leadership positions at Electronic Arts and prior to leaving the company in 2005, 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, Calif. (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. In the six years since Mattrick has overseen the division, the Xbox 360 installed base has grown from 10 million to more than 76 million worldwide, while the Xbox LIVE membership has increased from 6 million to over 48 million.
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. 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. By early March 2011, the device reached 10 million in device sales. 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.
Fortune Magazine in August 2011 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. In May 2012, Don Mattrick was named one of CNN Money’s top 10 brilliant technology visionaries.
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." 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. 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."
On July 1, 2013, it was confirmed that Mattrick was leaving Microsoft to join social game company Zynga as CEO. Wall Street investors applauded Mattrick's appointment 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. 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."
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